0

Back on Track (Deep Breath and fingers Crossed)

So…I know I haven’t posted at all this past week….I promise it’s coming tomorrow. I have it ready and I could post it right now…but I need to sleep.  I honestly didnt have the energy to retype it into here and post this.

So here’s what happened.

We worked our butts off (Well mostly me and then the boyfriend and mom’s best friend) to get everything that could explode, melt, be flammable, rot, or go bad, out of the house in three days…plus get my disabled parents, ourselves and my nearly year old packed for an overnight stay….not as easy as one would think when you have to take two walkers an oxygen machine and still manage to run errands the day you go and come back.

We did the heat treatment…had more bs from the company and got it over with.

Tuesday I was ready to come back and post that late post I promised and what happened?

I got sick, then the boyfriend, and then the baby.

By the time I was finally better it was Sunday and I had gone a week without posting.

I thought I might even be further delayed due to thinking I had killed a car. Which turned out to just be a feature we had accidentally turned on and hadn’t known existed. Which made me miss part of the minions and terminator movies at the drive in. I know first world problems….but still stressful and frustrating none the less.

So this week we are nearly back on track and I’m a bit more ahead in my writing which never hurts and hopefully (fingers crossed) life will stop throwing me rotted lemons.

0

Discovery baskets, boxes, and bowls (Oh My!)

This should be a fairly short post. Today I just want to touch on discovery boxes. These are a great way for your little one to safely explore their environment and it’s an idea good for just about any age. You just have to make a few adjustments here and there to make it work with just about any child or group.

So what are discovery boxes?

A discovery box is usually a box or container with a group of similarly grouped items that are safe for your child to play with at their age. For example, the main discovery box (or in this case a mixing bowl) I’m going to talk about today is our kitchen discovery box. My parents have a lot of old kitchen stuff. Now, I’m not letting her play with the antiques, but we have some old biscuit cutters, metal straws, a tea ball, and other kitchen items that are safe for Freya to play with.

And the greatest thing is that you can make a discovery box have any theme you want to. If you are teaching your preschooler about the letter A, you can have a treasure chest or box that only has items with the letter A. You can do a color box, a pirate box (I so want to do this) or even a music box (which you’ll see later).

Best Use of Discovery Boxes

Now, I got the idea from a Montessori website and they do recommend a few things when it comes to discovery boxes, or well, toys in general. The first is that you rotate out your child’s toys instead of giving them access to all their toys at once.  This is supposed to stop them from being over stimulated. It is also supposed to help prevent a child becoming too easily bored with a toy. Since the toys are rotated out, it’s like having new toys every couple of weeks.

What can go in a Discovery Box?

Well, I’m going to show you a few examples now with some pictures of what has gone into some of our discovery boxes.

C360_2015-06-12-20-54-00-150

First of all, this is where all her toys go (and some of my stuffed animals that we now share). Right now she can only reach the first two shelves so I have stuffed animals on the upper shelf and toys on the bottom. I keep a few stock toys that are always calming out for her as well…such as the phone and the lantern. She pitches a fit if these two aren’t out.

In there you’ll see two of the three discovery packs I made for her.

C360_2015-06-12-20-55-21-774

The only one not included is the kitchen bowl basket. We’ve had it out for a few weeks now and it was time to switch it up again. We had a tea steeper in there along with a measuring spoon, old fashioned glass cup (highly unlikely to break), biscuit cutter, baby bottle (toy), bottle nipple, pot and pan (toy), ice stir, metal straw, and a cookie cutter.

This basket is the perfect example of one made from things we found entirely in the house. The old toys are mine, the nipple is hers, and the rest literally came from the kitchen.

C360_2015-06-12-20-56-14-449

The second is a basket of random things (a discovery basket doesn’t always have to be themed). Normally I would put this in my old toy shopping basket, but it needs to be cleaned and I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Most of the items are household items or toys that represent such things and then there is the random slice of pizza from my old Pizza Hut toy kit. This one contains an old lunch box cup, toy keys, toy pan, toy baby medicine dispenser from an old doll, and a toy stethoscope….which she loves.

