Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pagan Parenting: Spiritual Responsibility

 This is a piece I wrote three years ago for a newsletter:

Don't bug me, I'm reading the

On the surface there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between parenting and pagan parenting. However, pagan parenting, like all spiritual-based parenting techniques, takes into account a larger picture than most parenting styles encompass. Pagan parenting or spiritual parenting takes into account the effects of, and on, the soul.

As I write this, I am reminded of two things. The first is my son's behavior this morning. He's two now, so you can imagine how much FUN he can be, and by fun I mean a royal pain. He doesn't like to leave in the morning, so getting to work on time (or even close to it) is virtually impossible. He's also getting potty trained right now, so I get to spend a lot of time cleaning up messes.

The thing is, I'm always getting advice from my own parents, often accompanied by information that I know is unsafe or a negative influence. If I say so, the response is something like "we did this and you're still alive". Okay, but I don't want my son to just survive, I want him to thrive! Big difference in result, not much difference in effort.

The second thing I'm reminded of is my decision. As a single mother, I had to think (for a whole five seconds) about whether to continue down the path of motherhood. I never wanted to be a parent, but when it happened, well, it was destined to be. But I refused to enter into this adventure lightly. I spent hours and hours thinking about my responsibilities to this new life I had created.

One of the big things I pondered was that I was making the choice, not my son. That makes his life my responsibility, that makes his growth and development my burden, or purpose. How he turns out is a direct result of how I embark on this journey. His soul is as much mine to care for as is his body. Talk about stress!

Yeah, I had some doubts as to whether I could handle that kind of responsibility. But I had an advantage over my own and many other parents - I know what my purpose, my responsibility, to my son includes. Heck, I even have a vague idea of how I can live up to this responsibility.

Internet research...
become an expert on ANYTHING!
So, I spent the next 10 months (yeah, he was twice-baked) doing research. Number one subject was child development information. In other words, if I expect certain behavior from my son, is it age-appropriate, or will I just end up punishing him for behaving the way he is built to behave?

Seems like a no-big-deal kind of thing, right? Well, what happens when someone tells you that you are too loud, too happy, too shy, etc.? Aren't they punishing you for being you? Is that fair of them? How does it make you feel? Wouldn't it be nice if they just accepted you for you? Don't your children deserve the same?

Number two subject was psychological development, beyond the norm. It's called trans-personal psychology. It explains what the difference is between being functional in life and being one of the greats. If I can help my child achieve that level of self-confidence and generosity of heart, why wouldn't I?

Number three subject was more of an introspection. Taking all of the information that I had learned, I applied it to my own beliefs on spirituality.Then I had to try to figure out how to pass on my beliefs to my son while keeping the spirit of his psychological and mental development. Fortunately, they mesh well together into a single concept: RESPECT.

So, I'm on my journey, teaching my son to respect others, respect the earth, and respect the devine as an individual and within others. Meanwhile, I am also teaching him to respect himself (a hallmark of a healthy self-esteem) by respecting him from birth.

This doesn't mean that he gets away with everything or runs the show. But I do listen to him and explain to him (in age-appropriate language and concepts) why he doesn't get his way. I also keep in mind that he deserves to be treated with a certain amount of honor, as well as respect. I wouldn't spank my friend, or even an unliked co-worker, for doing something "wrong", so why would I spank my son? I teach him that we use towels and cloth diapers so we don't have so much trash. I explain to him that daycare is where he needs to go so that I can go to work (and I HAVE to go to work!).

These are some of my choices. I recommend that each parent or parent-to-be get educated on different parenting techniques. There are so many good ideas in virtually all parenting styles. And the more you know about how things can be done, the better you can decide what should be done. And really, that's the only thing a parent really can do.

1 comment:

  1. Would love to read a follow up now that he is 5 and you have a second kidlet.