Monday, February 10, 2014

The Problem with "Keeping the Peace"

Pagan Families posted this article about teaching children the different faiths that exists within many families:

The tag line reads as, "Can children grasp that people can hold wildly different beliefs, and that this is good? I absolutely believe they can, and here's how I taught my children".

Many adults don't give kids the credit that they deserve when it comes to understanding differences and things that some would consider "abnormal".  Children are intelligent in their own ways.  Try explaining homosexuality or gay marriage to a child, and they'll get it better than most adults.  Most of the time, they don't see anything wrong with it, or care....depending on how they've been taught or have observed.  

Same thing with different belief systems.  They'll get it easily, and tend to be accepting.  It's how they're taught that causes that negativity; and it's not always by adults, sometimes it's by other kids or teens.  The peer pressure, the taunting, the bullying.  However, who you were as a child changes as time passes.  

Most children have no problems with interfaith, however many adults do.  

Personally, I'm glad that I found a Pagan man.  The only "interfaith" we have is a difference in our individual brands of Paganism.  I don't know that I could be with a Christian, an Agnostic, or even an Atheist.  Belief can go from 0 to 60 in milliseconds; starting calm, then getting quite violent, as each party believes that their way is the right way.

Often I've read about Pagans who're involved in interfaith relationships.  Most of the time, they're fine, until children come into the picture.  Some can make it work, but others can't.  I've seen many a Pagan and Witch withdraw from teaching their children about their faith to keep the peace.  I think that's weak bullshit.  That's not compromise, sharing, respect, or love, that's giving up; giving in.  For a prideful woman like me, that wouldn't fly.  Course, we also talked things out when things started getting serious.  How will be raise our kids?  What about beliefs?  These are important question to ask each other BEFORE children come into the picture.  

Can you be with someone who sees your beliefs as foolish and make believe?  I can't.  I don't care how much I like them, if you can't accept all of me, I'll find someone who can.  There's plenty of fish in the sea.  No one's stopping me from sharing my beliefs with my children.  That's the bottom line.  I have every right to share them with my kids.

My husband is a Slacker Pagan, he's not as spiritual as I am, yet he still wants to instill the Nine Noble Virtues; I have no problem with that.  Cool.  The other day, I was showing Lycan how mommy stirs the pot--it's was kitchen witchery--and my husband joked, making fun of my family, "You teachin my son that devil craft?"  "You know it!"  

I know that most of the family that really matters--the ones who're going to be involved in our son's life the most--they don't care about our faith.  As long as we're respectful of each other, you know, it is what it is.  It's just another form of faith.  I'll share mine with my kids, you share yours with yours.  I'm fine with introducing my kids to their religion and spirituality, as long as boundaries are respected.  Don't force your beliefs on them.  Don't undermine mine.  Vice versa.  Simple.  

But...there are those who don't share that level of maturity.  I wish, in this case, it was the typical "SAVE YOUR SOUL" issue, but it's not.  The most crap I get is from my Agnostic mother.  And it's not even because she's Agnostic.  It's because she's shallow.  She cares more about how others will see her, than about the feelings of her own family.  

I love my mom, I really do, but she is something else.  I thought my pride was bad!  To her, Paganism is Harry Potter mumbo jumbo.  It's make believe.  Hell, she even had the audacity to disrespect the High Priestess at our handfasting 3 years ago!  If she was a Pastor, a Preacher, a Rabbi, or even a Father, my mom would never disrespected them.  But because it was a High Priestess of a Pagan faith, it was "okay" because it's not legit.  It's not real.

I've tried to talk to my mom about what I believe, and she ignores me.  Before--to keep the peace--I let her.  Why cause a wedge when we get along outside of belief systems?  

However, now, I have a child.  And she's already shown disrespect to how I'm raising him.  We celebrate sabbats, the seasons, our ancestors, and nature; and to her, that's foolish.  What will people think?  

She doesn't seem to understand that I don't give shit what people think.  This has been my faith since I was 8-years-old.  To me, she's the one who looks foolish.  To her, I'm punishing my child(ren) by forcing them into a world abnormality.  I'm dooming them to be bullied.  To her, no one will ever take them seriously.  They've never get into a good school, have friends, or have great career.  Because they'll be weird like their loser mother.

Nah, that's not what happening at all.  Yes, there will be times when they face adversity, but we're going to raise them to be strong, smart, and to know how to deal with bullies, be them other kids or adults.  Luckily, mommy knows from experience.

My faith didn't cause my present, my choices did.  If anything, my faith is helping me in learning from those mistakes.  I'm only nearly 30, I still have time to right my life and become a responsible adult.  I'm a responsible wife and mother.  That's proof enough to myself that I can get everything else on track.  

As I've learned with the Gender Biased fiasco, this isn't something I can just sweep under the rug to keep the peace.  This issue needs to be talked about before it becomes a problem.  It may still become problem in the future, but at least she can't say that I didn't try.  We'll cross that bridge when/if it comes. 

 I tried talking to her about the Gender Bias thing and she didn't listen.  It blew up when I made a general statement to all of our families on Facebook.  I'm trying to avoid that problem again.  I will not be silenced due to someone's pride.  I will not be bullied into someone else's beleifs.  I'm going to raise my children the way I want, and it'd be nice to not be undermined with them around.  How can I teach my children strength, if I bend to someone else's will?  I will not compromise.

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