One again a basket made entirely out of things I already had. It’s great if you have multiple children because when one has it cycled out of their toys, the other can see it in a discovery box in their room.  Or they can share boxes in a play room.  Whatever works for your family.

C360_2015-06-12-20-56-44-091

The final box is my music box. We almost always have a music box; its contents just vary (that’s what Freya gets for having a mother who studied music and psychology).  Right now it just has three things in it. Her favorite tambourine, which often stays in here, a shaker, and for right now, the new xylophone I bought her on Amazon (I want to say it was 12-15 dollars).  Other things I’ve included are: a thunder tube, egg shakers, Irish tin whistle, and harmonicas. I eventually want to get a cabasa, rain stick, and a few other things from my music therapy days.

Even though everything in here was bought specifically for the basket (or for my past career), most of it was on the cheap side. Both the tambourine and the shaker are Dollar Tree finds and the xylophone here was the cheapest one I could find. I can use it in color activities and music activities down the line. So I felt that it was worth investing a little money into.

Either way, you can make your baskets out of things entirely found around the home, or you can make them on the cheap. I’ve seen people create a Noah’s ark basket with animals for a Christian family. I have a friend who made a world religions basket for her toddler that has figurines of Buddha, Ganesh, and the Goddess.  This is a very versatile tool that can be used for play or learning.

I hope this inspires you to make your own baskets based on your own themes and passions.  I also hope that you’ll try rotating your child’s toys out as you go. I’ve seen it used in households and be a godsend. Not to mention the kids don’t ask for new stuff quite so often.

Blessed Be.

0

Bad Day

I apologize the last two weeks have been rough and today has been the worst. I have a post, but my editor (aka the boyfriend) has been affected by the problem as well. I will have it ready by sometime tomorrow though.

In the meantime I’ll just give you guys an update one what’s going on.

My mother’s aide has been great. When dad was put in the hospital she came and stayed here, risked her job, to make sure that her friend, my severely disabled mother, would be okay (she’s not supposed to be here outside of work hours) during a time when I couldn’t be there (my mother wanted me to finish my degree).

So we do whatever we can to support her. Well last her her husband did something stupid that landed him in jail. He served his time and came out a much better person (well aside from a few nasty habits). Today he was called in for a piss test, which was a ruse to arrest him for another county. It took us five of us all day, either driving around or making calls to figure out what was going on.

Turns out that they have “accidentally” messed up his file and claim that he has only served 72 days. And have taken him in as escaped (despite the fact that they have photos of him being discharged from the jail. I say accidentally with quotations because this happens just six days after paperwork was served to both the jail and my friend saying that the attorney general is picking up their lawsuit against the nurse for medical endangerment, among many other things that the jail is currently being investigated for.

So now we have to wait till monday to talk to a friend of my father’s (he worked department of corrections prior to his stroke) to fix the problems and hopefully get him out.

So for those of you reading please pray for the members of my selected family being affected by this sad state of affairs.

0

Green Pediatrics For A Healthier Child

Dr. Lawrence Rosen created a philosophy of whole child care. Some people have named this philosophy Green Pediatrics.  In his model children are more than just physical beings, which is true. Just like the rest of us they have a mind, a body, and a spirit. All of which are important to the whole. Just as someone who suffers mentally have issues in other spectrums, so do our children.

Green pediatricians believe that a child’s health is not just dependent on their physical state, but also how they interact with their parents, family and community.  And all those systems have an impact on the child’s health. To me this makes a lot of sense.  Environment is just as important, if not more important than genetics in many cases.  There is a reason for the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” A child is raised by all the elements in their lives from schools, to doctors, the parents, and all the way down to the social groups they end up participating in.

