I’ve always intended on raising my children pagan, and over the past two years, as I’ve been putting that desire into practice, for the most part, it has not been a conscious effort. There are a few things that I try to teach my daughter, and a few things that I specifically explain to her, but mostly it is just involving her, and being surprised at how much she picks up. I walk my path unashamedly, and so she see all the little parts of my life where my faith and my practice are incorporated. Toddlers are sponges.
She sees me pray each morning, and now fairly consistently asks “Mommy, pray?” So we pray together when she asks. I call out to Hestia and light her flame and some incense, and then we say “Yay, Hestia!” I’ve started adding in a super short prayer to the Three Kindreds and showing her how to make an offering of grain. For her, it’s still mostly about getting to take a handful of stuff and dump it out, but she’s learning: now she waits while I speak, grain in one hand, and both hands cupped up to the sky like me, and then puts it in the bowl when I’m done speaking and we say “Yay, Kindreds!” Recently I’ve been teaching her some common phrasing we use in our grove. She can say “Good Fire” when you ask her how we pray. When you ask her who guides us, she’ll say “Garanus.”
She watches me when I do full COoR rites, and mimics my motions. Not only does she put her arms down for the Ancestors, out for the Nature Spirits, and up for the Shining Ones, she also mimics my spiraling motions when I open and close the Gates. This was most obvious when I was holding her during our Samhain ritual last year, and she made the motions with me as I opened the Gates.
She has started breathing with me during meditation. I’ve been trying to incorporate it into our bedtime routine. We “sit quiet” and breathe. It’s kind of cute, since she knows we’re breathing, and so she breathes in really loud, and then blows out. She’s made it about as long as a minute, though more often it’s around 30 sec, so we’re working on it.
There are other aspects to my path and my practice. I play guitar and music is important to me on a spiritual level. She watches me play guitar, and I’ve been encouraging her to drum along with me. I plan on getting her a ukulele in the near future so that she can play with me on an instrument that will grow with her.
Being outside and reveling in nature is important to me as well, so when we go on walks, and she gifts me with leaves, and pinecones, and rocks, and bits of flowers and grass, I take interest in those, and sometimes we talk about how it’s important to thank nature for giving us those gifts. We watch the rain and look at ponds and jump in puddles. We watch the clouds and how the sun reflects off them, and sometimes she’s up with me to watch the sun come up and pray to Ushas. She pets trees and says “Nice tree.” Nature is good; nature is very good.
So, in raising a pagan kid, for me, it’s mostly about involving her in my practice wherever I can, and when she shows speicifc interest, deliberately welcoming her in. It makes her happy to be involved and valued in things that are important to our family, and teaches her this practice and way of life. And it makes me happy to have a child who is interested in what I value, and happy to take part in these aspects of our life.