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Author Topic: Children exploring Religion?  (Read 22637 times)
mandrina
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« Reply #15: November 23, 2007, 04:32:15 pm »

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.



BUt also give me a week to find it again. 
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« Reply #16: November 23, 2007, 11:50:05 pm »

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.

I'm presuming that Mandrina is referring to Ceisiwr Serith's The Pagan Family.  If so, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It is a simply glorious resource for anyone who's looking to build a family tradition, and it has the merits of having been written by one of the loveliest human beings ever to grace the planet.

Yeah, a little gushing, but I was fortunate enough, back in the day on the old AOL boards, to become acquainted (not that he would remember me, but damn, did he ever make an impression) with Cei, and he is was always kind without over-sentimentality, scholarly without arrogance, and devout without pretension.  His Book of Pagan Prayer has been an invaluable resource, and there's a reason why The Pagan Family is such a hard book to hunt up.  Once someone has a copy, they don't tend to give it up easily.
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« Reply #17: November 24, 2007, 10:11:27 am »





I agree that it sounds like she is concerned about the lack of holidays.

I know of families, JW, that do not celebrate holidays.  BUT, the ones I know go to great lengths to be doing something else.  IE on thankgiving, they go up to the museum of science and industry in Chicago.  THey have a summer party, The go to the movies on christmas, I don't know what they do easter Sunday, but they do something, they are going somewhere.  THey don't just not have anything to take the place of what the outside society is doing.  Two of the igrls in my daughter's class are muslim, they get into the gift exchange, but they don't trick or treat or dress up for halloween (but they can put away the candy). The ignore Easter.  BUt during Ramadan, They go to different people's houses everyday to break the fast.  THey have their own holidays.  THe indian girl has gone to 9 Diwali parties so far this year.  She doesn't miss Christmas at all.  You get the idea.  Most cultures have hoildays of some kind, so if you don't celebrate any, you have to explain it. 

We do Christmas, but we could just do everything on Yule. Trees fit in well with most neopagan winter celebrations. (now if the kids would quit insisting on putting up the nativity scene so they can play with it, everything would be ok, I can't give it away, the FIL gave it to us.)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2007, 04:57:48 pm by mandrina, Reason: forgot a negative. » Logged

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« Reply #18: November 24, 2007, 12:51:29 pm »



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'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?

Ridicule makes it tough to blaze a trail into the twisted social world of the PTA, parties and playdates.

In order to get your beliefs factored into your childs school events (and to keep over zealous teachers in check) you HAVE TO!!! be active within the school.  People have a harder time ridiculing you to your face than to your back.  It also gives you a better degree of awareness as to where the religious influence is coming from. 

In our case it was peers.  In return I realized I had to give my guys something special to uphold in their minds against the bragging of other children who are being given stickers, and much social reinforcement for believing as they are being taught.

I have made no bones about sitting my son down and saying 'we are different'  we don't believe that god hears you better if you go to a building somewhere and pray there instead of at home.  We have talked about how anywhere can be a church for you if you feel like talking to god.

I start off with a question.  So I heard you all are having an easter egg hunt at school, do you know why eggs and bunnies and flowers are special in the spring?  Why do we call it easter?  To this we get some interesting free association, and then I start to move forward with the whole fertility, Eoastara thing.  I'm giving my kids a generalized pagan background, in spite of my path currently moving in another direction.  I think it will give them the tools to integrate other forms of belief that incorporate similar ritual structures and practices.

I also show them pictures and let them flip through my books, pointing out this is Eostara.  We do the traditional egg dying and chocolate binge and I talk a little bit more about sharing our prosperity with each other and those who are less fortunate.

This way everything they do at school becomes a reinforcement of our beliefs, even when it isn't particularly religious.

We call Christmas both Christmas and Yule.  I've explained that one term is a more commonly used one that their friends are familiar with, but in our hearts we are celebrating something a little different.  We don't believe Christ was born at Christmastime.  We celebrate warmth and light in unexpected places.  We give gifts to show each other how much we care, and decorate a tree because we love trees and nature (we're still hammering out the details on this one) 

I'm slowly integrating some of the Native American holidays/ practices as I learn more about them and look forward to perhaps doing something in the late winter early spring about Maple trees and the rising sap/ Maple Festival.  I have to integrate the concept a little more before I can teach it effectively.

