A Conversation for The h2g2 Pagan Community Centre

Paganism and Children

Post 1


Okay, this isn't trolling but I'm going to make a contentious point. I'm pagan, my husband's pagan (we're both kinda eclectic) and we're also planning on having a child. Now here's a question - should I raise the kid pagan? I know this is a long post, but baisically, I'm looking for views and considerations on these points, guidance into what I might do and how I might do it.

I'm sort of opting for 'yes'. This sort of breaks down into several issues:

Firstly, it's my religion, it's my partner's religion. Why should we have to hide it? Why in hades shouldn't I raise my sprog in my religion? - Everyone else does.

Secondly, it's about family unity - my husband and I celebrate sabbats both with rituals and with much more social celebrations. We exchange gifts at the Winter Solstice rather than Christmas and eggs on the Vernal Equinox rather than the xtian Easter. I wouldn't want my child excluded from any of this.

Thirdly, the fact is that, provided there is no pressure, the religion in which you were brought up doesn't influence your eventual religion - I was raised anglican, my husband was raised athiest. Provided you encourage critical thinking it doesn't matter, right?

But then there are the counter considerations:

Firstly, bullying at school. 'My daddy's a witch' springs to mind. We're not actually wiccans, but we do practice magic.

Secondly, I want my child to have real experience of lots of religions. Personally one of the most important things to me (and this is where I get very contentious) was my Anglican upbringing. There are a lot of reasons to do with this, inclduing some of the aspects of my paganism which seemed like a natural growth from the xtiainity, but also because some anglican upbringing is invaluable in three situations. One, if you live in a small village where the church is still an important community point. Two, if you ever, EVER study history or Literature it helps to have a really good knowledge of the Bible and church teachings on certain matters. Three, if you join the Cubs or Brownies, which in rural areas is generally the only club there is. But the problem is that most other religions feel it is their bounden duty to convert sprogs, even by using peer pressure. Now,letting them in on my religion might make them reluctant to be taken in by another religion's propaganda but it might also give them a really hard time in some of those situations. Also, I'm a little concerned by the moral validity of using such tatics.

Thirdly, the fact that bringing a child up in any religion has an aspect of guilt involved. My parents are very tolerant but there was a slight sense, when I became Pagan, that I'd turned my back on the family and the family's beliefs. It's still a little awkward when I go there for Christmas - do I go to midnight mass and just not take communion, or do I not turn up at all? Which is worse, which shows less unity at a time when we all agree that kin are the most important thing? Will I be giving my kids the same potential dilemma when I toast the land wights at the solstice?

Anyway, thanks.

Paganism and Children

Post 2


Exposure to everything is good, regardless.

You will continue to practice, I'm sure, so your child will be exposed to what you do. If they ask what and why you are doing something, tell them. Perhaps don't ask them to be part of what you are doing unless they show an interest- let them come to you.

Maybe take them to the local Sunday school, but encourage them to discuss what they learn with you. That way they will have much exposure to Christian things and other children, but you can always moderate the learning.

There is no easy solution, but many children learn the (non-Christian) religion of their parents and still function very well in this Christian society.

Best of luck, anyway.

smiley - fairy

Paganism and Children

Post 3

Stephanie Ammmerman

I struggle with the same thing. So, what my husband and I do is "celebrate" or learn about every thing, we explain all aspects of diffrent religions so they can experance them and so that the kids don't feel outcasted at school and with friends. They can also learn about what we believe and then they can make their own choices. My daughter is 7 years old and asked to go to church with a friend. (christian) She knows how I feel about church in general but I don't want to discourage her from knowing about everything. So my idea is if she askes we talk about it and then make a decision that works for the both of us. Personally, I was kicked out of Catholic sunday school and never fit in with the churches I have went to because of my strong views. I accept everyone for who they are no matter what but others do not do the same. So, becareful what you chose for your children they will have to deal with social issues as they grow up. I hope this helps. I know you care because you would not be asking if you did not.smiley - hug

Paganism and Children

Post 4


Yeah, I've often wondered about the same thing. I think you should go ahead, celebrating the holidays, but not excluding the child. Why should the child be excluded?

