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Author Topic: Children exploring Religion?  (Read 22642 times)
blue Ash
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« Topic Start: November 19, 2007, 02:35:28 pm »

As I don't have a very high post count, I'm limited on where I'm allowed to post.
So I apologize before hand if this is still in the wrong place.

I'm curious, how some other parents helped their children explore religion.

Here, we are not religious, and through exposure in public schools my daughter has been in conflict with me (increasingly) over the celebration of holidays (let alone what they are actually about), and "god", etc.

Basically my problem is that she's been more acquainted with with Christianity beliefs then anything else. Largely due to teachers stepping out of line towards their students, and the exuberant celebration of Christian and/or Hallmark holidays.

I have tried, and rather failed to find ways to educate her and get her interested in learning about the other options and ideals out there.
Are there any materials out there aimed at children?

I'm talking any religions you can think of other then your typical forms of Christianity. She's already starting to fall under the conception of heaven/hell/satan/god/jesus, etc.
I don't want to see her fall into something just because her teacher scared her into it, or because it's what she's been shown as "the norm".
Myself and my daughter have been ridiculed by individuals and schools because we are not Christian and there for do not follow any religious believes and religious holidays.

Candy makes Halloween cool, I'd like her to know that it's cool for other reasons too!
Presents are great so Christmas is like a disaster if she's not allowed to celebrate it.

I won't enforce my ideals on her, but I'd like her to have a good understanding of WHAT it is she's wanting to celebrate. And not the Hallmark version and Not the twisted Christian version.

Are their colour pages? Games? Activities? Something she can read beyond the dull boring articles you'd find online or in adult books?
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« Reply #1: November 19, 2007, 02:45:47 pm »


Circle Round, by Starhawk+ (I can't remember the other authors right now), might be a good place to start.
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« Reply #2: November 19, 2007, 06:47:55 pm »

Basically my problem is that she's been more acquainted with with Christianity beliefs then anything else. Largely due to teachers stepping out of line towards their students, and the exuberant celebration of Christian and/or Hallmark holidays.

I have tried, and rather failed to find ways to educate her and get her interested in learning about the other options and ideals out there.
Are there any materials out there aimed at children?

I dont know how full on the Christianity is where your living or how old your daughter is, but it might not be a bad thing for her to explore, at least so she understands it better. You could encourage her to look more closely into it than just the hell fire and brimstone, i.e. read the bible a bit, go to church a few times and talk about the things the church does/believes and why (good and bad), so if she does choose to pursue Christianity she knows what to expect.

I don't want to see her fall into something just because her teacher scared her into it, or because it's what she's been shown as "the norm".
Myself and my daughter have been ridiculed by individuals and schools because we are not Christian and there for do not follow any religious believes and religious holidays.

This is really understandable, its the same as not wanting your daughter to binge drink etc just because everyone else does it. I guess all you can do is continue to try exposing her to different options so knows Christianity isnt the be all and end all... You could try cutting a deal with her, that you will be more supportive of whatever path she chooses to follow if she agrees to learn about other religions with you, but i dont know how successful that would be... Sorry i dont really know any texts that might interest her/you. Goodluck.

p.s. if your daughter is quite young peer pressure would be difficult for her to deal with, but as she gets older hopefully this should ease.. also the best way to challenge erroneous beliefs is through rational conversation  Smiley
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« Reply #3: November 19, 2007, 07:11:34 pm »


I'm curious, how some other parents helped their children explore religion.

Here, we are not religious, and through exposure in public schools my daughter has been in conflict with me (increasingly) over the celebration of holidays (let alone what they are actually about), and "god", etc.

(snip)


I presume you are talking some sort pagan religion, as opposed to just not Christian. If you are just looking for a non-Christian religion that's fairly easy to find.

You also don't mention how old your daughter is, or what grade she is in.

I think your biggest hurdle is that you are not providing an alternative religious identity for her. I used to recommend Cei Serith's "Pagan Family", but it's out of print.  I've never really found a decent book on pagan parenting, but I can say that it requires the parents to be actively religious and to share That religious activity with their kids.
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« Reply #4: November 19, 2007, 07:44:32 pm »

I don't want to see her fall into something just because her teacher scared her into it, or because it's what she's been shown as "the norm".
Myself and my daughter have been ridiculed by individuals and schools because we are not Christian and there for do not follow any religious believes and religious holidays.

