Today he only had one short coughing fit, so I'm praying that he doesn't experience anymore tonight. Nope, he's having another one, and we just laid them down for night night. If it keeps up, we'll have to take him to the doctor this week. Poor baby. Doesn't help that I'm constantly flashing back to his time spent in the PICU, when he caught the rhino and corona virus' and almost died...
Speaking of prayer, I saw a question in a Facebook Pagan Parenting group about what age some start teaching their children to pray at, and it got me thinking.
I pray to my Deities and Spirits weekly, however my husband doesn't pray to his--it's just not his style. While I had thought about teaching them prayer, I don't know that I will...yet. I want them to discover the Gods they like on their own. Of course, we're raising our children Pagan, and they've already been introduced to our Gods and the Spirits (and we be reintroduced as they get older), and have been taught about some of the Weather Gods, and such, but I want them to discover their own connection. Wolfman knows about some of our Household Deities: Odin, Thor, Sister Moon, Hestia, and Kuan Yin; and the Spirits. If they want to pray to the Hestia, I want them to do so because they want to, not because it's who I pray to. Of course, they can if they want, I just don't want them to think they have to. That they're expected to, ya know?
Mommy prays, daddy doesn't, yet we're both devoted to our Gods and Spirits, and either way is okay. I mean, I also set up the shrines and give the offerings, which hubby didn't know that he wanted until I did so for Odin. Now he's all about finding the right shelf for his Patron. Even though I don't follow Odin, myself, I want the kids to see Him. To know of Him, too, same with my Deities and Spirits.
I mean, if the kids even believe in the Gods and Spirits, that is. Maybe they won't? However, they can still pray. Still have faith...in themselves, in humanity...if they want. I never want them to feel like they have to because it's what I do, or with any spiritual or magikal thing (if they follow the same paths). Now when they reach the maturity and want to becomes Witches, then yes, the basics will be a bit more by-the-book, but as they get a handle on those, then they'll be able to branch out and experiment. Find what works best for them, like I did. My practice used to be very rigid, because I was new and still learning, ya know? I mean, I'm still learning, but I also have a much better idea of what I'm doing, I mean, I got the basics down a long time ago!
Prayer aside, first things first, we have to get into the habit of reading to them before bed, in their room. Read them stories, poems, songs, and yes, some little generic prayers here and there, of Pagan/Practitioner backgrounds.
Here are some poems, chants, songs, and stories from The Pagan and Wiccan Parenting Page. Course I have more sources up in the Links tab (I haven't checked them in a while, so some may not work, I'll check it later).
My SIL, she and her husband go all out for their bedtime ritual: bath, religious song (dad plays acoustic guitar), story, prayer, then lights out. I doubt that we'll ever do all of that, but it's inspiring to say the least.
I can't wait until the boys become mature enough that they'll want to help mommy with some things, like smudging, simple protections spells, and maintaining the family shrine. Yes, the family shrine or altar. Most of the shrines are out of their reach, but I'm experimenting with putting a smaller one a little closer to their level. There's not much on it, but it's all toddler safe and unbreakable. Kept in the living room, as there's almost always an adult in this room to supervise. So far, so good. I know I'll still have to keep an eye on it, of course. I might buy it some cheap LED lights to represent candle flame. Might be good practice.
With the possibility of them building their own shrines or altars, I'm kind of excited about that. From a young age, even before Hestia came to me, I had set up my own little sacred spaces, made up of rocks--I was an avid collector of rocks when I was younger! Always looking for the most interesting rocks, especially river stones and fossils! Over the years, from kid to adult, I've collected some very interesting rocks from my explorations. I have shell and animal fossils, woods, arrow heads, corals, old tools, and even a fish carving. Oh, and so many river stones!
I made my little sacred spaces up of stones, other found gifts from natures, and favorite toys. Our boys love being outside, already, so I'm eager to see what they might collect, what shrines and altars they might build. I do plan on having a nature table, too--maybe make it like an Earth Shrine, or something dedicated to the seasons? Educational and spiritual.
My old shrine to Artemis and the Spirit Animals was more like a Nature Table, I displayed my found gifts and honor the Spirits and Deity who gave them. It'll be exciting to display it again and share it with my kids, for us to build it together.
Spirit Animal Shrine 2011
Artemis' Shrine from March 2015
Ah, it'll be awesome. Especially since I'll add education nature books, especially those to help us learn about the local natural world, and some tools, like magnifying glasses and other things. Growing up, I had the cheaper plastic sets for young explorers, it'll be fun to do the same for our children, too.
Do any of you have nature tables for your children? Perhaps their own sacred spaces for their found gifts?
Or perhaps you pray with your little ones?