While the philosophy behind the practice is important, what impresses me the most about this method is the how a green pediatrician handles the child’s health.  The focus is on preventative and natural treatment. There is a large focus on letting the body create its own defense and only incorporating outside chemicals (medications) when absolutely necessary.  Rosen tells it like it is when he says that there are no magic pills or quick fixes in medicine. And that’s a lie that we’ve been fed by big pharma and Western medicine for years.

These integrative pediatricians are searching for healthier ways to treat the symptoms of childhood illnesses. And while it is great to have the newest tech, they are realizing that they have to have a gentler touch. These doctors are now realizing that sometimes it takes a simpler touch. Yes, it’s great to have the high tech tools and medicines if you need them, but they are not always needed.

Diet and Holistic Treatment

The emphasis is on more holistic therapies where possible. This is where occupational therapy, horse therapy, water therapy, psychology, and even reiki are being used by some of these doctors. All of this is in an attempt to keep the body from being harmed by unnecessary toxic contamination in the form of pills or other interventions.  They are putting greater emphasis on nutrition and diet as well. And it all makes sense. How can we treat a sick body when we keep feeding it foods that will only make it sicker?

Let me give you an example. I have two cousins who have a number of developmental issues. At one point both of them were really sick.  Their mom eventually started going for more natural foods for her children. It started with driving two hours to Louisville just to find a health food store (Indiana isn’t known for its health and they live in the boonies). Eventually she bought them chickens and a goat to keep as pets and they harvested their own eggs and milk. They don’t feed the goats or chickens antibiotics or chemicals unless absolutely necessary.

And you know what happened? The girls became healthier as their body managed to eject the toxins. They weren’t allergic to the processed foods per se, but their bodies simply couldn’t function optimally on sub par nutrition. Now it’s great that she had the money to do that, but where does that leave the rest of us? The answer is doing the best we can with what we have and making as many adjustments or investments as we can afford to.  It’s a process, but one that is well worth it.

And those are just two hallmarks of green pediatrics. First, a turn away from using medication for every single cough or sniffle and, second, an emphasis on nutrition as a means of preventing chronic illness.

I love this for Freya. We go to a green nurse practitioner and she’s actually better than just about any doctor I’ve ever met….and I’ve met a lot of doctors over the years due to my mother’s health issues. She listens to our concerns. She is willing to work with us. Best of all, she wants Freya’s immune system to do the work, rather than a medicine, whenever possible.

Vaccines

This is a topic of debate even for green pediatricians. Some believe that you should and some believe that you shouldn’t. In the end you have to weigh your options, do the research, and determine what is best for your family.

I personally believe that vaccines are not evil in and of themselves. I think that mumps, measles, rubella, are all necessary. I don’t necessarily think that the flu or chickenpox vaccines are a good idea however. Those are constantly changing bugs that we are only making stronger through continuous intervention. Not to mention, I’ve had horrible luck with the flu vaccine. Every time I’ve had it I’ve gotten the flu and it always seems worse than the years I haven’t gotten the vaccine.

My personal issue with vaccines is the lack of research on how multiple vaccinations interact with one another. There are some states that schedule three or four vaccines for one visit. Not only are our bodies not designed to fend off so many problems at once, but the interactions between most of these vaccines have never been tested. We know they are safe by themselves, but we have no clue what they do in our bodies when combined. Worse yet, there is enough anecdotal evidence concerning vaccine injuries that we should be worried about these un-researched interactions. That is why we do our best to split up Freya’s shots, even if that means an extra appointment.

Still, I want to highlight a potential drawback of vaccines, if for no other reason than to make you aware that they exist.

1.The rise in vaccines. Vaccines are sometimes considered medicine’s greatest lifesaver. And while they have been used to eradicate or control many contagious diseases, we’ve added lesser diseases to the list. Some of this is in an attempt to see what we can quick fix and some of it is to keep kids from missing school quite as often.  However did you know that when most of us parents were little we were given no more than ten to fifteen vaccines? Or did you know that in the last twenty years that number has risen to, on average, forty nine doses of vaccines before the age of six? It’s a big jump and often an unnecessary one.