They are already familiar with making offerings of cornmeal, hair and sage on the wind or to the spirit of a place after we've had a good hike or have been lucky enough to find something cool.
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« Reply #19: November 24, 2007, 02:10:27 pm »


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.

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!


Sorry about double posting, but why no Tree or Thanksgiving?  Turkey day is pretty secular, and the Tree is something that is even seen as potentially 'un-Christian' in a Christian demographic.  I don't see why that would be a practice that you couldn't paganize for her.  I see the Western Halloween (aka hallmark-o-ween) as being pretty secular as well.  It's more of a social holiday than anything. 

I try not to purge the joy from the social contact that the holidays brings, even through we may call it something different, and do some things a little different.  This keeps our kids proud to be different.  They feel that they are different in a cool way, and get the best of all worlds rather than different in a way that isolates them.

We do the tree, but our decorations are primarily stars and snowflakes/icicles and things like that. 

In the school, if you don't actively participate, pretty much everything you say gets met with a shrug, and forgotten as soon as you leave the office.  The people who are there often and volunteering do get their opinions factored in more because they are the ones to carry out the plan.  Eg.  Our winter party is Polar Express Day.  I have the option to make cookies and send them in.  If I happen to make almond biscotti, or moon/star shaped cookies, nobody's going to complain.  It filled the need for refreshments, and the kids will like anything sweet and covered with sprinkles.

It's easy as a parent to get swept up in wanting your kids to approach religion as reverently and in as scholarly a manner as we as adults do, but at this stage in their lives, belief is sensory.  They only know how things make them feel, and if the experience is devoid of feeling, then it is soon forgotten for something that makes them feel.  Joy in belief now is what will keep her seeking out different forms of belief later. 

As for the hell thing, in a politically incorrect moment when I had just had it up to here with religion coming in from other places, I told my kids that hell is an imaginary place made up by humans to threaten people who do things they don't like with.  I also asked him, what happens when you do something bad?  and he goes 'you get in trouble' and I asked him, so would it be fair if you had to get in trouble again for every bad thing you ever did, even though you were already punished?   So my son doesn't go in for the hell thing, but he does every now and again talk about heaven in relation to death.  Eg.  the bird that died went to heaven, right mom?  Yeah, maybe he did darlin.

I think on some level though the heaven hell polarity appeals to kids, because it makes the world seem fair.  If someone is bad even when they aren't caught there is an equalizer.  As we integrate the concept of life's not always fair I think the 'hell' bit will be phased out naturally as their personal ethics and understanding of cause and effect firms up a bit more. 


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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #20: November 24, 2007, 03:18:50 pm »

BUt also give me a week to find it again. 

If the OP and/or anybody else hasn't expressed an interest in this book yet, I'd be interested...
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« Reply #21: November 24, 2007, 04:32:15 pm »

I see the Western Halloween (aka hallmark-o-ween) as being pretty secular as well.  It's more of a social holiday than anything.

I'm the same way. Then again, Samhain for me doesn't fall sometimes until more than a week later than Halloween.

Quote
We do the tree, but our decorations are primarily stars and snowflakes/icicles and things like that. 

I've always had a tree. I can't image this part of the year without one. A fair share of my decorations are snowflakes my mom crocheted for me, but the largest majority are angels, including the tree topper.
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« Reply #22: November 24, 2007, 05:13:46 pm »

If the OP and/or anybody else hasn't expressed an interest in this book yet, I'd be interested...

btw, there were a couple on half.com a little while ago.
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« Reply #23: November 26, 2007, 01:15:35 pm »

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

So far everyone has fine advice but I wanted to address this statement.

UU is NOT a form of Christianity. It has Christian-roots, in that it was started from two different Christian denominations (the unitarians and the universalists, obviously) but the organization as it stands in its modern form is NOT Christian. You'll start a fight if you say that in a UU fellowship. Christians are welcome as are anyone else but the UUA does not endorse a specificly Christian doctrine. Dependent on the Fellowship you attend you might see more or less Christian influence but the organization as a whole is NOT Christian. (Only 13% of UUs identify as having Christian roots.)