Wow, how awful. That is, of course, basically illegal, if her teachers are hassling her for not being a Christian. I hope you were able to defend her appropriately, b/c it is just so wrong for a teacher to treat a student or a parent in this way.

If your daughter is little, I would definitely say Circle Round is a great place to start, if pagan family traditions is what you are interested in.
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« Reply #5: November 19, 2007, 07:56:44 pm »

I'm curious, how some other parents helped their children explore religion.

When my Mom wanted to expose me to her faith, she sent me to Catholic School (12 years) and took me to Mass.  When I had my daughter, I wasn't really sure how to expose her to religion without some sort of community to immerse her in.  Added to that, there is the fact that the Imp is something of a born skeptic, and religion has become quite a challenge.

Most of the things we did in her early years wouldn't be likely to work well for most families given some of the unique situations we found ourselves in during her early years, but I think we've settled on a pretty sensible pattern at this point. 

She is exposed to and encouraged to read the sacred texts of any religion she finds herself interested in (she's been on a bit of a Greek and Celtic mythos kick for about a year now), and - to allow for the expression of her inner "how does anyone know they've got the truth; everyone should follow their own path" streak (and, hoo boy, is it ever a wide one), we've been attending services at a Unitarian Universalist Church for about a month now.  She enjoys the children's classes, which focus on learning about tolerance and respect for everyone's path, and the Pagan community at the Church is active enough to ensure that she will continue to have exposure to various forms of Paganism, in addition to the exposure she receives via participation in some of my personal religious devotions.
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« Reply #6: November 19, 2007, 08:10:55 pm »

Are there any materials out there aimed at children?

....

Are their colour pages? Games? Activities? Something she can read beyond the dull boring articles you'd find online or in adult books?

Sure there are, but Paganism is new enough we still have to think outside the box.  First, you might consider either Spiral Scouts or your local UU for access to Pagan community for a child.  They meet for regular activities and will be able to set you up with alternatives, not to mention help you out if the local teachers are being bullies.

Meanwhile, Dover Publications makes a number of Pagan friendly coloring books and resources whether they know it or not.  Examples: Adventures of Hercules Coloring Book, and Aesop's Fables Coloring Book.  Most non-Hellenic resources that I can find are scattered across the web where they are freely available as PDFs, such as Sacred Spiral Kids coloring pages.

But I think the reality is you don't need any kind of props to introduce your children to Paganism.  Regular nature walks, including your children if you perform a traditional recitation when you bank the fire at night, and small functional crafts like polishing a stick for a wand will mean at least as much.  (This coming from someone who is positively addicted to coloring and is not above taping a crayon into her little one's hand if it will hurry things up!)  We try to identify plants and animals on our walks, for instance.  When I was younger I looked for fossils in the rocks I stumbled on.  And we're trying to put together a kind of advent calendar for the phases of the moon each month.

If your daughter is being overexposed to Christianity for some reason, you are within your rights to protest.  It never seems as if Christians wait around when they think they're losing influence in their childrens' lives, after all.  Or at least now would be a good time to talk.
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« Reply #7: November 19, 2007, 08:14:19 pm »

we've been attending services at a Unitarian Universalist Church for about a month now.  She enjoys the children's classes, which focus on learning about tolerance and respect for everyone's path, and the Pagan community at the Church is active enough to ensure that she will continue to have exposure to various forms of Paganism, in addition to the exposure she receives via participation in some of my personal religious devotions.

This has been great for my kids, too. Especially b/c the CRE is parent participatory, which I like a lot. I personally find the UUs a great place for interfaith families, and people who are exploring their spiritual options. I have to say that I find it highly amusing that I go to a church where a witch (indeed, several witches, we have a fairly healthy CUUPS chapter) teaches sunday school.