The chart below is an image from Growing Up Green. It shows the differences between a child vaccinated in 1983 and one vaccinated in 2007.

20150514_221538

 

Untitled

It’s a big jump. You can see the current schedule on the CDC website.

2. There are some advocates that are worried that too many vaccines can cause even more health problems. If you look at the list above, you might assume that we have the healthiest children in the world, but the sad truth is that the opposite is true. Even more so, in other countries doctors have proven, even in a court of law, that vaccines are not necessary, just useful tools. And one of my favorite health websites, Mercola, posted this article, which also shares the potential dangers of vaccine.

3.While rare vaccine injuries and adverse reactions do exist. Very few parents seem to realize this and even less do research on the topic. Unfortunately our current system fails to realize that each child is different and doesn’t take into account other health concerns related to their past or current issues. Just as we don’t expect our children to fit in a one size fits all mold for anything else, we shouldn’t expect that to work here. Dr. Rosen has been advocating for prescreening children (not sure how) to make sure that the vaccine schedule meets their individual needs and concerns.

Normal vaccine side effects include fever and irritation. More extreme reactions to watch out for are anaphylactic reaction, rashes and swelling, extreme sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, behavior change, convulsions and shock. In the most extreme cases children with vaccine injuries have gone from normally functioning toddlers to being unable to walk or speak, but this is VERY rare.

If your child ever experiences any of these more extreme reactions, the CDC recommends that you call the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System by phone 800-822-7967 or online at www.haers.hhs.gov And for more information on contradictions to vaccines, see the CDC”s contradictions to vaccines chart on their website.

4. Some vaccines contain additives and preservatives that should raise concern. While they are used to stabilize, prevent germ growth, and prevent spoilage, some of these ingredients greatly concern me as they have been linked to other health issues. Aluminum is used to help stimulate the growth of antibodies. However, it has been suggested that it may toxic to the neurological, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular system. It’s also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Antibiotics are used, which we all know that overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance later in life when our bodies have greater need of them. Egg protein, which little children can be allergic to is found in vaccines as is formaldehyde, which kills unwanted bacteria. Some vaccines even have MSG, which has been linked to several health issues. Vaccines can even contain mercury, to which it has been determined there are no safe levels of mercury contamination.

All of these issues make me very cautious to use some vaccinations. It makes me want to do a lot more research into the recommended vaccinations my child is going to be receiving in the future. We all need to be careful and ask to read the insert in those vaccine boxes. You may meet resistance, but that may mean you don’t have a green doctor or a doctor willing to listen to your concerns. Never forget that you are a consumer buying a product. If you aren’t happy with the practice, find another one. Until we know the full effect of these vaccination cocktails on our children’s delicate and immature immune systems, we should all use caution.  Don’t be intimidated and stand your ground if you have any concerns about your child’s health. That’s our job as parents.

There are too many doctors who are more concerned with protecting themselves than the potential hazards some interventions may pose to our children.

0

Freya, Our Journey, and Montessori

I spend a lot of time thinking about what is best for Freya. All parents, especially first time parents, do this.  We all want to either improve from the past, if we have other children, or not mess up in the first place if we can avoid it.  While school is still several years away for us, I’m constantly trying to find ways to engage Freya and possibly jump start the learning process. Like any parent, we want her to have it better than we did.  In my case, I want to make sure everything goes better than my pregnancy did.

So let me explain what happened as briefly as possible.

 

See, I was one of those not so fortunate people who slipped through the cracks in the system. We didn’t find out I was pregnant till April (I’ve never been regular and had no symptoms) and right after I’d aged out of my father’s insurance. Worse, I was a temp so I couldn’t get insurance through work and I couldn’t afford it on my own. That left Medicaid, which despite applying in April didn’t get approved till three weeks before I was due.