Just thought I'd share that.

And UU isn't a bad place to get a lot of religious views. Just bear in mind that you will want to check out several UU Fellowships if there are several in the area. Each one is often very different from its neighbors.
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« Reply #24: November 26, 2007, 04:33:58 pm »

it was started from two different Christian denominations (the unitarians and the universalists, obviously)
Which, by the time they joined forces (1961, for those who like detail), weren't really Christian - more humanist than anything, and had been for some decades.

Sunflower
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« Reply #25: November 29, 2007, 01:29:58 pm »

I agree that it sounds like she is concerned about the lack of holidays.

I know of families, JW, that do not celebrate holidays.  BUT, the ones I know go to great lengths to be doing something else.  IE on thankgiving, they go up to the museum of science and industry in Chicago.  THey have a summer party, The go to the movies on christmas, I don't know what they do easter Sunday, but they do something, they are going somewhere.  THey don't just not have anything to take the place of what the outside society is doing.  Two of the igrls in my daughter's class are muslim, they get into the gift exchange, but they don't trick or treat or dress up for halloween (but they can put away the candy). The ignore Easter.  BUt during Ramadan, They go to different people's houses everyday to break the fast.  THey have their own holidays.  THe indian girl has gone to 9 Diwali parties so far this year.  She doesn't miss Christmas at all.  You get the idea.  Most cultures have hoildays of some kind, so if you don't celebrate any, you have to explain it. 

We do Christmas, but we could just do everything on Yule. Trees fit in well with most neopagan winter celebrations. (now if the kids would quit insisting on putting up the nativity scene so they can play with it, everything would be ok, I can't give it away, the FIL gave it to us.)


Mandrina:

We do celebrate holidays here, with out fail we especially make a big deal out of the 4th of July. We get our whole family together including the dogs! And our extended family and family friends when at all possible.
We used to celebrate Christmas by ourselves, but that' stopped slowly about 3 or 4 years ago.
I used to celebrate easter with her not in a religious sense, but just for cute things like the easter bunny and I liked watching my dd hunt for easter eggs.
My extended family on her fathers side is pretty big into holidays, they are catholic and jewish.
When we get together we celebrate those holidays for THEIR sake.
We even tried to "celebrate" Chanukah one year at our own home as we were not able to see our extended family, in an attempt to get my dd interested in something "else".
Every Halloween, save one since she was of age to go trick or treating, she has gone. Not with us, but with friends of the family. This year I wanted her to have a little extra knowledge, to know the day was not just about candy and dressing up in her princess outfit.
We've been throwing around the idea of making a "family day" as our traditional holiday. We may do it soon, as Thanksgiving and Christmas are 2 Holidays I personally REALLY don't celebrate. She's been told she can STILL celebrate any holiday she wishes her self, or with her daddy. And I've told her that I don't need a designated holiday, to enjoy my family, and that there are many times we have a lot of fun together, with out the need of a holiday.

We have explained to her several times that since Mommy and Daddy are not religious, there are just certain holidays that we see no reason for celebrating.
Though her teacher and her friends views of that being "odd" or just "wrong" is not helping us.

Recently I'm having increasing problems with her school, or rather her teacher, she seems to be trying to divide us from our daughter. Basically not seeing us as apt parents in her mind, and that we need to justify ourselves to HER on many levels.
Since she's started in this new school with this teacher, I have seen the rift between us and our daughter growing wider. I know that her teacher has said things to my daughter which would alienate her against us.
On that note we are working on talking with her principle, and either switching teachers or switching schools, but not due in full to her holiday comments.

I think my daughter is fighting me right and left, about learning alternate views because when she share them with her teacher or her friends at school as some kids do (I mean kids talk about the christian god with one another it's unavoidable at some point.) But not only is she, but her own mother (me) is ridiculed for our different views.
I'm sure out of not wanting to be an outcast, she's turning a blind eye to her family and their beliefs.
Her teacher even told me, that she's working with my daughter to "change MY view" of thanksgiving.

