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Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 27 Jan 2011, 13:12
by willow myst
Hi All

I just thought I would sound out other Druid parents and find out about peoples feelings on involving children in Druid life. My kids have gone to druid and pagan gatherings where they are catered for, activities, watching or joining in with rituals, child size portions in the catering tents but more and more I am finding myself sidelined because of my children and my wish for them to accompany me. I understand that during times when there are meditations or grade work then having children present is not practical but over the last few years I have come accross various negative attitudes from you can bring children but they must be kept silent, to they can attend the seasonal ritual but must sit outside the circle, to rituals are not suitable for children at all and should be left at home. If we celebrate the turning of the wheel and the changing seasons, if we mark the 8 festivals a year then shouldn't we include our children and teach them our path (along with an understanding of other spiritualalities)? I found Druidry in my 30's and found it very hard and at times embarrasing when I did not even know the basics yet wanted to participate in the festivals. How do other parents do this? I find I am being forced into being a solitary druid against my wishes and am beginning to doubt myself and my parenting skills. Surely there must be a way to include and welcome children in at least the 8 annual rituals we have?

Oops having read that back, some of that sounded like a moan but thanks for listening anyway and I really would welcome your opinions.

BB
Willow Myst

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 27 Jan 2011, 17:38
by Huathe
If she was so interested, I would include my daughter in my practices. Maybe I need to forward it to her more. :where:

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 28 Jan 2011, 06:54
by illion
Hello, willow myst.

I am a solitary practitioner of some sort of druidry, I'm 36 years old and have a son aged 5. I also work in a kindergarten, so I meet alot of small children all of the time, and I think I know a little bit about how they behave and what you can expect of children from 0-6 years old.

The attention span of children this age isn't that long. They will probably have problems with keeping quiet under meditations and rituals if it doesn't capture them in a special way. So, if you are going to bring children to such events, then you have to know that they will probably lose focus and run around and you will probably get disturbed during these years until they get old enough to be able to sit still for a longer time period.

As I said, I am solitary, so I don't have any experience with the gatherings and events and how child friendly they are, but I like the thought of bringing children with us in everything we do. The children should have their place in such a gathering in one way or the other.

I practice my druidry in a private manner, as a lifestyle, and I try to enroll my son in my day to day activities as much as I can. When I work with the OBOD course I usually do this after he has gone to bed for the night or while he is at his grannys house or somewhere else. The markings of the festivals are done in a child friendly way, we focus more on activities that he can join and find interesting, and don't plan on meditations and rituals that he can't follow, because that would ruin the experience for all of us.

How old are your children?

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 28 Jan 2011, 12:49
by Serpentia
Interesting, just last week I had some communications with the office regarding my 15year old son studying my Bardic Gwersi now and the lack of material for youth..

I can't really say anything on this topic, though.. having been a Pagan/Wiccan since before my kids were born into that kind of household, I would have to ask "How do you manage NOT to involve them?". I mean, my kids sure didn't spend hours in high ritual or magic circles, neither did they spend hours in meditation instead of playing outside, but... if spirituality is in the "how" instead of the "what" of what I do and the way I live, then every question they ask is answered in that spirit, with that essence behind it. All of my life's choices are influenced by it.. how not my children?

I think maybe less thought and more gut reaction is called for.. in true OBOD spirit, involve them as much as it feels right, in accordance with their age and keeping in mind that they will of course tell their teacher one day about their parents "talking to trees".. maybe we need prep courses to be ready for that, instead?

Serpentia
pagan mom before pagan parenting was invented...

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 30 Jan 2011, 13:50
by willow myst
My children are now 16, 14 and 9 but were younger when I started on this path. I involve them at home because you are right it is a lifestyle so how can you not. They took part in the house cleansing and blessing when we moved and join in with activities on the full moon, we usually light a fire and tell stories or poems, they have also joined in with rituals that we have done at home for the festivals. It is their choice to join in and I would never object if they felt it was not for them. It is just when you come to practising with other people that I find I have problems.

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 30 Jan 2011, 20:21
by Huathe
My daughter Sarah is fourteen.

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 15 Jul 2011, 17:47
by athelia143
willow myst wrote:Hi All

I understand that during times when there are meditations or grade work then having children present is not practical but over the last few years I have come accross various negative attitudes from you can bring children but they must be kept silent, to they can attend the seasonal ritual but must sit outside the circle, to rituals are not suitable for children at all and should be left at home. If we celebrate the turning of the wheel and the changing seasons, if we mark the 8 festivals a year then shouldn't we include our children and teach them our path (along with an understanding of other spiritualalities)?
Oops having read that back, some of that sounded like a moan but thanks for listening anyway and I really would welcome your opinions.

BB
Willow Myst
Hi WillowMyst,

I am not a parent, but I am a co-organizer of a festival in my locale. Just this past month, we held our annual Druid Gathering and we had our usual *one* ritual done by a guest that we had brought in. The ritual was very complicated, long and was partly done in a language that not many people know. It was well done, but I have always been an advocate for hospitality to all and I found out later that some people who had children were told that they could not bring their children to the ritual because it had to be *just so*.