Both my kids are heavy into Greek mythology, and have been since they were tiny-it's that damn D'Aulaire book, I'm sure. Neither of them has expressed much interest in being either pagan or Christian though, which I think is fine. DH was raised SB, and feels strongly that everyone should make up their own mind about how they perceive and approach the Divine. It is pretty much the only thing we are in agreement about, spiritually.
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  The power of Fire,
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  And the power of Earth,
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« Reply #8: November 19, 2007, 11:04:07 pm »

This has been great for my kids, too. Especially b/c the CRE is parent participatory, which I like a lot. I personally find the UUs a great place for interfaith families, and people who are exploring their spiritual options. I have to say that I find it highly amusing that I go to a church where a witch (indeed, several witches, we have a fairly healthy CUUPS chapter) teaches sunday school.

I will second (or is it 3rd?) the UU route. I did that with my kids and not just so they could meet pagans (our church actually had very few) but those of many faiths. They were able to interact with Buddhists, Hindu, Atheists, liberal Christians, and those still searching. They were also exposed to those openly gay in a mainly Christian-rightwing town.

I volunteered to help with RE (Religious Education) on Sundays and most of the lessons centered around respect for the earth and nature.

One of my kids is now exploring a pagan path, while religion isn't much a part of another's life at all right now.  I didn't want to push any religion on them, just let them know their options and UU did this well. Teaching or telling kids about diversity is one thing, having them experience it is far better.
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« Reply #9: November 19, 2007, 11:15:20 pm »



I won't enforce my ideals on her, but I'd like her to have a good understanding of WHAT it is she's wanting to celebrate. And not the Hallmark version and Not the twisted Christian version.

Are their colour pages? Games? Activities? Something she can read beyond the dull boring articles you'd find online or in adult books?

We are raising my son the same way. We want him to be able to choose his own religion when the time it right. Something we are planing to do which might help you is to expose you child to many different religions and cultures, and do it on their level. Since it seems your child is young, holidays are important and sometimes easiest. Get information on different holidays, not only Pagan and Christian, but others, show how them the celebration, the meanings behind some of the traditions, etc. It lets a child know that not everyone is the same and it also teaches them respect and appreciation for other faiths and cultures.

Also if she has questions, try to answer them honestly and non-bias as possible, no matter what religion it is about. Sometimes the truth about a religion is what will turn one person toward a certian faith and make others run the other way.
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« Reply #10: November 23, 2007, 09:42:39 am »

I don't know how full on the Christianity is where your living or how old your daughter is, but it might not be a bad thing for her to explore, at least so she understands it better. You could encourage her to look more closely into it than just the hell fire and brimstone, i.e. read the bible a bit, go to church a few times and talk about the things the church does/believes and why (good and bad), so if she does choose to pursue Christianity she knows what to expect.

This is really understandable, its the same as not wanting your daughter to binge drink etc just because everyone else does it. I guess all you can do is continue to try exposing her to different options so knows Christianity isn't the be all and end all... You could try cutting a deal with her, that you will be more supportive of whatever path she chooses to follow if she agrees to learn about other religions with you, but i don't know how successful that would be... Sorry i don't really know any texts that might interest her/you. Good luck.

p.s. if your daughter is quite young peer pressure would be difficult for her to deal with, but as she gets older hopefully this should ease.. also the best way to challenge erroneous beliefs is through rational conversation  Smiley


Violet: My daughter is only 7 1/2 years old, she's in 2nd grade. She's very naive and HIGHLY impressionable when it comes to students or teachers telling her something. She's more willing to think something her friend or teacher does is "cool and right" then anyone in her family.

She can't not even begin to understand the basics which make up a religion right now, all she's learned is what many Christians have tried before, FEAR. She's bad, she goes to hell, she's good she goes to heaven with god, she's christian then baby Jesus and Santa gives her wonderful presents on Christmas, and yummy candy on Easter.

The schools here have NOT taught about the holidays equally, despite what they say, and I HAVE gone to the old principle about it, in which I was simply just dismissed by him. She's in a new school now, and her teacher is making a fuss over my lack of holiday traditions.
I will be speaking with her new principle once it's back in session, if I get no where, she will be changing schools or at least teachers.

I don't just want her to be exposed to Pagan religions, I want her to learn of everything! She's still far to young to "pick" one or the other, but if some day she wants to, I'd like her to have the fore knowledge.

