As with other spiritually liberal parents, Pagans encourage their kids to explore many faiths so that they can choose one that fits them best.
Pagans, above all, understand the value of religious freedom, and encourage their kids to research many faiths before choosing to practice one. In addition to this many Pagans teach their kids to value nature, to welcome diversity, and to understand their family's Pagan spirituality and practices. Naturally these themes will vary in importance to a particular family, but to some degree you will usually find all four keys to Pagan Parenting.
Pagans tend to be very liberal, accepting, inclusive people. Many strive raise their children with gender equality, teaching that girls and boys are equal. Pagans value religious freedom and are accepting of other people's faiths, even if they disagree. Pagans actively teach their kids to embrace cultural diversity and are commonly accepting of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community. Pagans feel that just as there are many Gods and Goddesses so too are there many different people. Simply by looking at nature, it's obvious to Pagans that the divine loves diversity. The Teaching Tolerance website has many excellent resources on anti-bias education for interested parents.
As apart of a young person's upbringing, Pagans help their children to explore many faiths and explore spiritual questions. Studying world religions and even visiting different houses of worship are a common occurrence in Pagan families. Being religiously literate, so that a youth can make an informed decision about what they believe is important to Pagans. Religious literacy also helps Pagans understand other faiths to foster tolerance and acceptance. Unlike other faiths, Pagans do not seek to convert others, not even their own children. Books, such as Sacred Myths: Stories of World Religions by Marilyn McFarlane, can be helpful in teaching religious literacy.
While not all Pagans practice an "Earth Based Spirituality" most have a deep respect, if not reverence for nature and actively teach their kids that "Earth Day is Everyday". Living a "green" lifestyle is common among Pagans. Some families recycle, drive a hybrid vehicle, eat organic food, use cloth diapers, or are vegetarian or vegan. A growing number of Pagan families strive for a sustainable life style and may grow their own organic vegetables, raise livestock for meat, hunt, fish, or live off the grid using wind or solar power. There are many ways to live a greener life, and there is a great variety in the Pagan community as to how the desire to live in peace with nature is expressed.
Last, some Pagans do teach their children about their Pagan traditions, though some do not for fear that their children may become targets for religious discrimination. Most parents do not require their kids to participate in their particular Pagan faith (there are many different types of Pagans), but beliefs are discussed, and children are invited to celebrate their holidays in age appropriate ways. There are several Pagan parenting books available with celebration ideas, sacred stories, crafts and chants for the eight Wiccan holidays. Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddesss Traditions by Starhawk is a very popular guide to Pagan parenting. Another resource for Wiccans and other Witches is Pooka's Pages, a free magazine by Lora Craig-Gaddis.
These four general themes are common, but by no means is there a set standard or doctrine to Pagan parenting. Every family is a little different and will place more or less emphasis on any of the four values. Pagan parenting tends to be very liberal, encouraging respect for all peoples, their right to their faith, and an active respect for nature. Most of all Pagan parents want to give their kids the freedom to choose a satisfying spiritual path that fits them well, guides them to grow spiritually and makes them excited to apart of this beautiful world.
The copyright of the article The Four Keys of Pagan Parenting in Paganism/Wicca is owned by Elizabeth La Posta. Permission to republish The Four Keys of Pagan Parenting in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.
Elizabeth La Posta