It’s that time of year again. I am currently washing a “2nd Page” costume for my 5 year old and trying to think what my 9 yr old has that could have been worn by the Dowager Dutchess, Lady Grantham from Downton Abbey, I kid you not.
Although our village school isn’t a faith school it always has to slip in that nativity scene into any Christmas show. The battle of the “Ickle Baby Jesus” has begun again.
In our house we take the stories of Jesus to be historical accounts of a very kind and wise teacher (see book link below, “Jesus Lived in India) and we talk about how stories like those in the Bible and stories from other cultures can teach us important lessons about life and how we should behave. We temper the almost constant stream of Christian teaching that comes from the school, along with smatterings of Islam and Judaism, with stories from our own faith path (mostly Norse and Greek) and other ancient cultures. We have been open from the very beginning with the school and our children that we are “different” and that although the religion they are taught about is rather popular, it isn’t ours. This has given us breathing room to explore both our own faith and the teachings they get at school.
All parents have a legal right to remove their child from RE lesson and religious assemblies (see this site for links to the legislation) and the PF can help and support you discussing and requesting this with your child’s school. However, this isn’t a decision to be taken in haste. Do you want to remove your child from his or her classmates and to mark them out as different? Do you want to give your child a broad knowledge of the major religions in the world as well as your own path?
How much to isolate our children from Christian teaching is one of the biggest decisions we, as Pagan Parents, have to make. However, it isn’t a forever decision. You may decide that at ages 4 or 5 you don’t want to confuse your child with too many different stories and viewpoints, but by 7 or 8 your child may be ready to filter the information for themselves and come home and discuss things with you. By 14 they may have decided that the faith of their parents is “lame” or some such nonsensical word, and be fascinated with the religion of their best friend. However their faith journey evolves the most important thing to think about, I believe, is whether your child is curious, compassionate and respectful.
I’d love to read your thoughts on this post, please leave me a comment below and let’s start a conversation on this.