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    Question For Germanic Heathens Who Have Children...

    I don't know if this topic has been discussed here before or not, and I have neither the time nor the patience to search through the virtually endless list of threads to find out. So if I'm repeating someone else's idea here, I apologize.

    I also wasn't sure whether to put this in the Germanic Heathenism thread or the parenthood thread. So if you feel it'd be more appropriate in the parenthood thread, I apologize again.

    But anyway, on to the topic...

    I'm sure many people here grew up in a christian home and were forced by their parents to go to church, read the bible, ect. (I know that's how I grew up) and I'm sure many of those are now Pagans, Heathens, Odinists, Asatruar, or whatever nomenclature you prefer, and now also have children of their own. So my question is for those of the Germanic Folkway who either have children or plan on having children in the near future.

    Do you [or will you] force your children to observe and/or share your beliefs or do you [or will you] simply lead by example?

    All schools of thought are welcome.

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    My underlying view of Asatru social belief is that we view ourselves not as individuals but as part of a folk (a social organism) this means that one of our purposes in life is to fullfill duty. We are brought to life by a series of actions by our community and ancestors. We are fed by them and the foundation for our well being and success is laid by the community and ancestors before us (especially parents). As such out of respect to parents a child should follow the parents example, rules and teaching. A 5 year old or 10 year old is not old enough to make his own decisions. Therefore by default he follows the morals and way of life laid out by his community/parents.

    However is this child Asatruar? No. Only an adult can be a true Asatruar. A person must understand the religion and make a concious conversion. This involves an oath of allegiance and then to live by the way. This shouldn't be forced. Though I think the big difference here is that in my eyes a person can becom an adult per se at an age like 14. Most traditional cultures have adulthood around age 13-16 (take the bar mitzfah of Jews, pre-christian european traditions, native american traditions etc.). At that age they would take some ritual into adulthood and be able to make their own choices. I think one of the problems of modern society is that we don't let children grow up and try to tell them what to do and force a way of life onto them well into an age where they are old enough to make at least most of their own decisions. Doesnt' mean they are 100% mature, but I think capable of at least having some autonomy.

    This is the problem with Christianity I think. People can be 15, 16, 19 years old 25 etc. and the religion is still forced down their throat. Asatru doesn't force conversion. In fact if someone isn't fit for the community they may want to convert but cannot become a full member (in my view Asatru is about community- being part of a group- though I guess many of us can't practice that way).

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    I think child education, when they are young, is really important because it's the period in which they build their mental schemes and their way to observe the world.
    For exemple, I am really grateful toward my parents because they did show me how beautiful the Nature is, aswell as all the simple things in life (cooking, animals, mountains,woods, music). They also teached me important things such as respect, courage, sincerity... all those things I now consider being the right way of living, and the goal to fight for.

    Although I was baptized, I didn't receive a religious education (but I made catechism etc..). My parents educated me showing me the things and letting me understand what is beautifull in them, what should be preserved, what is the true, and what is bad. My education was based on experience and I think it's the way it should go if you want your child to be a warrior and not a sheep !
    My parents didn't really know what paganism is, I was brought naturally to this path and step by step, it did also affect my family ! Now, the christian roots are not predominant anymore and we celebrate Jule instead of christmass for exemple.

    That's why I think the education of our children should be based more on experience and share of a state of mind/way of live, than on strict codes that the child will consider something extraneous being imposed to him. The child should be an incarnation of the Tradition and the Race, and not a blind follower.
    Asatru is a non dogmatic religion (and the other aryan religions are aswell, except the decadent ones, influenced by semits and the will of power) because for me it's just a way to look at the world, to make your life in the more natural and powerfull possible way. That's the knowledge of LIFE our ancestors elaborated naturally because of their racial profile and their history. that's the spirit of a folk !

    As I said before, that's when the children are young that they build their mental schemes, because they will have remembrances that they will keep all of their life, that's the moment when they can be fascinated by things. That's why we have to show them all the pure and beautifull things our Race is made of : the tales, the legends, the nature, the sagas, the music, the traditional way of life etc... that will make his identity, that will define what he will like or not, what he will consider normal or not etc..