This bothered me because the whole point of our Gathering is to be hospitable and open to all. We try and ensure that we have lots of activities for children and accommodate any allergies that they might have when it comes to meals. The fact that people were told they couldn't bring their children to our seasonal ritual violates that very principle, IMO.

As someone who often leads seasonal rituals, I have always ensured that those rituals I conduct are not too long, celebratory (fun) and family-friendly, while still providing a meaningful spiritual experience. (At least, that's what I am trying to do) I believe strongly in a Path of Service that involves Service to the Community... meaning all of the people in that community, especially the children who are learning our spirituality.

One thing I seem to find in almost every neo-Pagan tradition is that there is a huge focus on the theatrics of a seasonal ritual and not so much on the people attending. Seasonal rituals for some folks must be long, complex, full of theatrics and kids would just "get in the way". Why do they *all* need to be that way? What is wrong with hosting a seasonal ritual that can be enjoyed by the whole family? I understand that certain traditions require levels of secrecy and intensity in their rituals. Most of the modern Druid traditions that I belong to and have encountered believe that seasonal rituals (at the very least) should be open to all.

I believe that as ritual leaders, particularly as Druid ritual leaders, we are providing a service to the people as well as to the Divine (however one might see that), the Spirit and Nature. At festivals and such, we should be tailoring our seasonal or general rituals in a manner that includes everyone by using what I call my magic foruma for family-friendly rituals: short, celebratory and meaningful.

That said, I do believe that there are also approriate times and places for the family friendly rituals and the ones that are more complex and intense (journeying, initiations or healing rituals). Some rituals are just not meant for everyone and I get that. Seasonal rituals, in my opinion, should be enjoyed by all, since they are times that affect all people and they are times to celebrate life.

I'm looking forward to next year's gathering when our grove performs the seasonal ritual. It will be fun and I hope to involve the kids as much as possible! :)

Athelia /|\

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 15 Jul 2011, 18:12
by Heddwen
Sometimes the mix can be acheived by holding a separate child friendly activity in the daytime and the ritual proper in the evening eg. at Samhain. I find that any large ceremony turns into a performance and hence loses some of the magic. Saying all that the OBOD public rites tend to get the balance right and are extremely family friendly

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 15 Jul 2011, 18:37
by willow myst
Athelia, I think you have said things perfectly and echo my thoughts much more elequently than I can. Some of the rituals such as initiations can be more focused so involving children would be inappropriate but I want to celebrate the seasonal rituals with my children, to share the feeling of joy and fullfillment with them. Even if they decide not to follow my spiritual path I would like them to notice and appreciate the cycle of the year and the focus points within that year.

I think family friendy rituals for the 8 festivals are a need and can still be meaningful and spiritual.

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 17 Aug 2011, 11:40
by Mole
My Daughter is 15 next week and has been brought up to appreciate everyones beliefs and given the space to find her own path, she has decided that next year at 16 she wants to join OBOD and begin the Bardic grade :yay:

When she was smaller I would sit and explain the seasonal festivals to her and read her short tales. As she got older we would have a simple ceremony, sometimes just a candle and some thoughts or prayers and try to find things from different faiths and cultures so she understood how everyone celebrated these special times.

She now attends the local grove ceremonies and also some Wiccan ceremonies that a friend holds (she prefers the Druid ceremonies :D ). She meditates regularly and has done some journeying and is very comfortable with it.

As she has grown up with a Druid mum she is very mature about the things she does and isn't just trying to shock people with her behaviour (I knew people who became 'pagan' to upset parents :roll: )

After all that waffling, I think that part of the solution is to let them grow with the community that they are part of, be it Druid or whatever. We are all part of many communities in life and need to learn the skills of each as we grow within them. It's not always the age either it's the level of sensibility, as parents we know our children and their limits (often better than they do :grin: )

Take care all

Blessings
Mole xx

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 23 Sep 2011, 18:08
by Duellist
The grove my wife and I used to attend (the Catuvellauni in and around the Luton area) were very good for children. From the time my daughter could walk, she could join in to one degree or another. The spectacle never seemed more important than the event, which is probably the secret; we chanted and sang, but we never felt like everything had to be perfect.]

I have always subscribed to the Ogg / Weatherwax theory of ritual though; the details are less important than the reasons.

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 26 Sep 2011, 05:22
by Skogsvandrare
As a druidish wiccan rather than a "proper" druid... I generally do not involve my children in actual religious stuff, but definitely in the ethics and way of doing things bit. And I try to do combat at all times against all the strange stuff they hear about in school, like people claiming that there being only one god (*seriously* strange notion, that).

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 26 Sep 2011, 18:47
by Astrid
Skogsvandrare wrote:As a druidish wiccan rather than a "proper" druid... I generally do not involve my children in actual religious stuff, but definitely in the ethics and way of doing things bit. And I try to do combat at all times against all the strange stuff they hear about in school, like people claiming that there being only one god (*seriously* strange notion, that).
HA HA you saved my evening with that one - truly strange notion :D

Re: Involving Children in Druid Living

Posted: 26 Sep 2011, 18:59
by Reyna
Duellist wrote:I have always subscribed to the Ogg / Weatherwax theory of ritual though; the details are less important than the reasons.
+10000