But my pregnancy story gets better. Despite the fact that, in my state, you should be able to get prenatal care, no one would talk to me without 2000 or more upfront. Lovely when a pregnant woman in need cannot get any help from the system that is supposed to protect us. I called every doctor I could find in the phone book and a few that others recommended to me and no one would see me. I was livid.

So when I made an emergency trip to the hospital because I was that soon-to-be-new-mom who was freaking out, I got even more stressed than I already had been. The staff didn’t make it any better trying to sign me up for medicaid (even though I told them I was waiting on my current app to go through) or berating me for not getting prenatal care from a doctor. This did not improve my mood or my impression of the entire system.

And all of that would be compounded by finding out that I wasn’t due in seven months, I was due in two. I was due in August, which was a shock. I was floored and I don’t even know how to describe how her father felt.  Not knowing where the Goddess was leading me, I did all the research that most parents would do over nine months….in less than two.  In the end it was my mentor, Lady G, who convinced me not only to keep my child, but to also put my fears at ease.

After that we switched hospitals and I finally (two or three weeks before I was due) got to have a proper check up. Finally, in August, after two false alarms, I had Freya on the same night I was supposed to run the local community circle. Though it was the best excuse for being late ever, it was something I had been worried might happen. It was like I knew she was coming that day…even though she was induced due to doctor worries.  The birth wasn’t bad, aside from being bullied into inducing her which caused some minor problems, but no harm to the baby.

Suffice it to say, my pregnancy wasn’t a walk in the park.

And then I moved back in with my parents. Once things had settled down, I had a lot more time on my hands. Too much time. Even with having to help take care of both of my disabled parents, I wanted to find something to do with Freya. That’s when I found Montessori, which has become a large part of our lives

Our lack of preparation for her arrival has caused us to be very thoughtful of issues that could come up in the future. This included many discussions about school and what we would like to do versus what we may have to do to give her the best education possible. Both of us are decidedly against public schools. We both went and we both had experiences on opposite ends of the spectrum. He had a great experience while I had a horrible one. Where he had friends who defended him, I was that kid that was likely to end up in the trash can, locker, or torn up. Well, at least until we moved, at which point I kinda became several choice words towards anyone who tried to mess with me. Regardless, my boyfriend, Freya’s father, still agrees that we would prefer to keep her out of public school.

There are several reasons for this. First, the town we currently live in does not have a good school system. Second, the towns we want to move to do not have the best school systems. Third, Catholic school is not an option here, as I will not have Freya bullied into the Catholic church. I’ve had several friends who felt this way when they weren’t Catholic and went to the only private school in their area. Not to mention, I can’t guarantee that the school wouldn’t mess with her or me to start with, due to my faith.

Which leaves either non Christian affiliated private schools, which exist in the area, but are expensive, or home school. We’re still trying to determine if that is possible. We’ll have to see how the next few years go with my Etsy (or possibly Amazon) store I’m trying to set up and everything else. No matter what happens or what the decision may be, all I can do right now is research, pin things to Pinterest, and try not to drive myself mad.

Which is how I found Montessori.

What is Montessori?

Montessori is a learning style based on observations of the child and, more importantly, independent and peer learning. It was created in the late 1800’s by Maria Montessori, the first woman to graduate from medical school in Italy.  She developed it to help children reach their full potential after observing children housed alongside the criminally insane.  It was her work with those children that led her across the globe, where she learned that all children, despite their cultures, have certain times in their lives at which certain skills have to be learned.

Think of it as a house of cards or the foundation of a building. If one block or card is missing, the rest tumble on down.  This can best be seen in the psychological example of children raised by animals or raised outside of normal society. There is a wonderful WordPress article by Psychology Health that lays out the finer points of this scenario and it has happened. These children who don’t learn certain social or language cues from humans, have an extremely difficult time learning those skills later because they have passed that sensitive period in their development. While the author of the WordPress article claims there are no historical evidences of this, that is simply untrue. It is well documented in France in the 1800’s by Harian Lane, see the Amazon link to his book here.