    At school, they will try to make him a brainwasch, but it's up to us to make him have the weapons to face it, not being narrow-minded, but able to see the things objectively, taking what's good in each thing by choice and not by obligation considering everytime that he is different; but that this difference is inside him, not based on abstract rules and cannot be affected by something extraneous.

    I really think that the real point is experience, it will bring the Law and the Tradition in the heart of the child and there, it will be really hard to destroy it !!

    ps : sorry if I don't express really good.

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    Good question BEB!

    Well for us it was a bit different. Hubby and I have been married for quite some time and our son was just a pre-teen when we all as a family chose the spiritual ways of our pre-Christian forebears as our own. Up until that time though our son was not raised in any spiritual tradition. When we did profess ourselves Heathen (more specifically Odinist) it was a bit of an adjustment for him in the sense of us having now introduced spiritual ritual in our family's traditions. Our son is still not big on long drawn out blots but he understands their importance and more importantly their significance. It's been a bit of a learning curve but then again, we've done it as a family, en masse, so it's not a thing that he's doing by himself but all three of us are doing and learning together. On the whole I think that his experience has been a positive one. I've never heard him say, I don't like this or I don't believe in this or that. He's taken everything in stride as any other person would when exploring a spiritual path which is a good approach. I think the most important aspect of all of this has been that he's had so much support from us as neophytes ourselves.

    To be heathen is so multifaceted as a way of life and being anyway. If one day our son decides that to blot is not part of his spiritual expression this is ok too. It'll be up to him to decide. But at least we as parents have helped awaken a spiritual awareness in our son, one more in keeping with his ethno-cultural roots.

    In the end, it's all good!

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    My children are encouraged to participate at their level. At this point it is mostly reading stories together, making things like julbok, StLucia buns and dala horses. We talk about the energy of the sun and the strength of gravity. We talk about talking to her grandpa(deceased) and remembering our families.

    Land of the Free because of the Brave.
    "Do not seek death. Death will find you. But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment." Dag Hammarskjold
    "Children know the truth. Love is not an emotion. Love is behavior." Andrew Vachss

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    My Children are Grown..........

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueEyedBeast View Post
    I don't know if this topic has been discussed here before or not, and I have neither the time nor the patience to search through the virtually endless list of threads to find out. So if I'm repeating someone else's idea here, I apologize.

    I also wasn't sure whether to put this in the Germanic Heathenism thread or the parenthood thread. So if you feel it'd be more appropriate in the parenthood thread, I apologize again.

    But anyway, on to the topic...

    I'm sure many people here grew up in a christian home and were forced by their parents to go to church, read the bible, ect. (I know that's how I grew up) and I'm sure many of those are now Pagans, Heathens, Odinists, Asatruar, or whatever nomenclature you prefer, and now also have children of their own. So my question is for those of the Germanic Folkway who either have children or plan on having children in the near future.

    Do you [or will you] force your children to observe and/or share your beliefs or do you [or will you] simply lead by example?

    All schools of thought are welcome.
    I was raised Roman Catholic..I left that in my 40's.

    I came to a realization of the Aesir and Vanir, Our Ancestral Gods, in later life.
    I see Asatru as an Ancestral Religious Folkway. Asatru means True to the Aesir. I lead a Kindred and each month we gather to pay Homage to Our Northern Gods. I've been doing this since 1994. Without the Aesir, there is no Asatru. It would become a Cultural Club like Sons of Norway, or the German-American Club........Not bad Organizations, but not Asatru.

    That being said......When my Sons come to visit, they Lift the Horn with me, to the Ancestors, their Grandparents, my Grandparents & Great Garndparents, asf. And, they have no qualms about Toasting to the Aesir & Vanir.
    When my older Son's Grandfather-in-Law died, at the Family dinner, after the Funeral, my Son stood shared a bottle of my home-brewed Mead, around the table, and Lifted his own Horn, to the old fellow, and to the Gods. Good words were said, that day.

    My Sons are not Asatru. They are not religious. They do not regularly Pay Homage to the Gods. But, They remember where we/they came from and acknowledge it.
    I don't ask it of them. They just do it.
    Last edited by Grimsteinr; Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 03:37 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Born in London in 1950, I was raised within the Church of England, I even went to a Cof E school, but having said that, things were not exactly forced down my throat, I was just expected to follow the herd and do as everyone else did, regardless of any sincerity that I may or may not have. This is what begun to turn me away from Christianity…a lack of sincerity.

