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Author Topic: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)  (Read 6146 times)

Wandering

(As some of you may know from back when I introduced myself, I noted that I'm working on an essay for my college writing course, and would, at some point, require interviews.  However, this being an online site, I'm doing things a bit differently.  I'm going to pose the question, one that I both need for the essay and am curious about, and answers will be recorded for the essay.   Please note, if you wish to answer, I ask that you state how you want to be named - anonymous, your name on the forum, etc.  Thanks in advance!)

Many articles I've read about modern pagan families have all dealt with a parent's, or parents' concern on whether or not they should bring their children up as pagan vs. exposing them to the religious practices but letting them make a choice when they wish about whether or not they wish to become pagan.  

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?
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Nyktelios

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Quote from: Wandering;108506
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
I don't think they are mutually exclusive options. Most religion is about community and shared culture rather than personal spirituality, so it can be nice for families to have that bond of celebrating the same holidays, following the same god(s), and having the same ethical framework and world view.

If I personally ever make the terrible life choice to procreate, I wouldn't necessarily instruct my children in my religion, but they would be exposed to it from living with me and would have the option to participate if they so desired. I would encourage them to research into other religions if they had the interest and support them if needed, although I wouldn't necessarily see it as my responsibility to expose them to everything just for the sake of it. If they decided to follow another religion than the one I follow after doing the research, it would be fine with me.

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Quote from: Wandering;108506
 

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
I became pagan after my daughter was born.  At the time was attending a Unitarian Universalist church in my city.  I decided to follow the UU's approach to children and religion.  She will make up her own mind about what she believes when she is old enough.  She has been exposed to all sorts of paths.  She has attended at Lutheran preschool for the past 2 years.  At the UU church she was taught out of the Bible, and Koran (spelling?).  We have spoken about Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Tao, Buddhist and Pagan beliefs.  I feel this way when she does make a decision it will not be as a follower, doing something she thinks she should, but rather making the decision based on how she feels.

(If you wish to use this you can use my screen name :Kimberly:)
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Quote from: Wandering;108506
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
No.

It is my obligation as a parent to convey to my children, among other things, a basic spiritual literacy.  If nothing else, they need to be basically conversant in what their parents and grandparents are doing so as to be socially comfortable with their immediate relatives.  This means that the children need to have a very basic level of familiarity with not only several different pagan religions, but also Judaism and Christianity.  (Among other things, it's the case that children raised without religious literacy are more vulnerable to exploitation by cult leader types when they do get to be "old enough to choose".)

The children participate in rituals and holidays at home at age-appropriate levels and according to their interests.  The older child assists her Da with the prosperity shrine, orders me to "put fire on it" when she finds candles, offers baked goods to the house spirit, learns the sequence of the Hanukkah candles; the younger child steals candles and eats beef with horseradish.  We're discussing the possibility of a Jewish preschool, among others; we intend to put them through the UU religious education program when they're older as well.

Their relationships with gods, if any, are not mine to attempt to police, enforce, or compel.  As a parent, I consider it my job to at most present a polite introduction and then get out of the way, much like it is my job to politely introduce them to social groups, recreational options, and vegetables.

Meanwhile, I do not understand how to raise a non-animistic child in the first place.  ("Why we at the gas station, mama?" "The car is hungry.")
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Ludola

Quote from: Wandering;108506
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

I'd choose to nurture my offspring as a pagan and by this I mean teaching the reverence to Nature instead of "revelated" (I'd say "creationistic") dogmas. Sounds simple enough.

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Quote from: Wandering;108506
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
My boyfriend is atheist and he isn't a huge fan of me raising our daughter Wiccan but he isn't opposed to it. He was raised Catholic and doesn't agree with any of it at all. My mother is Presbyterian and she is not religious by any means, the only went to church until I was 6 years old. If I remember correctly I was only at Sunday school for a year, we stopped going when my maternal grandmother passed away, so I wasn't very exposed to Christianity.

I am going to raise my daughter Wiccan to an extent, She isn't going to be doing any rituals per say until she is old enough to make the choice. I will be teaching her the basics so that she has an understanding. Celebrate the sabbats/esbats, talk about the Goddess and God, teach her how to talk to the Goddess and God, etc... Just simple things, until she is at an age where she can understand and decide for herself if she wants to follow the path I am hoping she will.
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Quote from: Wandering;108506
(As some of you may know from back when I introduced myself, I noted that I'm working on an essay for my college writing course, and would, at some point, require interviews.  However, this being an online site, I'm doing things a bit differently.  I'm going to pose the question, one that I both need for the essay and am curious about, and answers will be recorded for the essay.   Please note, if you wish to answer, I ask that you state how you want to be named - anonymous, your name on the forum, etc.  Thanks in advance!)

Many articles I've read about modern pagan families have all dealt with a parent's, or parents' concern on whether or not they should bring their children up as pagan vs. exposing them to the religious practices but letting them make a choice when they wish about whether or not they wish to become pagan.  