That aside, there are certain peaks in which children develop motor, language, and other necessary skill that allow them to thrive within society. On her journeys, Montessori cataloged a general age range at which many of these occur.  Today, many psychologist and educators still use many of her ideas and recommendations. There are even those further researching her theories for a modern day.

One of the hallmarks of this practice is the environment in which the child learns and play. We haven’t been able to do everything we would like as we share a room with Freya, but I’m hoping to change that once we can afford to get our own place again, but we have implemented as much as we can. For one, Freya has a mattress on the ground where she takes naps during the day, eventually we will transition this to where she sleeps all the time as it allows her to be more independent. We keep her toys organized into as many categories as we can on shelves where she can reach them.

We also have a solid mirror where she can view her own expressions and attempt to play with the baby in the mirror. This encouraged Freya to lift her head and look around. Now she loves it because she can see her own movements. Another thing we have done is to use baby led weaning, where she eats what we eat instead of baby food when we go out. It has made the diaper bag lighter (aside from my mini Tupperware chopper) and it makes her happy to be involved in what we are doing, when we are doing it.  We are also working on getting her to drink form a cup with a little shot glass I have.  Sure we have a few spills, but she has seen us drink from cups and is always reaching for them herself. By letting her have her own cup we may have a few more spills, but she doesn’t reach for our cups because she has her own.

I also love that the method stresses that we can’t compare our children to others, that each child develops at a different pace and that we have to celebrate those differences.  To me it just feels very pagan in nature. We place trust in our child to learn from their surroundings and I can already tell you that Freya has surprised me more than once.

The one area I really want to learn about at this juncture is their method of discipline. That’s one topic I’ve had a lot of trouble finding info on. Though I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to you with more info on this topic once I get my Montessori books in and find time to read them.

So far, we’ve mostly done sensory play with pasta and food. We’ve done some discovery baskets about different areas of the house. Freya had a wonderful time playing with measuring spoons and bowls in the kitchen. She even enjoyed playing with her new rubber tipped silverware.  It’s fascinating and amazing what will entice and entertain a child.  My goal is to start doing at least one Montessori activity with her a week, two if I can manage it between job hunting and taking care of all my charges at home.

Regardless, if you’re homeschooling or just looking for new ways to interact with your child, Montessori source pages are a great place to find all sorts of activities for kids of any age and all of them are educational. I know that just like our spiritual paths, this one may not be for everyone, but it’s at least worth exploring and seeing what magick and mischief your child can find in their own world through these activities.

Blessed Be.

0

Religion in School

I have been doing some research. I’m a Nervous Nelly.  I really worry about going back to work and eventually sending Freya to school. I know it’s still several years down the road for me, but I want to stay up to date and educated on my options so that I can figure out what I want to do when the time comes. That led to me finding a witchvox post.

This post is about the school systems and what is out there. It is a very informative and I would recommend giving it a glance.  However, what interested me the most, was a listing of federal guidelines as to what is acceptable in public schools when it comes to religion.  I figured that most pagan parents would be interested because, let’s face it, most of us cannot afford a private school or to home school our children.

So here is the link to Educating Pagan Children

Federal Guidelines: religious expression in public schools

What are the rules for religious expression public schools? Secretary of Education Richard Riley, at the direction of President Clinton, issued guidelines 1995 and updated them 1998 to reflect recent court decisions.

A synopsis of the guidelines: Students have the same right to engage in individual or group prayer and religious discussion during the school day as they do to engage in other comparable activity.
Local school authorities have “substantial discretion” to impose rules of order but may not structure the rules to discriminate against religious activity or speech. Students may attempt to persuade peers about religious topics as they would any other topics, but schools should stop such speech that constitutes harassment.

Students may participate in before- or after-school events with religious content, such as “see-you-at-the-flagpole” gatherings, on the same terms they can participate in other non-curricular activities on school premises.Teachers and administrators are prohibited from either encouraging or discouraging religious activity and from participating in such activity with students. Public schools may not provide religious instruction but may teach about religion.

