Wednesday, May 6, 2015

[Guest Article: Phaedra] Raising Children with Religious Choices


A note from Witchy Words:  At the beginning of the year, I asked the circle I coordinate, Circle of Fountains, if they'd each like to do a guest article based on a topic that I might not be able to cover.  This is a great effort by my amazing circle to give you information that you might not otherwise encounter here at Witchy Words.  The following article is not written by me but another member of Circle of Fountains, with credit and notes about its author below.  Enjoy!



----------

Woohoo!
You're Going to Have a baby!

Process that first. Well, as much as you can. Now after you have swung back and forth about everything, you start thinking about faith. Bringing people into the world is an act of faith. If you are making one with your own body, helping your other half have one or adopting, you and your actions will teach your children how to deal with the world on all levels. Faith will get them and you through the hard times that everyone faces. For some couples, it is easy. They are both Baptist, Catholic, Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Islamic or even atheists. They follow their mutual religion's path for raising their children in their faith. While this may cause issues later if the kids start looking at other faiths or lose the one they were raised to follow, it can also be easier for the couples as they don't have to choose what faith to bring their child up as.

Then you have couples that come from different backgrounds. Everything from different branches of Christianity to standing at completely different ends of of the faith spectrum. Every couple has to figure out how to handle their differences in this case and in so many others. In a perfect world, when in comes to raising children, a couple will hopefully be on the same page.  Fortunately, my husband and I, despite being of different faiths, are! For the rest of this babble, I will share with all of you lovely readers how my husband and I are raising our children to make their own choices as they learn from both of us and the world around them.
             

Raising Children in an Interfaith Relationship:
Finding Common Ground

My husband was raised in a very Christian household. He still holds to the teaching of Christ, but is no longer an active member in any church, and does not agree with organized religion because of the scale it has reached. Larry answers questions when our children ask them but realizes that between his parents and our culture, they will get plenty of exposure to Christianity. He is content to support me in my efforts to help our children have faith in something larger than themselves.

As an eclectic Pagan, that is exactly what I want. I want my children to have faith in themselves, their family and particularly in something larger than themselves. All I can do, as their mother, is give them the tools to find their way. I believe in what I can see, weigh and measure and in an invisible world all around us. Deity can be seen and felt in our everyday lives. I want to teach my kiddos to accept such things. They need to require evidence but accept that somethings just are.  I don't mind whether they choose Larry's faith, my own or another path as they grow older as long as this is the cornerstone of their belief system.


Where to Begin Teaching Your Own Faith

Perhaps the biggest obstacle my husband and I have faced, however, is how to teach our children our beliefs when we have believed and practiced our separate faiths long enough that we no longer consciously think about what we are doing. Obviously, this does not work when trying to teach children. I've had to force myself to look at my beliefs more simply, to sit down and reread my books and get new ones so I could start plotting just out how to teach my kids.  All of my research has led me to one conclusion and the best advice I can give to new parents of any faith:  Go back to your beginning. When you heard the call of your deity or when you officially decided to denounce deity or perhaps when you first learned of your faith.  Start simple and explain everything.

Not only has this realization helped me so much in teaching my own children, but even I have rediscovered aspects of my path and faith I had forgotten!


Take it Slowly

Finally, remember that you have their entire childhood and adult lives to instill in them the lessons you've learned through your faith.  They seem to grow up so fast in retrospect, but there are still 365 days to every year and 18 years until they're legally an adult.  Don't overwhelm them and certainly don't force the teachings on them.  That's a sure way to make your child hate religion altogether.  Slow and steady wins the race just as it gently instills in your child a sense of faith and happiness!

Thank you for reading and best of luck with your little ones!

----------


The Nutritionist who manages potlucks and food allergies for Circle of Fountains, Phaedra is a wonderful wife and mother of three beautiful children.  Transplanted from Texas to Oklahoma, then Oklahoma to Kansas City, she adores ballet and fandoms like Doctor Who and Hello Kitty, but absolutely nothing comes before family.  Phaedra is working on developing a blog of her own soon!

5 comments:

  1. This is a great article! I have been wondering about this, my son just turned six and has had questions about faith and religion. Just like you, I'm an eclectic pagan and my husband is a non going Christian. So we have struggled a bit figuring out how to answer our sons questions. This article makes perfect since! So than you very much! This will def help in our very near future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure Phaedra truly appreciates your kind comment! She's the resident mom/family person of the circle, so who better to talk about this subject? Good luck to you and your family!

      Delete
    2. Woot! Someone in the same boat. I have discovered that public, group rituals seem to really click with the kids.
      Hope it does help and thanks for reading.

      Delete
  2. So glad to see people finally approaching this subject. My daughter is seven years old, and my parents started trying to get her indoctrinated into the church. It forced my hand a bit, because she looks up to them so much, well, they HAVE to be right, right?

    Seven years old, and I had to teach her that, in some areas, adults don't always know what they're talking about, no matter how much we try to convince our kids that we do. Seven years old, and I had to teach her that what's right for the adults in her life may not be right for her. *breathes* Seven years old and I'm teaching her lessons I didn't learn until I learned them on my own when I was almost 20.

    Raising religious kids is one thing - you have books, doctrine, social acceptance. Raising spiritual kids is an entirely different sport. It's like... bowling vs. rugby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely understand. Having to explain to your kids that their awesome grandparents have beliefs, not certainties. Then having to explain the difference.
      I like the comparison....bowling vs rugby.
      Glad you enjoyed the article.
      Thanks.

      Delete