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
I was raised in a very strict, almost fanatical, Seventh Day Adventist home and had religion rammed down my throat as a kid. My wife is a Buddhist leaning agnostic. So when we became a parents we were very opposed to teaching our kids anything about any religion at all. As a result our older 2 kids (age 21 and 19 ) grew up for most of their live with no religion at all. About the most they got was from the fact that I would watch shows on mythology, there have always been fae and wizard etc. figurines around our house. So when they asked questions about anything related to any of this I would answer as best I could. But much more from a place of "these are the stories I have read or heard or watched" not in a spiritual way at all. If they asked me what I believed in I would tell them I believed that there were a lot of things that were possible.

I regret this in a lot of ways. They grew up with a void I think. By the time I began exploring pagan religions they were still young (about 11 and 13) but old enough that they had pretty much made up their minds on where they stood.

With our younger two (5 and 8) there is much more spirituality in our home. Not so much religion, because I am still gun shy about teaching them what to believe, but they are exposed to some rituals, my altars, things that excite me (lore, myths, books etc.) and I answer their questions a lot more in depth and with more passion. My 8 year old is very spiritually inclined it seems, though I could not actually tell you if that is due to what he is exposed to or if I feel more comfortable exposing him to things because of the way he is. He gave me a Thor figurine a while back (from the movie but his heart was in the right place) and he said maybe I should put in on an altar.

In the end my hope is that they find a path that fills them with peace and that helps them find their truth. I really don't care what that path is. I really hope that they explore the different options. I will encourage them and help them in any way I can.

Please note that while I am saying "I" a lot, it is because my wife has no real opinion on religion and is happy to leave that end of things to me. She does share her thoughts with the kids when asked but its not really her thing.

(And if you use any of this you can just refer to me as James)
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Gaupemor

Quote from: Wandering;108506
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
I'm actually not sure. But I think, right now, that I won't bring up my children Pagan. Instead, I will make sure they respect nature and other living things, and teach them about a lot of different religions. And since Hubby-to-be is an agnostic, he might think it's weird to give the kids a Pagan upbringing.

But then again, we haven't really discussed it, since we don't plan to have kids just yet. We will come to an agreement, though, when the time comes.
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Atreides

Quote from: Gaupemor;110265
I'm actually not sure. But I think, right now, that I won't bring up my children Pagan. Instead, I will make sure they respect nature and other living things, and teach them about a lot of different religions. And since Hubby-to-be is an agnostic, he might think it's weird to give the kids a Pagan upbringing.

But then again, we haven't really discussed it, since we don't plan to have kids just yet. We will come to an agreement, though, when the time comes.

 
Well, I already have a child and am in rather strange predicament.  My daughter is, if I may brag a bit, a very bright child.  She also loves nature, much more than I ever did (which isn't saying much, I was always a city boy).  She also loves history, and just today she was asking me what our ancestry is.  I was delighted to explain to her that, on my side, it all started when the Angles met the Saxons....

She also goes to a Roman Catholic school.  My immediate family is Catholic...not exactly deeply religious, they're more interested in her getting a "quality" education.  I can attest that the school does a great job and I'm extremely grateful for the help. The thing is, she's already been fairly indoctrinated, and despite some of the misgivings I have about Christianity, I really don't want to "rock the boat" so to speak.  Being only seven, she's also incredibly open-minded...she gets very excited to learn about other religions, and she was pretty impressed with the Athena statue I have in the bedroom.  She's told me once that she believes in "God and all the gods", so in a way she reminds me of me at her age.  Kids have an amazing ability to compartmentalize things...

So I have no plans to indoctrinate her in any Pagan religion.  I do plan to start some type of Hellenic ritual at some point in the near future, and if I do she'll always be welcome to observe and participate. I also plan on teaching her Greek mythology, mainly for the cultural value and because she's "made up her mind" that she wants to be a historian (or "read history books all day long", in her words). Who knows what the future holds for my little one? I was sent to a Greek Orthodox school and wound up having an affinity for Greek mythology more than Orthodox Christianity...

Aett of Cups

Quote from: Wandering;108506

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?


I assume you want me to discuss my human kid, so I'll leave the cats out of it for now...

I have an eleven-year-old son.  My wife and I both raise him, and we're both eclectic pagans.  Our son has participated in family rituals since he was very small.  When our son was younger, we would tell mythological stories and talk about symbology without being very specific about deity.  When our son was old enough to understand, my wife and I talked to him about how he has the choice of any spiritual path he likes and how we'll support him whatever his choice and try to make sure he can be exposed to groups from whatever faith he wishes.  At this time of his life, he's chosen to be pagan (although his path is quite different from mine, just as my wife's is very different from both of ours).  But he knows that we'll still love him and be there for him no matter what faith or non-faith he chooses.  

