Article by K.M. Spires, Lady of the Hall, of Hridgar Folk – reprinted with permission. Although written for a Heathen audience, PNC believes this article to be of value to Pagan and other polytheist parents.
Very few modern Heathens can honestly claim they were born and raised in the religion. At some point, the majority of us made the conscious decision to become Heathen, even though we knew how we would be viewed by the general population. We didn’t care, we were following our hearts and doing what we knew was right. Most of us would do the same all over again.
The same can’t be said for our children. They’ve grown up praying to the gods, their ancestors, and gifting the spirits of the land. They take it for granted. They’ve probably never set foot in a church, barring the occasional wedding or funeral. They eagerly await Yule and Ostara every year. They are clueless when someone mentions Noah’s ark, but yell, “Hail Thor!” every time they hear thunder.
As much as it warms our hearts that our kids have the opportunity to grow up in our folkway, we can’t forget that they live in a far different world than we do. They have some very perilous territory to navigate, and holding beliefs that are different from the majority make it that much harder.
I’m referring, of course, to grade school.
Most of us remember all too well what it was like to be a kid. How was ‘the fat kid’ in class treated? How about the kid whose dad was in jail? What about the quiet, smart kid that liked to sit under a tree and read during recess rather than play on the swings? Perhaps you were one of the ‘different’ kids, and can remember firsthand how insecure classmates treated anyone that broke the mold.
If you’re raising your child Heathen, you’ve placed them in that group of children that stand apart. This is nothing to be ashamed of, but know going in that your kids are going to encounter problems. They’ll be called ‘weird,’ ‘freak,’ or the ever-popular ‘devil-worshipper.’
Then again, having an ‘alternative’ religion may not be a big deal where you live. Perhaps you’re from a place where many different cultures have settled close together, like a metropolitan area or a military base. These places, where children of varied religious backgrounds learn to play and get along together, aren’t common. Most of the country still holds Christian values.