Students may express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments. The work should be judged by ordinary academic standards and against other “legitimate pedagogical concerns.” Students may distribute religious literature on the same terms other literature unrelated to curriculum can be distributed. Students may display religious messages on clothing to the same extent they may display other comparable messages.

Schools have “substantial discretion” to excuse students from lessons objectionable on religious or other conscientious grounds. But students generally don’t have a federal to be excused from lessons inconsistent with religious beliefs or practices. Schools may actively teach civic values and morals, even if some of those values also happen to be held by religions.

For the complete printable version of these guidlelines, see: THE EQUAL ACCESS ACT.

Hope this information was helpful

Blessed Be.

0

Obstacles to Pagan Parenting Part 3

The links to the first part is here and the link to the second is here.

The last couple of issues get kinda hairy. To each their own, live and let live. I’m going to share my personal perspective, but that neither makes it right or the only way to do things.

Issue #11

Sexuality, the divine, and relationships, OH MY!

This is another one of those topics I had never thought of until reading this article. So let’s be frank. Most of us have exceedingly unique views on sexuality and relationships.  We, as a general whole, tend to be more honest about nudity and sex.  There are those among us who pursue alternative lifestyles including, but not limited to polyamory, which can put us in a sticky situation when our children start asking about sex. Or when others at some point share their views on the topic.

Not only must we determine what we personally believe is right and wrong, but we must also, once again, explain that everyone has a right to their opinion. In addition, we have to walk the fine line between too little and too much information. We don’t want to get into too many details trying to offset sexual taboos. Depending on your child they may not benefit from that information at the time.

While I know not everyone would agree, my parents raised me in a very open manner. We watched some adult content. Nothing explicit, but I was advised to ask any questions I had afterwards. My parents thought that it was important to not shield me from any more than they absolutely had to so that I would be prepared for the world.  There were still moments I ended up being naive despite even their best efforts.  Their general policy was that if I had the intelligence to ask a question, then I had the right to an intelligent answer to that question.

The best example of this that I can give occurred when I asked where babies come from. My parents didn’t want to give me some useless tale about storks. I was in the second grade and when I asked the question, I had made the point that birds delivering babies didn’t make sense, or so I’m told. I don’t really remember. My parents answer was to explain that when a mommy and daddy love each other things happen (glossed over details) and then the baby grew inside of the mommy for nine months. Then we rented a video on pregnancy and childbirth.

Now, I know not all kids that age could handle that scenario and that not all parents would be comfortable with giving even that much information, but you have to determine that based on your own comfort with the topic, your child’s readiness/comprehension and their age. You also have to take into consideration how you want them to perceive you later. Do you want to tell part of the truth and have them perceive you as cautious and protective, or do you want to tell them a complete fairy tale and possibly have them not trust you for information later? Once again, it’s your choice and there are many shades of grey in between and outside of those two answers.

Issue #12

In the Beginning…?

Mythology concerning the creation of the universe has been an important part of human development since the dawn of man.  How do you explain it? Once again there are no easy answers and a bit of soul searching may be necessary.  We,as parents have to consider how we are going to explain the following: how the universe and humanity came to be, if humanity/the individual has a purpose or destiny, and how the concept of free will plays into that. It’s going to come up at some point, so make sure you are prepared. That way your children don’t get blindsided by the question later.

Issue #13

Touchy Subjects.

As a general rule, we have a ton of views that may differ from the rest of society.  From homosexuality to class, gender, race, transgenderism, war, the death penalty, abortion, drugs, sex and pregnancy, ect. and our children are going to be asking us to help them out of the murky waters and toward answers on these topics.  None of these are easy topics and there are many more that aren’t even covered here. We will be forced to explain why we believe as we do.

