When I was pregnant, one of the questions I kept getting from family and people that knew me was “Are you gonna raise them Pagan?” While I expected my monotheist family members to push their beliefs, what surprised me was the pagan, polytheist, and witch peeps I knew who were adamant about raising children without religion or spirituality. So many were shocked when I encouraged others like myself to please Involve Your Children in Your Spiritual Practice! Raise Pagan Polytheist Children!
Before I get into this, I want to say that I know some of the following will sound like monotheist world view and I even borrow a quote from a Christian homeschooler but that is because I think that the monotheists have this one right.
Gasp, I know.
In fact, I think polytheists could learn quite a bit about having a religious family by looking at the monotheist families and how they focus their attention on faith and family and how that focus effects their every day life. I know, I know, crazy talk but let me ask you to put aside any monotheist-baggage you might have and hear me out.
Parents who try to leave all spirituality out of learning are either purposefully or inadvertently teaching their children a materialistic philosophy. If spirituality and transcendence never enter the discussion, you are teaching children that the world consists of what they experience with their senses and know with their minds. It might allow for the possibility that God exists, but if He does, He is so irrelevant that He has nothing to do with important things like history and science. Even though most people don’t think of materialism as a religion, it serves that purpose with its own answers to the big questions of life and the reasons for existence.
If on the other hand, you believe in God, it should be important enough to impart to your children – or else what’s the point of believing in Him at all? If faith and knowledge of God are important, then they need to be incorporated into the learning process within the content as well as the methods of presentation. You teach what you believe and you demonstrate your belief by the way you act, how you speak, and how you treat people.
~Cathy Duffy, 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum.
Choosing not to raise your children in your faith is choosing to either
– Raise them to be secular materialists
– Allowing them to be evangelized and raised in a different world view than your own.
I don’t know about you but I would prefer to not raise my child to believe that the world can be raped of its resources, that there isn’t inherent spirit in all things that should be respected. I also don’t want to leave him vulnerable to predatory evangelists like Westboro Baptist Church or White Supremacists and Misogynists in the garb of various religions including, sadly, my own.
Are You In the Broom Closet From Your Children?
One thing that often confuses me about people that choose to not raise their children in a faith or teach them any sort of religion early on is the fact, a well known fact, that children learn by watching their parents and other adults going about their daily lives. For me, as a practicing Pagan witch and devout Polytheist/Heathen, my beliefs and practices are part of my every day life. Its in how I garden, make meals. Its in my bathing and my house cleaning. Its in my daily offerings to the ancestors.
If you refuse to teach your children and don’t want them raised in your faith, are you hiding your religious and spiritual practices? Are you suppressing them for some belief that children should be raised without any sort of spirituality? If they do see you practice, are you telling them not to imitate and seeding the concept that its something to be ashamed of? I cannot see how teaching them other than what you practice and believe could do anything but teach shame and hiding.
Raise Pagan Polytheist Children
If you are a Pagan, Polytheist, Witch, please raise your children in your beliefs. Be age appropriate, of course. For now, my Pumpkin is young but he can understand that Mama and Daddy talk to plants and rocks and animals with respect and teach not to be mean to things like bugs just because we are bigger than them. We can teach gratitude to the earth and plants and animals for our food. We can pray in front of him and give offerings in front of him. We can bring him to Pagan festivals to see how others belief and practice. This all seeds some foundations of our practice for him to experiment with and think on until he is ready to ask deeper questions. When that time comes, we will be ready to answer.