Monday, May 23, 2011

Pagan Parenting

A little side step, again, from Tapping the Egregore

Its almost summer and my sweet Jupiter angel will be out of school. As always, I have to make arrangements for her to attend summer day camp, or daycare. As a single working parent, daycare is always an issue. My beloved Tribe has always been really tolerant when I needed to take my daughter to a ritual or a class because she is well-behaved. For those concerned individuals, I always make sure that any information is family friendly. She has obtained quite an education from her attendance of said rituals and classes and I augment her learning, as I did with my son, outside of her formal education.

My daughter already has an extensive knowledge of gemstones and herbs. We take her to museums on a regular basis (even my ex-husband) and she has been exposed to the relics of several ancient cultures. She understands that there are different pantheons and she knows that mama honors the gods and goddesses of those different pantheons. My daughter also understands that when she smells incense and hears mama "singing" or "praying", it is not the time to bother me. My Jupiter angel also knows how to recognize an offering and she knows not to disturb it. Although I will leave it up to them what type of spirituality they will practice as adults, I have done everything I can to expose my children to a pagan lifestyle, except for one thing.

I will not promote or encourage a negative attitude towards Christianity to my children. My teenager has developed his own reservations but daughter has not yet developed any issues.

We live in the California equivalent of the Bible belt and there are many fundamentalist Christians here. I disagree with them about alot of stuff, especially their politics, but I live in their world and so do my children. A significant part of my dealing with fundamentalists has been my daycare situation. Pagan daycare facilities or caregivers simply do not exist or if they do, they are not advertising their lifestyle to the outside world.

The program she has been attending for the last 8 years is very active in the local community promoting their fundamentalist agenda (unfortunately) but their children activities are quite different. I always look for programs that will nurture my child and the program is still the best in the city, IMHO. They teach the performing arts, music and go on weekly field trips. They do not have daily Bible thumping activities but they do teach my child the ways to be a "good citizen". These are issues that a pagan working parent has to deal with. Do we send our children to a program that may correlate exactly or accept our point of view but is not highly superior; or do we send them to a program that cares and nurtures the spirit in the little person?

Whenever we visit the facility, outside of the summer season, it's always like coming home for my Jupiter angel. Her teachers are women she has known for all of her life and used to change her diapers. She gives them big long hugs and toothy smiles and her heart fills with warmth. She loves those Christian teachers and they love her. I cannot argue or find fault with that.

Post script: the drawing is one made by my daughter at her Christian summer daycare for my birthday last year. She told me that she wanted to be sure to put the Powers of the Sun and Stars in it.


Yvonne said...

Great post. My kids are being raised to observe and respect magick and my pagan religion, and they see me make a lot of mistakes, like any parent does. It tempers their perspective, and that is good. They will be able to choose where they stand in the future with a more realistic point of view. On the other hand, I worry very much about the Christian fundamentalists who have told my children that anything other than their "jesus Way" means hell for them. You have no idea how frightening their hell is to a child. To top it off they mock the gods and spirits that I serve, causing a kind of shame and defensiveness that is toxic to a child's sensibilities at a tender age. So I don't see much of the love that you describe among the fundamentalists, mainly the fear. Perhaps they reserve their Love for the babies, but I am wary.

PhoenixAngel said...

Fortunately, fear, shame and defensiveness is not part of the curriculum at my daughter's daycare. I am also thankful that prejudice isnt either. I dont get much of that "Us/Heaven and Them/Hell" sentiment from them although I am aware that a few do hold that opinion. Mostly what I get is a feeling of superiority since their church has done a tremendous amount of community outreach and support. The program has both the financial and political backing to develop programs and they really put their $ where their mouth is. Fortunately, their long standing staff is not so severe.