Around Halloween, I tried to find anything that was remotely kid friendly for her to read about the history of Halloween.  She read it, and now off and on I ask her "what is Halloween?"
Usually she says something along the lines of...
"It's a holiday celebrated by the Pigeons".     Grin Grin

Quiet honestly both myself and her father are most comfortable with the ideals of Buddhism, Taoism or Shintoism. But I still know very  little about all of those, let alone their holidays. We like to visit Japan and possibly move there some day. With my daughters "ideals" as they are now, she would be the odd man out in that country as there are not many people who follow Christian beliefs, at least not with the ferocity some do here.

She never asks me questions about holidays or religion. Unless it's "Why aren't we having turkey like everyone else?!!" "Why don't we have a Christmas tree like everyone else, that other house down the street with all the lights is SOOO cool and so pretty!" Or occasionally she'll see or hear of something bad happen and say "Those people are BAD, those bad people all go straight to Heaven!"
So... you can see, she's very very confused. But we sure don't talk about heaven and hell here in this family.

Please excuse me everyone, but I have no idea what a UU is?

She is too young to equate anything dealing with nature as "religion". I just want to try and find some cool things we can do together, things that stick in her mind and make her feel happy while doing them.
But I have to admit dressing up in a costume and getting candy on Halloween, and getting the most presents on Christmas is pretty darn hard to beat!

I'd like to be directly in control of what religious aspects she's confronted with as much as possible. I don't want a group (a stranger) to educate her, and I don't want to send her off some where.
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« Reply #11: November 23, 2007, 09:50:19 am »

Please excuse me everyone, but I have no idea what a UU is?

Unitarian Universalism:
http://www.uua.org/
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« Reply #12: November 23, 2007, 10:25:29 am »


(snip)
I don't just want her to be exposed to Pagan religions, I want her to learn of everything! She's still far to young to "pick" one or the other, but if some day she wants to, I'd like her to have the fore knowledge.

(snip)
Quiet honestly both myself and her father are most comfortable with the ideals of Buddhism, Taoism or Shintoism. But I still know very  little about all of those, let alone their holidays. We like to visit Japan and possibly move there some day. With my daughters "ideals" as they are now, she would be the odd man out in that country as there are not many people who follow Christian beliefs, at least not with the ferocity some do here.

She never asks me questions about holidays or religion. Unless it's "Why aren't we having turkey like everyone else?!!" "Why don't we have a Christmas tree like everyone else, that other house down the street with all the lights is SOOO cool and so pretty!" Or occasionally she'll see or hear of something bad happen and say "Those people are BAD, those bad people all go straight to Heaven!"
So... you can see, she's very very confused. But we sure don't talk about heaven and hell here in this family.

Please excuse me everyone, but I have no idea what a UU is?

She is too young to equate anything dealing with nature as "religion". I just want to try and find some cool things we can do together, things that stick in her mind and make her feel happy while doing them.
But I have to admit dressing up in a costume and getting candy on Halloween, and getting the most presents on Christmas is pretty darn hard to beat!

I'd like to be directly in control of what religious aspects she's confronted with as much as possible. I don't want a group (a stranger) to educate her, and I don't want to send her off some where.


As Star pointed out UU is Unitarian Universalist.  It's a liberal, no hellfire or brimstone form of Protestant Christianity.

I think you're going to have a very hard row to hoe.

Since you don't want a group to educate her about religion, the UUs won't work for you.  Nor would most other religions within the US. 

Your daughter's questions seem to indicate not an interest in Christianity, but in having family religious traditions.  It sounds like you need to be doing Something around the time that Christians are doing something so she has an alternative. It doesn't have to be on the same day, just near that day.

I do agree that "nature" as religion is over rated for kids. I think it's to vague for them to get a hand on by itself.  It needs context, ritual, etc.

You say you are interested in Shinto or Buddism. I'd start there with reading some books about how it's celebrated within the home.  Don't worry so much about what they believe with regards to teaching your daughter. Focus on what they Do.
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« Reply #13: November 23, 2007, 10:26:13 am »


Violet: My daughter is only 7 1/2 years old, she's in 2nd grade. She's very naive and HIGHLY impressionable when it comes to students or teachers telling her something. She's more willing to think something her friend or teacher does is "cool and right" then anyone in her family.

She can't not even begin to understand the basics which make up a religion right now, all she's learned is what many Christians have tried before, FEAR. She's bad, she goes to hell, she's good she goes to heaven with god, she's christian then baby Jesus and Santa gives her wonderful presents on Christmas, and yummy candy on Easter.