Issue #14

Freedom of Belief

This last one relates to an attitude. Another issue I had never thought of, but one that is important. However, the author and I disagree on some of the finer points of this topic as you will see later. The author starts by addressing an attitude that he/she has seem among many pagans. They attribute it to the politicization of paganism by different individuals and groups and to an extent the author is correct.

While there is a strong political tradition in modern paganism as an attempt to protect our rights, it is a mistake to suggest or imply that paganism is tied to any one political or philosophical agenda. Among our ranks we have a variety of political views and despite how any of them may feel about one another, they are still pagan.  Paganism is not about politics, which is a sore spot that I feel gets people of any religion into trouble at some junctions.  We are a nation that is supposed to have a separation of church and state, which is a very fine line indeed.

It is important to have your faith color your politics, but it is wrong to use your faith as a political tool, no matter how righteous your cause or intention.  I have seen this occur in schools as prayer is banned to supposedly promote diversity. Yes, I don’t want my children forced to participate, but if the city or school is predominantly one religion I really have no issue with the majority being able to pray at a football game while the child of another faith sits it out.  The minority should never tear down the majority, a problem I see in many facets and spheres of our nations politics.

From here the author of the original article and I diverge. Let me explain. The author claims that letting your child be exposed to other beliefs and letting them make their own choice is yet another facet of the politicization of paganism.  On that I do not agree. Yes, I personally intend to raise my child in my faith, but I see no harm in exposing them to the alternatives, because I see all the paths (so long as they are based in love, peace, trust and compassion) as different little rivers all leading to the same ocean. However, that is my perspective and I still live by the mantra of live and let live as much as humanly possibly.

I do agree though, that all ethics and general religious philosophies, theologies, etc. should be taught by parents before someone else teaches your children.  Because it is true that if you don’t teach them, then someone else will and who knows what they will teach them.  I think the author makes the mistake of assuming that by exposing our children to other religions that we are neglecting or refusing to teach our child our own faith. All we are doing is respecting their freedom to choose as we did once we reached adulthood.

My intention is to be a part of any introduction my child has to any other religious system. That way I can explain how it differs from my own and help them to find the answers to the questions that they may have after those experiences. It all comes down to parental involvement in the end. You can expose your children to other beliefs without alienating them from your own as long as you are involved in those experiences.

While I do believe that there is no true path, I do believe that all of us probably have at least something wrong with our faith in one way or another. At the end of the day everyone can’t be perfectly right, but none of us are going to know until its all over anyway, and that is something that we need to address with our children.  I do not however believe that it is ever appropriate to tell your children that Christianity is wrong, even with reasons, as the author proposes. I feel like this falls into the category of the pot calling the kettle black, or hypocrisy.

In the end, there is a very fine line between sharing your faith and indoctrination.   You have to be responsible in what you say to your children and I find the author’s statement on that subject very irresponsible. It all comes down to being able to explain why someone ( and in particular you) believes as they do, to your children. The author is right that they are going to come and ask and we owe them a valid argument for our faith if we want them to remain open to it, but we must choose our words very wisely. We must examine our motivations very carefully so that we do not end up crossing that line into indoctrination either.

Conclusion

There are many paths and many ways to practice this religion by ourselves and even with our children or families.  But we have to be ready to answer their questions when they arise and to be solid in our own beliefs so that we can do just that. We are the the educational force behind the future of our own faith, families, and beliefs.  We have to defend them without crossing the same lines that other churches or individuals have in other religions and that most likely others in our religion have already crossed.

It is up to us to provide the meat of our discussions so that our children fully understand why we do what we do, and those answers are within us now.  We have to avoid thin answers because that and political agendas appear to be what drove most of us first generation pagans into the fold. I know it was with me. I got tired of answers like the bible told me so, because I said so, and once again, my personal favorite, so you don’t go to hell.

If we want to build our foundation on that of the old and to continue to grow, we have to be able to answer these and many more questions.  We will help build the future. What kind of future do you want to build for your faith?

Blessed Be.