Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Trials of Raising a Pagan Child

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 8:36 AM 0 comments
So my little bit is at that age where she wants to have friends and hang out with them at b-day parties and friends houses. Well as a pagan living in a pretty christian community how do we go about being comfortable in letting kids come to your home and letting the parents know that your area of worship is visible in the home, and not scare them off. Am I rambling!!!! This has been a very challenging year for socialization. Before 6 kids are pretty happy staying home or just going to dance class or whatever sport they might like. But after 6, Friends become their lifeline. They need to interact with kids of their own age.

Little bit and I go to a homeschool co-op once a week and she's found several friends whom she adores. She talks about them constantly and would love to see them daily. Same day we do girl scouts.She's also found some really nice friends there. Living in the south sometimes ppl don't understand what pagan is. So what do we tell them. Do we try to just hide our religion and don't speak of it, or do we tell them and pray for the best. I'm still trying to figure this one out. Any suggestions!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Head on over

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 8:32 AM 0 comments
Head on over to mrs.B's page for some great Halloween Giveaways! Gotta love Mrs.B's 31 days of Halloween.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home Schooling

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 11:05 AM 0 comments
When people think about Home Schooling most people think about the Christian side of it. Well we Wiccans have our own side of the story. We embrace differences and want our children to think for themselves versus us telling them how to think. Teaching our children to question everything their taught in the mainstream. Such as the Wicked Witch look. I've heard many stories of pagan children tell their parents that's not how mommy or daddy look.

Home Schooling isn't for everyone though at the same time. We are lucky that we work varying shifts so I'm home during the day to cover my subjects that I teach and my husband is home to teach his subjects.

There is also the stigma that Home Schooled children are shy and not outgoing. This is a total myth. We usually are so busy there is no time to be shy. This is our second year of Home Schooling our youngest daughter. She is quite talkative and probably is adhd or add. It runs on both sides of the family. This to us is an advantage. Because in one conversation we can cover a myriad of subjects.

There are also many different ways to teach a child. There is the old standby of doing school at home, Co-Ops where people get together to teach children on certain subjects, or do a virtual school. Also there is the private school option where you only need to keep attendance records or whatever the school needs you to do.Unschooling is also very popular. Where you teach your kids just by being with them. They learn thru everyday experiences.

Our approach is half and half. We do alot of traditional schooling but at the same time we find education in daily chores and outings. Field trips are great places to learn. A day at Sea World is an adventure in marine life. And learning about the ecology of the ocean. A day at Disney could be used for higher level math to calculate the speed and velocity of how fast a coaster or ride goes. Museum trips show art and history.

If you ever thought about Home Schooling your child do your research in the laws for your state they vary quite a bit.Florida is moderate, New Jersey is very lax and doesn't require really anything, and California it's Virtual School or Regular School. So do your research and have a plan. But remember it's not all seriousness all the time, take time and be silly and show your kids what the world is really about.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dog Bite Prevention

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 9:50 AM 0 comments
I would like to discuss a very hot topic right now especially because it's in the news so much. We as pagans believe dogs are the gods/dess creatures. I never believe that dogs are at fault for bites,mostly I blame the owners. There are rare occasions where the dog is Human Aggressive, and the owners have had signs but have never done anything about it.

So where to begin: First we must teach children to always respect animals no matter what kind.Dogs have a pack order that they must learn to follow.

Two: Children when out at another persons home or out of the home when seeing an animal should never run up to it and just start hugging a strange dog. Always have the child ask permission to pet a strange dog. Don't get mad if the owner tells you or your child NO! I know plenty of people who are in rescue and rehabilitating a dog or the dog is in training for service work.

Three: Tell children never to run from a dog. Small children may seem like prey animals to dogs with a high prey drive. Stand your ground. Some dogs once you stand there and yell will turn tail and decide it's not a good idea.

Four: If the dog knocks you down that is unfamiliar to you roll into a ball and cover your ears.

Five: Always supervise children with any animal.

Six: Don't let your child mess with a dog that is sleeping,eating or caring for pups.

Seven: Never make eye contact with a strange dog. It is a challenge to the dog.

With any household pet you need to teach children and the dogs to respect one another. A child as young as 4 can help train the dog in the home with the parents help. My own 6 yr old has probably been working with our 2 yr old American Pit Bull Terrier since we brought him home at the age of 4mos. At 6 she commands him easily and he listens to her commands as he would everyone else in the home. Some days he decides she is top dog in the house and will let her lead him straight to his house when we have to leave the house.

This is what we have taught our children and this was taught to me as a child. Not to fear a dog but respect them.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Lughnasadh!

