13 Pagan Lessons for Toddlers

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13 Pagan Lessons for Toddlers

Post  Admin on 11/28/2008, 9:09 pm

13 Pagan Lessons for Toddlers

by Ruthee

I have a toddler who is a tree-hugger. I

am not kidding. Her very first word was

tree.

My family is blessed with two children –

an 11 year-old and the tree-hugging

toddler. I want very much for my

children to be Pagans. However, I am

fairly resigned to the fact that my 11

year old might not be and that is ok with

me (well, sort of but she is her own

person). I want to teach them things

about Paganism, nature and the cycle of

the Wheel that they will enjoy and

embrace and not feel constrained to a

religious path that they do not wish to be

on.

Each of us has specifics about Paganism that is important to us. I

have a dear friend, who is really a rather mild person. When she sees

complete strangers throw cigarette butts out of their car windows, she

turns into this banshee, threatening to burn their eyes out. Although

her young son does not see this behaviour, this is a truth of who she

is and what she deems important. Her love of nature, garden and

ground is something that she does translate to her child. He will be

the most Reclaiming toddler I have ever seen.

Below you will find my list of 13 things I want to teach my toddler over

the next year.

1. Respect for fire: My toddler loves candles and enjoys watching

me light them and blow them out. But we all know that fire is no joke

and I want her to understand that as well. I also want her to

understand fire in Pagan terms of release, transformation, change –

when she is a wee bit older.

2. Respect for nature: This includes the trees, grass, flowers,

water, dirt, rocks, bugs and just about anything in between that I have

not listed. Respect for nature, especially animals and bugs, is a

learned behaviour. The lessons in respect for nature will be the

stepping stones to creating a new generation of environmentally

aware kids.

3. Respect for others: This is right in line with respect for Nature.

Whether you live in a large city or a small town, in a suburban area or

in the country, it is a good habit to smile and say hello to people you

encounter, especially older people. This is a habit of mine and my

daughter asked me once why I did this. I didn’t have an answer other

than to be kind to people around me. She started doing the same

about a year ago.

4. Picking up trash: My older daughter has seen me pick up trash

since we lived on Fort Bragg 7 years ago. She has heard me rail out

at people who throw things out of their windows in the car. She sees

me pick up bits and pieces wherever we are. She sees me throw

trash in trashcans when we are in public at parks. These lessons are

important. These are really habits more than anything….and a good

habit to get your children into.

5. Involve your children in sabbats: I don’t care how you do it. I

don’t care if you are solitary or part of a community. You have to

involve your children in the sabbats, some way or another. Making

the sabbats part of family celebration is one of the ways the sabbats

will stick out in the child’s memory as family traditions. Mark the day

in some fashion. Some family traditions include celebrating the

sabbat for 7 or more days prior to the sabbat itself. This has a nice

way of really imprinting the sabbat on little minds.

6. Involve your child in esbats: I do a very simple esbat from

Circle Round. Zoe, the toddler, has started to follow me around and

such during the blessing of the home. What I hope is that by the time

she is 4 or so, she will be able to do the small chant in the esbat and

be more participant in the ritual. Like with the sabbats, by doing these

rituals, they will become more rote and expected than unusual.

7. Read mythos to your toddler: The libraries are chock-full of

wonderfully illustrated mythology for children (and adults, too). Start a

book list of mythology that illustrates your path, a sabbat (harvest,

midsummer, etc.) or focuses on Moon Goddesses or Gods. Read

these over and over and add some to your own family library.

Mythology fascinates children of all ages and is a wonderful tool for

teaching Pagan ideas.

8. Talk about Gods and Goddesses: When children are younger,

it is usually a better idea to talk about the deities in the sense of them

being ‘real’ people like in mythos, rather than archetypes. Obviously,

the idea of archetypes is a little above the average child’s mind. One

concept to push is the balance of male and female in deity. Ask

children to draw pictures of various deities you have read about or

talked about. Have a child pick a favourite and ask them why.

9. Chanting and Rhythm: The chants from the accompanying CD

to Circle Round is fantastic for use with young children. The rhythms

are enchanting and children love to move and dance to them. Some

of the chants are so simple that younger children can follow along

with them. Many adults know how spiritual chanting can be – and the

same is said for children, if not more. Their acute sensitivity and

enjoyment of music is something many adults do not have.

10. Show them nature: My toddler loves the moon. We recently

moved to a quiet neighborhood where the stars and moon are much

more visible than our previous abode. I took Zoe out one night to look

at the moon, and pointed up to it. As her eyes followed my pointed

finger, she saw the moon and her eyes became huge. Since then,

she wants to go out looking for the moon alllllll the time. Although she

is too young to understand the Moon’s cycles, she does understand

where the moon is. Trees, grass, flowers, anthills, spider webs….all

these things are nature. Exploration is a good way to find out your

child’s particular interest in nature and help to nurture it.

11. Seasonal produce: Using the seasons to talk about what is

grown during that time is a good habit. Harvest, planting, etc. are

things to talk about. Visit local gardens, farms or other growing areas.

Explain how grapes become raisins. Buy produce at farmer’s

markets. Begin to eat more closely grown items to learn true

seasonal foods.

12. Show them how to grow things: Growing simple beans in

cups is a place to start. Growing a garden, big or small is also a good

idea. Show them your compost heap. Involve them in dumping

scraps in your compost heap. Let the child water plants with you.

Show them dead flowers on a plant, new buds and new growth.

Explain that plants need water and sun and attention.

13. Show the child how to wrap up a growing season: Explain

how to make the produce last from a garden – canning, drying,

freezing, etc. Explain why we till under dead plants. Explain the

death cycle of gardening and apply it to the Wheel of the Year.

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