The schools here have NOT taught about the holidays equally, despite what they say, and I HAVE gone to the old principle about it, in which I was simply just dismissed by him. She's in a new school now, and her teacher is making a fuss over my lack of holiday traditions.
I will be speaking with her new principle once it's back in session, if I get no where, she will be changing schools or at least teachers.

I don't just want her to be exposed to Pagan religions, I want her to learn of everything! She's still far to young to "pick" one or the other, but if some day she wants to, I'd like her to have the fore knowledge.

Around Halloween, I tried to find anything that was remotely kid friendly for her to read about the history of Halloween.  She read it, and now off and on I ask her "what is Halloween?"
Usually she says something along the lines of...
"It's a holiday celebrated by the Pigeons".     Grin Grin

Quiet honestly both myself and her father are most comfortable with the ideals of Buddhism, Taoism or Shintoism. But I still know very  little about all of those, let alone their holidays. We like to visit Japan and possibly move there some day. With my daughters "ideals" as they are now, she would be the odd man out in that country as there are not many people who follow Christian beliefs, at least not with the ferocity some do here.

She never asks me questions about holidays or religion. Unless it's "Why aren't we having turkey like everyone else?!!" "Why don't we have a Christmas tree like everyone else, that other house down the street with all the lights is SOOO cool and so pretty!" Or occasionally she'll see or hear of something bad happen and say "Those people are BAD, those bad people all go straight to Heaven!"
So... you can see, she's very very confused. But we sure don't talk about heaven and hell here in this family.

Please excuse me everyone, but I have no idea what a UU is?

She is too young to equate anything dealing with nature as "religion". I just want to try and find some cool things we can do together, things that stick in her mind and make her feel happy while doing them.
But I have to admit dressing up in a costume and getting candy on Halloween, and getting the most presents on Christmas is pretty darn hard to beat!

I'd like to be directly in control of what religious aspects she's confronted with as much as possible. I don't want a group (a stranger) to educate her, and I don't want to send her off some where.


We came to paganism after all my children were born, so for us, it has been adding holidays and explaining the old ones.  We still celebrate christmas and easter with grandma, but we also discuss Hannukah and Ramadan, celebrate Halloween both secularly and paganly, The eating season starts at Labor day and doean't end until after memorial day.  Present season starts Dec 6 with St Nick's day (german ancestry) and ends with Three Kings (spanish ancestry) on Jan 6.  In the middle we do yule, Hogmany (and Sylvester) and St Lucia Day (this year I don't work the night before, so we are going to take buns and Good coffee to the night shift I'm not working at my job).We are going to have to add the Hindu holidays that Ilina celebrates, so all the religions in my daughter's 6 girl class get's covered.  I teach what I believe now, with help from Circle Round, and try to teach what the christian holidays mean to christians, explain where they all come from (thank you Ronald Hutton) and so on. 

I teach the christian because at school they don't explain, they just present.  I was horribly embarrased when my five year old asked what that thing was in the church my daughter's holiday program was in (secular girl's school renting rooms in a UMC,) and she was refering to the cross.

the older daughter's 7th and 8th grade UU RE class is visiting other religious services and learning about different sects and religions.

We celebrate the national holidays of 4th of July, memorial day and THanksgiving.  Thanksgiving may have been started by christians, but it really transcends religion.  But we also talk about who was here first and what happened to them, so I ask you, why not have turkey like everyone else (unless you are vegetarian or simply don't like it)?

I talked to the younger one's preschool class about yule, and what we do.
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« Reply #14: November 23, 2007, 10:29:12 am »



I think your biggest hurdle is that you are not providing an alternative religious identity for her. I used to recommend Cei Serith's "Pagan Family", but it's out of print.  I've never really found a decent book on pagan parenting, but I can say that it requires the parents to be actively religious and to share That religious activity with their kids.


If you (the original op) are interested, I have an extra copy of Serith's pagan parenting that I can be induced to part with for cost ($10) and postage.  If SHe's not, and someone else is, let me know.

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"I've got a bad feeling about this."

every good guy in any of the Star Wars movies.





[url=http://dragcave.net/vi

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