Many Pagan parents are faced with questions that they are unable to find satisfactory answers to and I have thought deeply about these too. I can't claim to have all the answers, but I can share with you what I have learned in my own journey.
Should I teach my children my Pagan and/or witchcraft tradition?
Many people struggle with this, afraid that their children will "out" them if they teach them about their beliefs or that they'll be teased in school because they are different.
If you continue to practice your spirituality in secret, your children will begin to wonder what you are hiding and excluding them from. They might wonder if you're doing something wrong and when it does come out that mom's a witch and they get teased at school for it, they will be much less prepared to deal with it.
If you are afraid your child will "out" you, you need to think long and hard about how seriously you are committed to your spirituality and wonder if you aren't secretly ashamed of it. If not, if you are truly committed to your spiritual path and believe it to be good and beautiful, then it is your duty to share it with your child, whatever the risks. It is not a good idea to tell your child to keep it a secret though. Once secrets start being kept, it's a slippery slope to the point when damaging secrets are kept from you. Just explain to your child that it's not polite to discuss religion in mixed company.
What if my child is teased in school?
First you need to understand one truth: All children are teased in school. If they are not teased because they are Pagan, then they will be teased because they are short/tall, skinny/fat, pale/dark, get good grades/get poor grades, have acne, have frizzy hair, have "flat" hair, have big feet, have big boobs, have no boobs, have a big butt, have a flat butt, have a big nose, have big lips, are black, white, asian, multiracial… the list goes on. Children are cruel. Middle school children are the worst.
Some kids attempted to tease my kids for being Pagan and they were disappointed because my kids couldn't understand what the point was, and they were taught to rise above, not rise against. My son was told he and I would "burn in hell", but this just rolled off his back. My daughter had a tougher time as she felt it was her duty to "educate the ignorant" though I have told her time and again it is absolutely not. But it was all very minor because my kids just don't talk about it much with their friends. It's a non-issue because we don't make it an issue.
When your kids come to you and let you know they are being teased for their religion you have the opportunity to teach them how to be better people. First off, explain to them that kids are always looking for something to tease folks about and will pick the first convenient thing. If religion is the best they can come up with, well that just shows that they aren't very creative. Let them know that people who fear Pagan religions and witchcraft have been indoctrinated to fear them and it is part of their own belief system which, I hope, your children have been taught to respect.
How do I teach my spirituality to my children
Everything with parenting sounds more complicated than it is these days. It's actually harder to not teach children than it is to teach them. Children are little sponges. Kids do what they see adults do and they learn things that are repeated. Children love ritual, but they don't stand much for ceremony. My children say please and thank you because I say please and thank you. They eat vegetables because I eat vegetables. There's no trick to it except to remember that your child is watching. Always watching.
So, if you want your child to learn about your spirituality, practice your spirituality. Do your daily devotions, perform your lunar observances. Do this whether your child is watching or not. If your child wants to join in, let him. But don't push him.
If you go to group ceremonies, it is important to only bring your child along if there will be age-appropriate activities. Otherwise, your child will simply be bored and disruptive and will develop negative associations with group ritual.
Most importantly, model values. If your spirituality demands that you respect everyone regardless of race, religion, etc. Don't bash Christians or make off handed remarks about the black girl at the register (you can say she's slow and maybe even rude, but leave her race out of it!). If your spirituality demands that you walk softly on the Earth, let your child observe you recycling and taking steps to reduce your energy and water use. Don't throw garbage out the window and don't leave the water running. Even when you think your child isn't watching. (They know!)
In addition, you want to share Pagan chants with them and tell them stories that relate to their path. I have read the Iliad and the Odyssey out loud to my kids. They loved it. But there are some stories that are perhaps more appropriate for the average kid.
But I want my child to choose her own path!
She will. Whether you like it or not. Make it clear to her from the beginning that whatever she chooses or whatever path she takes you will still love her and teach her your spirituality anyway.
Because even if she decides to be Christian or Atheist, the values will still be inside her. Even if you don't mind if she chooses a different religion, I am sure you'd like it if she was still respectful of other people and walked softly on the Earth.
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Comments, questions, criticism?