Should Children Remain in the Broom Closet?
I am certain that I am raising my children in the way that is most beneficial for them. I believe that children need to be taught spirituality from a young age and it should be the same beliefs that are held in their home; for us that spirituality is Eclectic Wicca. We practice our faith daily and interact openly with other pagans within our community. I am “out of the broom closet” as I run a home based business that is centered around our beliefs. My children are aware of what I do and will speak about “Mommy’s Tarot Reading business” as easily as their peers speak of their parents’ careers. My children do so without exaggeration, without the spectacular descriptions one might expect them to use when describing Hollywood magic. Instead they discuss it in the same terms that they would discuss what a teacher or a doctor does in their respective jobs; for them there is no difference between the magickal and the mundane.
I do not force any spiritual path on my children. It is something that just ‘is’ in our home. Wicca, because of its nature, cannot be forced taught. Unlike many other religions we have no threats to make nor do we have punishments to promise. Our spirituality embraces respect for life and the sacred being that resides within every living creature. In respecting our children’s sacred self, we respect the God/dess. Our beliefs embrace accountability for one’s actions and mistakes however, these things do not make us unlovable to deity. Wicca is a way of living. It is our moral code which incorporates virtues I wish to instill in my children. Virtues such as: balance, creativity, empathy, honesty, modesty, open-mindedness, perseverance and respect.
I encourage my children to be respectful of other’s beliefs and to understand that there is more than one way to worship the God/dess. No one way is ‘the right way’ nor ‘the only way’. Not even our way. Because of this my children will occasionally attend a Christian Service or an Event with their biological father and his girlfriend. My eight year old daughter has attended Sunday school at their Church. I embrace these insistences for they open the door to different points of view for my daughter. After attending she will often ask questions and come to new understandings concerning deity on her own. My twelve year old son will engage in discussion with my husband and me about Jesus Christ after going to a Christian Service. He clearly contemplates new ideas and concepts after a meaningful spiritual conversation with us.
I never want my children to be ashamed of our spiritual path so I do not encourage them to be silent nor do I encourage them to boast. I imagine that some fellow Wiccans might argue against my thoughts quoting the Witch’s Pyramid to “Keep Silent”. While I embrace The Witch’s Pyramid as well, I don’t see this particular tenet applying to our situation. It is my belief that this point of the pentacle discusses: how a witch should never boast or brag about what magicks s/he has done, will think before speaking, will not intentionally harm others with her/his words, will never gossip nor disclose where or what took place inside a Magick Circle. These ideas are important and I teach them to my children as we travel the Wiccan path together however, I do not feel that “keeping silent” about our spirituality benefits them. This doesn’t mean my point of view will never change.
We live on the East Coast in a state that has liberal views when it comes to religion. I haven’t encountered many negative interactions with people when they find out I am Wiccan. Instead I find people are curious and will share bits of information they came across from others asking if it is valid or fiction. I am not afraid of ridicule or bigotry against myself or my children because of our spirituality. I would consider my children to be “out of the broom closet”. My son last year did a school project on Wicca for his social studies class when they covered world religions. He answered questions thoughtfully, intelligently and without fear.
My daughter who attends first grade at the local public elementary school will often have friends over to play. When she is questioned she will comfortably and easily explain what each item on our altar represents or why there are candles and incense burning. She is quick to stop a neighborhood child from stepping on a snail in our yard explaining that it is Mommy’s friend and the Goddess will be unhappy if they were to kill it.
Is our way the correct way for all Wiccan families? No. I would never claim that to be so. Should all children be so open about their spiritual path? The answer to that is for each set of parents to consider. For us, for now … this is what works best. Bright Blessings!