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Coming Out of The Broomcloset To The Kids

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The Cottage August/Mabon 2002

Out of the Broom Closet

Anna just sat there on her dinosaur comforter, with her mouth agape and her eyes wide in disbelief. "You're a witch?" she asked again. "Yes", I said, "but not the way you're thinking. I have never had green skin, I don't cackle when I laugh, I can't turn people into toads or frogs, and I don't fly around on a broom". She let out a small giggle then, with one hand covering her mouth. "So what does that mean?" she then asked. With so many aspects to cover in the religion and the stereotypes from TV and movies, how do you explain to an eight-year-old child about being Pagan?
Some children are privileged to have parents that are Pagan and are raised with those beliefs since birth. Then there are those whose parents, mother or fathers have found their path after the kiddies were born. I had considered myself Southern Baptist until my daughter was four; I had never given her any guidance in the area of religion due to my own confusion. My parents, in-laws, and various other family members took it upon themselves to teach her their beliefs. After reading and studying I finally decided what passage I would take to lead me through this lifetime. With religion being a fundamental part of a child's growth process, I was unsure how I should bring my views up to Anna. I attempted to do this by giving small explanations about nature or why I was putting acorns in the windowsills. I made sure that she understood that you should not put down other peoples beliefs, just because you don't believe in something does not mean someone else does the same. I felt that the key to her understanding was to give bits of information at a time and not bombard her. I wanted to give her a positive outlook on Paganism, despite what other family members had taught her.
Then the day arrived that I felt it was time to tell it all, this led to the conversation of my being a real witch. Thankfully my son has grown up around my beliefs so I wouldn't have to give a repeat performance. The last thing Anna asked me was if it was all right if she wanted to stay a Christian. Of course I told her that that was a decision she would have to make. My husband considers himself Catholic, and doesn't necessarily see my point of view, could help her in that direction. Two different religions under one roof, that my friends, is another discussion. 
                                     by  Delaine Dunn