…specifically, the smallest ones.
Granted, this issue comes up regularly in my head because I have a toddler, and I’m Pagan.
It seems to me that there are a lot of “Pagan Parenting” resources, if you’re willing to look for them, but that most are geared towards teens and tweens, and most assume that the child is something of a blank slate – they basically become Pagan 101 for big kids (actually, most are Wicca 101 for big kids, but that’s another essay)…and that leaves those of us with littles, exposing them to Pagan beliefs every day, in something of a black hole.
Part of the problem, of course, is fear – fear that others will use our religion against our children, fear that “concerned citizens” will try to have our children taken away. But the truth is that there are bullies everywhere – even Christian kids get bullied…and if the rest of your life isn’t in a shambles (ie, your house isn’t filthy, there’s food to eat, the utilities are working, and your kids have a place to sleep), even children’s services isn’t likely to do more than ask some questions.
Another part of the problem, though, is how things are structured. Because our communities are so small, most of us are solitary practitioners most of the time, or we belong to covens and circles meant for adults. While there are more and more Pagan “church” organizations out there, it’s still hard to find places that are really open to having children in ritual, or who have plans for the Pagan version of “kids church” and/or “Sunday school.” It leaves us with no obvious way to fulfill both our personal spiritual needs and those of our children.
We don’t know *how* to raise our kids as Pagan children, because we weren’t Pagan as children, and we see so few children who really are Pagan. We see parents who raise their children to be open minded…parents who teach their children to write in magickal alphabets and to recite lists of correspondences…but these are the outer trappings of being Pagan, like going to church is to Christianity. Sure, most Christians go to church, but not all who go to church are truely Christian, and so it is with lighting incense and colored candles.
This sort of hole for parents of younger kids frustrates me…and you’d think it’d be a source of inspiration for an aspiring writer, but right now, what I need is simple, straightforward information, because I’m the mom of a toddler, and chronically sleep deprived.