We've also tried to expose our son to a number of philosophies and spiritualities - both theist and atheist - ever since he was small.  I've homeschooled him for most of third grade through fifth grade, but he's going to a program for gifted kids in August where I feel he'll have resources we can't provide.  We've done a decent amount of comparative philosophy and religion, and he also gets multiple points of view at our local UU.  I will say, though, that I would have a hard time seeing him ever adopting a Judeo-Christian path.  This is mostly because we live in the Bible Belt of the US, and he sees a lot of Christians behaving badly in our area; in fact, I sometimes have to remind him that not all Christians are like the ones who seem to get the most attention in our region (which I don't think he'd really believe except for knowing some of our Christian friends and knowing some cool Christians from the UU).
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Wyrst

Re: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 07:00:50 am »
Quote from: Wandering;108506

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
Interesting question and one I haven't given much thought (gimme a break, I've yet to turn twenty).

However, I do think it'd be a good thing to at least make them familiar with the path you follow and have them understand what it's all aboout a certain degree. I agree with the above here. Plenty of mythological stories and the likes to be told. From my experience people don't tell their children enough stories anymore in this day and age. Which is a shame considering that they're fun, exciting and even educational.

CoraFrost

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Re: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 07:09:14 am »
Quote from: Wandering;108506

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 
So my answer is kind of a hybrid.  I would love to raise my children in the same Spiritual tradition that I was raised.  If you ask my Mother what she raised me as-- she would say Catholic.  If you ask anyone else, they would say she used the images of Father God, and the Blessed Mother as equals and wove in a healthy dose of New Age, Shamanism and a whole boatload of other things (Reiki, magic, kitchen witchery, etc...). It's as if she kept the basics of ritual and threw out most of the man-made rules.  

In my head, I still have a hard time disassociating my mother's mashup from being "Catholic" because to me... that WAS "Catholic".  Does that make sense?

Anyway, I fully intend on doing the same.
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chworkman

Re: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 12:59:36 pm »
My question is this - what did you choose as a parent? Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?[/QUOTE]

My husband and I, call me Holly, have three children.  4 Samuel, 5 Ruth, and 10 Cody.  They were brought up a bit oddly in my opinion, not intended at all!!  Cody was stuck in the Catholic loop like I was at a young age and the other two followed in pursuit!  But, now that we have decided to follow with our hearts and minds, along with our spirits and bodies, we have chosen a wonderful free life in the Pagan World, along the line of Hedgewitch/Green Witch for me, and Celtic/Hedgewitch for my husband, here at home.  We have found semi different ways of doing things but many ways of incorporating them together!  Our oldest has been given the option to decide for himself if he wishes to join us or not, but the other two will be taught to respect and love all around them seen and unseen.  No questions asked.  We are just happy that our oldest has chosen to join us and at least try it!  

I hope this helps you!  Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 01:00:30 pm by chworkman »

Kitta

Re: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 11:34:58 pm »
Quote from: Wandering;108506

My question is this - what did you choose as a parent?  Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they're ready?

 

I am fully intending that as I teach my 8 month old the skills she will need to be a healthy adult, I will likewise be teaching her Heathenism.  A child's understanding is simple and gains complexity as they do.  I'm not dumping all the information on her and letting her make a choice - especially as my religion is grossly intertwined with my morality.  There are rules and ideals I live by that are very firmly grounded in my spirituality, and I will teach it to her in that manner.

As she grows older, she will start to realize her spirituality is a separate thing from mine - as children do in all other aspects of life.  If she chooses a different path later on then so be it - that is all hers, and I will neither encourage nor discourage her from exploration of other faiths.  I think people worry over this way too much - we teach them how and what to eat, how to dress themselves, how to act like rational human beings ... this is no different.  Things will develop naturally.

The other issue I will note, is that many people fear that teaching the child pagan ways will lead to social friction.  That is correct, but not to be feared.  Even if you didn't teach you child anything outside of the mainstream, they will encounter bullies, ignorance, intolerance, and a multitude of other human shortfalls - the best thing we can do for our children is not to shield them from it, but to teach them healthy ways of coping with it - not in internalize others' negativity, and not to base their self worth on what others think of them.  

Hope I arrived in time to be helpful - if not to you, hen hopefully to someone else.  :)
"There is no greater a friend one can have than a store of common sense." - Havamal

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Re: Do you plan to raise your kids pagan? (Question for my college essay)
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2016, 08:14:10 am »
Quote from: Kitta;194292
There are rules and ideals I live by that are very firmly grounded in my spirituality, and I will teach it to her in that manner.


It is highly unlikely, that I become a Dad, but if I got that responsibility, I would explain to my (hypothetical) children why I do certain things in my lararium/oratory, why grandmother go to the (C of S) church, why some of Dad's friends worship the god and the goddess, why some of Dad's friends pray five times a day, why some of Dad's friend have a statue of a 5th century BCE upper class Indian in one of their rooms, why some of Dad's friends peform blót, and that grandfather doesn't believe in any of this.

When they become older, I would bring them on study visits to a Hindu Temple, at least two Buddhist centres, a Synagogue, a Lutheran church, a Roman Catholic church, a Mosque, a Gurdwara and a blót, in order to - hopefully - foster a spirit of openness, tolerance and respect for other peoples' religions.

I don't view ethics as a particularly religious domain. I would probably try to impart some virtues (without any religious justification for doing so).

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