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 12:47 PM 0 comments
I want to wish everyone a Happy Lughnasadh! Today is a day of harvesting whether it be in the garden or with your family bringing everyone together. So do something with the family. Or commune with nature. I would like to share this sweet kids ritual that gets everyone in the family involved. You add what's needed just a simple way to teach kids circle casting.

Kids Full Moon

Items needed: Paper to make homemade fans 2 per child.
Water guns
Plant of any kind

Smudge before entering circle

Starting in the East High Priestess casts circle walking Deosil

In the east Say:The birds fly on the wings of air. We ask air to join us.( With Paper fans flap like a bird letting the air flow around us)

Moving to the South: The warmth of fire and love surround us we ask fire to join us( Hug each other and feel the warmth of love of those around us)

Moving to the West: The coolness of water we feel, Water we ask you to join us.(Have a water gun fight)

Moving to the North: The earth gives us life, we ask earth to join us( Plant a flower)

The gods are everywhere we invite them the mother and the father to join us here in circle as mother and father of this family we ask that they give us wisdom to guide our own families. ( Father priest says)

Raise energy by playing "Dance My Children Dance"*. Everybody Dances! When the song ends we release the energy by laying on the ground and letting it go back into the earth. Explaining the dancing is a way to raise energy and sustain us through movement.

Now is the time of the full moon! Ask the kids what they want and write it down on the paper explaining what the gods can give us. Set paper into fire pit and let them watch as the smoke sends their prayers up to the gods.

Priestess says: The goddess gives us food to eat! Priest says: the god gives us drink to sustain us.
Pass out cookies and juice asking the child to give thanks to the goddess and god. (Hail and thanks)

Starting in the North: The earth has blessed us with life, Thank you for giving us life. (Hail and Farewell said by all)
Going to the West: The waters of life fill us and give us life, Thank you for giving us life.(Hail and Farewell said by all)
Going to the south: The fire of life fills us and gives us love and warmth. Thank you for giving us life.(Hail and Farewell said by all)
Going to the east: The air of breath fills us with life, Thank you for giving us life.(Hail and Farewell said by all)

The circle is cut walking widdershins and then we all feast.

In my tradition the full moon is when the children are welcomed into circle because at the New Moon is a time when the energies aren't always kind to young children. Change it as needed because we all know the full moon is passed but you can use it for anytime of the year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remembering your ancestors

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 3:46 PM 0 comments
This morning I woke up remembering someone who meant the world to me growing up. My grandma Anna Mae raised me when I was little. She was a wonderful woman, who treated me better than anyone I've ever met. She was my world till I was 15. At my house I have pictures of the dead that meant the world to me. Dead but never forgotten. This is one way for me to share them with my family who have not met them before. I'm big on story telling in our house. My husband sometimes tells me you've told me that story a million times. But I feel that sometimes it needs to be repeated. Just so that I can remember them the way they were. Memories are all that we have after our loved ones are gone.

So what other ways are there for remember those long gone. In our house we have a picture area with my family tree of part of my family. I'm working on the other part now but it takes time when you have common names. In ritual we have a place for the ancestors in our circle. This is how we honor those who've come before us and those who come after us. We teach our children that history is doomed to repeat itself unless you understand the lives of the people from our past.

Even understanding the country where your relatives come from for me is very important. In a way it is still apart of who you are. You can find those old pictures of your relatives and say hey that looks just like me, or I don't take after that side of the family. For me, I can see my irish/german ancestry in the mirror everyday. So don't be afraid to look to the past to see who you really are. Sometimes it tells you more than you may want to know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What do Pagans look like?

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 3:24 PM 0 comments
My husband and I have been told we don't look like Pagans! But what does a pagan look like? Could be the old lady across the street, or the kid across town that you see every day. We don't look any different than you do. Most people when they see someone dressed in Gothic Dress assume that they are witches. But the majority of us look just like regular people. I force myself not to make preconceptions by someone else's opinions.

Teaching our daughter to not look at someone on the outside but getting to know them on the inside is our golden rule in our house. If you ask my 6 yr what is most important she will tell you it's what's on the inside that counts. This past year we had an incident at an Olive Garden. There was a woman who was about the same size as our daughter maybe a bit taller. Little Bit asked me why she was so short. I said go over and ask the lady why she is so small. The lady was nice enough to tell our daughter that she was born small and never got bigger. We encourage not to stare but by asking questions.

