This is a popular topic in several of the social media groups I’m in, so I thought I’d explain my views on it.
At first glance, my initial answer was ‘no’ – I disagree with indoctrinating children from an early age, warping their young minds until they are unwilling or feel unable to think for themselves. I’ve met far too many people who have left the faiths they were born into, and they are still plagued by confusion and guilt. In some cases, they’ve been disowned by their families, or even risked their own lives, simply because they’ve formed a different opinion!
So, in a way I’d be a hypocrite if I said I believe that parents should raise their kids to be heathen. But, after much consideration, I decided on a happy medium:
1. Teach your kids about their ancestors and their culture/heritage. Its important to know where we come from.
2. Tell your kids the stories from Norse mythology. But rather than teaching them that such stories are true, treat them as if they are simply bedtime stories.
3. Raise your kids to have heathen values – after all, much of our moral code is about honour, respect and common sense. There’s nothing bad about that.
4. Encourage your kids to explore other faiths if they wish, so that they can form their own opinions and ultimately make up their own minds. They’ll thank you for it, believe me!
5. If, in the end, your child does not become heathen, don’t berate them for it. Obviously, to some parents, this may come as a disappointment – but at least you will have the satisfaction that you did all you could to mould your child into an open minded, respectful, confident person. That’s what matters, regardless of religion!
One of the best things my parents ever did for me was teach me about multiple beliefs, and allow me to make up my own mind; so that’s what I intend to do for my own children in the future.
I see so many pagans boasting about how their children are joining in with rituals, and that their kids believe in pagan lore… But is that really any different from a Christian raising their child according to Christian values? These same pagans call this brainwashing, in some cases even child abuse – but if they are doing the exact same thing to their own kids (just in the name of different deities), how are they any different?
People always assume that religions should be segregated. But why? In today’s multicultural society, our children are going to be mixing with people from all sorts of different religious backgrounds! The more kids we can teach to be intelligent and open minded, the better their futures will be! Instead of just saying ‘I hate you because you’re [insert religion here]’, they will be able to participate in debates and draw logical conclusions. They’ll be able to use their broad understandings of various different beliefs to engage in these often difficult conversations.
To be heathen is to be freethinking and independent… So don’t raise your children to rely on our beliefs!