I honestly, don't know how to combat that.

People like to say to my face "Well that's odd" or "That doesn't seem fair to your kid, EVERY child should be able to have a Christmas."
Usually at that point I'm too angry to bother to respond with anything, with their narrow minded views they could not possibly understand anyway.
Even just yesterday I helped my dd hang up a nice Christmas ornament she made at school, in her bedroom.
It's not as if I'd throw it in the trash and curse her school for having her make it. 

I also love New Years for me it's an important holiday, but it's also the holiday I get the most... depressed on, though I have no idea why. Last year, I traveled half way across the world, to be surrounded by many friends and thousands of strangers at a Shrine in Japan, just so that I wouldn't be alone, and so I could share a wonderful moment with so many people.
We don't have any shrines like that here, or large groups of people to do something like that in this country this year.
I want to do something other then sit at home, we don't even have a television to watch the ball drop.
Any idea's for that?

I may look into checking out a UU "church"? Myself, to see what I think of it, or a couple. Before bringing my dd along.
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« Reply #26: November 29, 2007, 01:54:46 pm »

I want to do something other then sit at home, we don't even have a television to watch the ball drop.
Any idea's for that?

That depends on what you mean by "sit at home".  If you just don't want to have a quiet, boring evening...  Our family always used to make an occasion of it.  We'd make up a bunch of party-type food, like cocktail weenies and veggie trays and chips and dip and whatever, have some eggnog or mulled wine or hot chocolate or something to drink, play games all night until right around midnight.  (Whatever games we felt like at the moment; Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit were often involved, as this was the one night of the year when we didn't mind how looooooong they tended to go on.)  Then get out the party hats and streamers and noisemakers, and pour a round of champagne (or sparkling juice, as appropriate), and count down to midnight (we used the TV, but not having one, you could as easily just use someone's watch or a wall clock with a second hand), and at midnight toast the new year and throw streamers and blow the noisemakers and all that kind of thing.  It was wonderful fun for all of us.  Sitting at home doesn't have to mean camping out on the couch with nothing to do.  Wink  (And you could invite friends over, too, and get them in on the celebration, if you want a bigger crowd.)

If you're wanting to get out of the house and/or be a part of a larger crowd than is remotely possible at your own place, though, I'm not sure what to say.   Undecided  Maybe see if there are any big public parties going on in town?  I know some places have their own whatever-we-can-think-up dropping (instead of the Times Square ball) and a big bash to lead up to it.  Or even just the big bash.  It sounds like you might have already looked into this, though, so that might not be the most helpful advice ever.
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« Reply #27: November 29, 2007, 02:21:28 pm »


Mandrina:

We do celebrate holidays here, with out fail we especially make a big deal out of the 4th of July. We get our whole family together including the dogs! And our extended family and family friends when at all possible.
We used to celebrate Christmas by ourselves, but that' stopped slowly about 3 or 4 years ago.
I used to celebrate easter with her not in a religious sense, but just for cute things like the easter bunny and I liked watching my dd hunt for easter eggs.
My extended family on her fathers side is pretty big into holidays, they are catholic and jewish.
When we get together we celebrate those holidays for THEIR sake.
We even tried to "celebrate" Chanukah one year at our own home as we were not able to see our extended family, in an attempt to get my dd interested in something "else".
Every Halloween, save one since she was of age to go trick or treating, she has gone. Not with us, but with friends of the family. This year I wanted her to have a little extra knowledge, to know the day was not just about candy and dressing up in her princess outfit.
We've been throwing around the idea of making a "family day" as our traditional holiday. We may do it soon, as Thanksgiving and Christmas are 2 Holidays I personally REALLY don't celebrate. She's been told she can STILL celebrate any holiday she wishes her self, or with her daddy. And I've told her that I don't need a designated holiday, to enjoy my family, and that there are many times we have a lot of fun together, with out the need of a holiday.

We have explained to her several times that since Mommy and Daddy are not religious, there are just certain holidays that we see no reason for celebrating.
Though her teacher and her friends views of that being "odd" or just "wrong" is not helping us.