So what is the most important thing to know about what a pagan looks like? Just look around we are everywhere, your neighbors, the girl at the grocery store. We don't want to sacrifice you to the devil. We are mothers,fathers,sisters and brothers. And we want to practice our religion just like you do, we just do it in a different way. So remember when you teach your children about how to spot a pagan, there is no way to spot one. Just look inside yourself and get to know people and you might just find one of us, were everywhere.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spending time with your child

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 1:52 PM 0 comments
It's always important to take time out of every day and spend some quality time with your child/ren. One of my favorite things to do with my child is to make Chocolate chip Cookies. It helps her learn measurements and to take her time to make a quality item that will impress everyone in the house. At times when it is just the two of us we have a party day! We have Harry Potter Parties where we chill and watch all the Harry Potter movies and talk about what's been going on in the movies and what her favorite characters and why. Or we have reading days where the two of us work on reading a book together. Together we've read the Ballet Shoe series which she loved and then after we were through we watched the movie.

Here is my special Chocolate Chip Cookies that everyone I know has loved and they're easy to make:

Chocolate Chips

2/3 Cup Crisco

2/3 Cup Butter

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

milk chocolate chips

Drop pan cookies
Bake for 13 mins

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Teaching Responsibility

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 7:45 PM 0 comments
Now that we talked about age appropriateness, I feel responsibility is the next step. Even at a young age we can teach our child about responsibility. My husband aka "PaganDad" says we live in a zoo. Yes we do have quite a few pets in our home. We have 3 cats, 1 dog(an american pit bull terrier), a parakeet and a corn snake.

My daughters responsibilities are that every day she feeds and waters her parakeet, and once a week she feeds the corn snake. We also alternate who does the dishes. When we have company coming over she will clean the guest bathroom(her bathroom). I've never asked her to do this. One day I told her what chores we were doing as we had company coming over, I'm the type that the house needs to be spotless when someone comes over. We did everything we normally would do and I was going to start on the bathroom, when Little Bit(daughter) says that she wants to clean it. And she knows where the spray is and the towels and she was going to do it. (A reminder my daughter is 6). She did a good job, I checked it after she was done. She missed a few little spots and I fixed it but I was very proud of her.

We instill in her pride of doing a good job no matter what she does. She even initiates checking on the cats food during the day, to make sure they won't go hungry. She would love to walk the dog but she knows Odie(the dog) would knock her down.

When a child asks for a pet they are wanting a form of responsibility. Now whether or not they stick to that responsibility is up to us the parent. Yes I have to remind Little Bit to feed Bob(parakeet) on certain days. All ages of kids want their parents to be proud of them. And by giving them a bit of responsibility is a way for their child to shine. Remember we would rather have that positiveness than those negative outbursts. So let them shine and show they can do even the smallest exercises like help put away the dishes or load the dishwasher even if it's not done the way you like it. They are showing you they are growing up in to responsible children who will grow into responsible adults.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Teaching children age appropriateness

Posted by Dannielle McCleary at 9:41 AM 0 comments
As a pagan mom I struggle with teaching my 6 yr old daughter age appropriateness. She is a very well read 6 yr old. Everyone who meets her thinks she acts much older than what she is. For example: We went to the grocery store and we went and looked at the paper backs and there was a Charlaine Harris book which I've already read. She sees the cover and says is that that True Blood story you watch on tv. I told her yes it is and she asks me why can't I watch that show. I explained to her that it wasn't appropriate at this time for her to watch it because she was to young and she says to me, Is that because they have naked people in it. I said yes that is one of the reasons why she shouldn't watch it. But there are other reasons why she shouldn't watch it especially all the different issues such as murder,sex,drugs and things most parents don't want their 6 yr old to know about.

So how do you teach your children age appropriateness? I believe in being completely honest with my daughter. Which is not always the easiest thing to deal with especially on topics that are way beyond age level. At a young age she wanted to know about boys and girls and why they were different. I actually drew pictures, we explained that girls have vaginas and boys have a penis. No they weren't exact pictures. But more internal pictures. She even went as far as to ask her dad to see his penis. Of course we declined that and said she was too young and when she was grown up a bit she would meet the right man and see her husbands. We even explained how women and men made a baby using exact terms with a little bit of age appropriateness. So how do I deal with this, Always tell your child the truth. But at the same time don't take away their innocence.

As a pagan mom, you want them to believe in Santa,( yes all though christmas isn't pagan we incorporate him in Yule)Faeries,Unicorns,and even trolls and gnomes. Believing is part of being a pagan parent. If they don't believe in the magickal creatures they will never believe in the god/dess. We as parents have to instill these beliefs for them to understand the world around them. Without belief where would we be as a society. Life would seem hopeless. So teaching appropriateness and instilling belief is our way of raising a child who acts like an adult. Which is what every parent wants for their child. To grow into spiritual adults who understand life is a magickal journey we just need to teach them at the appropriate time.

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