But then again, I don't think you should 'force' the child into becoming pagan. Religion is everyone's decision; I remember when I was forced into Christianity, both by my parents and school (yeuch!! Thank the gods I converted smiley - winkeye)... but you should also make the child aware of other religions, especially your own. Hopefully this will limit any bullying, if you don't 'point out' explicitly to them about paganism, until perhaps they're a little older.

Paganism and Children

Post 5


coming into this conversation late on, but for what it's worth,nobody is born: Christian ( catholic, protestant or dissenter) Muslim ( shia or sunni) or Hindu and here I apologise I do not know how many variations of Hinduism there are. My paganism springs from an unwillingness to simply accept as true something without evidence. On the other hand I can see Spring ,Summer, Autumn and Winter and know that the Sun rises every morning. These things are true. Where that places me on the pagan spectrum I do not know and care even less. I do subscribe to the latin . Pagani is the antithesis of Urbani. the countryside against the town dwellers, the old beliefs against the new (state sponsored) official churches. The best gift to give a child is an enquiring mind and the self confidence to find their own answers to their own questions, do not be misled that what was a worry to you, is a worry to them.

Just reread above and see that it might seem patronising, that was not my intention and I hope I have offended noone.


Paganism and Children

Post 6

darakat - Now with pockets!

I am a bit bais as both me and my wife are pagan and plan to raise our children pagan, bit to be honest I don't really care if they continue to be pagan or not. The real issues tend to come up at the passages of life, such as if you have a girl do you take her through the various womenhood rites when she starts her period? if they are male do you take them on the malsculine rites etc?

I always found scouts/cubs to be more pagan then Christian but I tend to see the pagan things that are worshiped in Christianity etc, so I saw the same in cubs I suppose.

Its really best to do what comes naturally to you. Kids tend to know what path they want to take.

Paganism and Children

Post 7

Stephanie Ammmerman

I really like all of your input. I did not have anywhere or anyone to go to when I was stuck on this kind of question. I am glad to see everyone so helpfull here. I wonder how many other pegan family out there have done this and what was there results or if they would of done something diffrent?

Most of my extended family and friends are either Christian or Catholic and don't view my views. If I bring it up it ends up in a huge debate over what they think is right.

So again Thank you!smiley - biggrin

Paganism and Children

Post 8


I'm not sure that I should be posting another entry here but here go's. Children are the best gift we can give ourselves, but it becomes incumbent on us to bring them up to know their own mind, and not to simply accept their parent's belief's whether they are: Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Pagan , of whatever description. What floats your boat does just that , it floats your boat. I have no pagan phrase to take my leave to match AMEN or PAX VOBISCUM because my belief does not need them. Remember not to do what was done to you. Do not inflict your kids with your beliefs, let them make up their own minds.

Paganism and Children

Post 9


Thank you for all this wonderful, thoughtful feedback! I'm sorry I've been lax in replying and saying cheers, but it's been a busy week or so. But smiley - hugsmiley - hug to everyone. I think what has come to me from this is the idea of respect. Respect our own beliefs by not hiding them or being ashamed of them but also respect our kids and be willing to say 'I don't know' and not force it on them. I suppose just being open about it would be the way.

Any takers on any of those thoughts?

Paganism and Children

Post 10

Stephanie Ammmerman

I think you are exactly right. Be open don't hide who you are but be open when they want to know about others and they will be able to make a reasonable descisons.

I want to add to be very understanding this is why:

My daughter comes home from sunday school with a friend and she says not out of the blue but in conversation about sunday school
"well you don't know anything about the bible because you don't believe in it"

And I calmly explained "again" but some of these so called christians are like this so by not hiding what I believe and explaining everyone elses point of view she will be able to have the knowledge to make her own choices.

I don't know if you have a network of pagan friends where you live. If you do it may not feel out of place but where I came from I am on the outside and I don't want my kids outcasted from friends because of beliefs so I am tring to teach tolorance to her early. Maybe I am wrong but it seems the senseable thing right now, they are young still.

Well I hope this helpssmiley - loveblush

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