Recently I'm having increasing problems with her school, or rather her teacher, she seems to be trying to divide us from our daughter. Basically not seeing us as apt parents in her mind, and that we need to justify ourselves to HER on many levels.
Since she's started in this new school with this teacher, I have seen the rift between us and our daughter growing wider. I know that her teacher has said things to my daughter which would alienate her against us.
On that note we are working on talking with her principle, and either switching teachers or switching schools, but not due in full to her holiday comments.

I think my daughter is fighting me right and left, about learning alternate views because when she share them with her teacher or her friends at school as some kids do (I mean kids talk about the christian god with one another it's unavoidable at some point.) But not only is she, but her own mother (me) is ridiculed for our different views.
I'm sure out of not wanting to be an outcast, she's turning a blind eye to her family and their beliefs.
Her teacher even told me, that she's working with my daughter to "change MY view" of thanksgiving.

I honestly, don't know how to combat that.

People like to say to my face "Well that's odd" or "That doesn't seem fair to your kid, EVERY child should be able to have a Christmas."
Usually at that point I'm too angry to bother to respond with anything, with their narrow minded views they could not possibly understand anyway.
Even just yesterday I helped my dd hang up a nice Christmas ornament she made at school, in her bedroom.
It's not as if I'd throw it in the trash and curse her school for having her make it. 

I also love New Years for me it's an important holiday, but it's also the holiday I get the most... depressed on, though I have no idea why. Last year, I traveled half way across the world, to be surrounded by many friends and thousands of strangers at a Shrine in Japan, just so that I wouldn't be alone, and so I could share a wonderful moment with so many people.
We don't have any shrines like that here, or large groups of people to do something like that in this country this year.
I want to do something other then sit at home, we don't even have a television to watch the ball drop.
Any idea's for that?

I may look into checking out a UU "church"? Myself, to see what I think of it, or a couple. Before bringing my dd along.

It sounded like you were objecting to all holidays, sorry. 

This will be the third school this year?  Oh dear.  I don't know where you live, you might need to switch school systems entirely or move to a private school if you can find one.  If you can find a waldorf or montesorri school or something like this (http://www.countrysideschool.org/index.html) a private highly liberal secular school, that might be good, since theorectically being on the outside of the standard schooling movement, they will more open to alternate religious views. I'm not necessarily tooting that particular school's horn, CU has at least one other like it, plus a girl's middle school.

On the new years:  many communites have First Night parties through the park district. CU does.  No alcohol, family friendly and so on.
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« Reply #28: November 29, 2007, 03:18:24 pm »

People like to say to my face "Well that's odd" or "That doesn't seem fair to your kid, EVERY child should be able to have a Christmas."
Usually at that point I'm too angry to bother to respond with anything, with their narrow minded views they could not possibly understand anyway.

So reply something like this:

"No, what is really unfair is that YOUR kids miss out on Beltaine.  The signing, the dancing, the feasting, the drumming circles, the face painting, celebrating the reawakening of spring!  Why anyone wouldn't celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of life is beyond me." 
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« Reply #29: November 29, 2007, 03:35:43 pm »

The other thing I'm noticing from a variety of people, over many posts, is the general consensus that we all want our children to have a religious choice.  While I think I understand where this sentiment is coming from (I held it for quite a while myself), I'm not so sure we're doing our younger children a service with it.

In general, kids need structure and routine.  It helps to reassure and comfort them to know certain things will happen regardless of the other unknowns that may be in their lives.  If we as pagan parents don't offer a religious structure and routine they will find it elsewhere, and probably not where we really want them to.

Finally, is teaching them what we believe when they're young really going to inhibit their religious choice later in life if we're open to the idea later?  Probably not.  After all 95% or more of us CHOSE to be the religion we are, the big difference is we probably didn't have our parents 'blessing' to choose.

To use a real world analogy, we don't leave the doors of our house wide open for our toddlers and youngsters.  But once they're older and have some real world knowledge they're free to walk out the door and go outside (as long as they tell us where they're going first Smiley ).
« Last Edit: November 29, 2007, 03:40:09 pm by Gobae » Logged


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