    By my early 20’s I had discovered the old ways of the North and the calling from them was magnetic. I had at last come home spiritually, I was happy with that and have been ever since.

    I have three grown sons. As they were growing up I made the conscious decision to not force anything down their throats but also not to hide away my own spiritual feelings. They would often ask questions about the old Northern ways and we would talk about the Gods and their meaning to our lives in a modern sense as well as an historical one. For them, growing up with the images and sayings of the old Northern ways was as ordinary as switching on the TV. I never once tried to convert them, and although I would be scathing in my criticism of Christianity (particularly in their schools) I would never attempt to stop them attending a Church service for what ever reason if that was what they wanted.

    How did they turn out?

    The youngest is just finishing University; he loves the world and thinks the world loves him. He is extremely talented (as a musician) and artistically expresses himself as such. But he has turned almost against me and my spiritual feelings. He tries to argue the benefits of multiculturalism and I explain the downside to all of that. He respects my view but believes me to be wrong. Yet recently, he has had a few bad experiences with our multicultural friends and he has begun to question his own feelings for them. Yet even more recently, he wrote a piece of music (Cello) based on a Nordic theme and I have since discovered that he has ‘borrowed’ much of my Northern Tradition reading material…………….he will have to find out for himself, but I think he is beginning to come around…….experience and to find his own way, that’s his quest!

    The Middle lad is living with his long term girlfriend and their little baby girl. He works in IT and has a very well paid job. He is efficient to the point of being ruthless, he is a no nonsense sort of guy and knows what he wants and how to get it. He admits that the old stories that I used to tell them as children had a profound effect on him, and although he does not claim to be Heathen, he admits to following the lifestyle ‘in his own way’. Since becoming a father he has also become more aware of social problems and the people who are responsible for them…I think he is beginning to become politically active, and I do not mean of the left!

    The Oldest son a serving soldier in the British Army, and he will soon be promoted to sergeant. He is married with a two year old son; he and his wife are Heathen. At first I though he was just trying to be like me, but he claims that his upbringing with all the stories and symbols of the old faith around, really made him question the things he was being told in school. His decision to become Heathen was a deliberate life changing move. He has already told me that he will bring up his own son the way I brought him up, not to force feed him any belief, but to have it on hand as and when it is needed. My only disappointment is that he has decided that when his long term Army career is over, he will not be staying in England, he has decided that Canada is the place for him and his family to prosper.

    All in all I do not think I have done too badly with them. But the secret (if there is a secret) is to not impose any forceful dogma, just to let nature take its course, be there for them and trust in their genes.

    hodekin
    Deep in the forest, shaded by the leaves of the Greenwood Tree.

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    In my opinion, I believe that leading by example is the best way. I teach, they listen and learn. I believe that a heathen is a heathen from birth. It burns in your blood. With the right hints, it makes itself known.

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    My experience is that our gods are with us from birth. I don't think religion is a choice but as one person put it, burns in the blood.

    For me religion is not a set of values or moral codes, though it is a convenient framework from which to teach those, but is instead a collection of manifestations of matter (giants) and consciousness (gods). The dramas that unfold between these, the giants and the gods, will appeal to us because they are our own dramas, dictated by how we are made, what our own giant is made of (our body, our race) and the yearnings of our own god (our consciousness).

    With this structure in place our own children will share in our DNA, though recessive genes may have been triggered that neither parent knew about. As a result of that random pairing I did not feel sure in ramming anything down my children's throats. I educated them, they participated in our pagan and heathen ways, they learned new agey stuff, read the Bible, were exposed to the Kabalah and the Koran and learned Hinduism from my studies in astrology.

    They are currently all young adults and have no affinities though I have seen one daughter draw tremendous energy from the Virgin Mary, which I found a bit peculiar until I remembered my two full blooded Irish Catholic grandmothers.

    I think our karma resides in our genetic make up and how we work that off and with whose help and support is truly a personal thing. Our children know that for my husband and me that they and theirs are welcome at any time around our fire, are offered food and drink and companionship. In our home they respect our gods and our ways. In their homes we respect them.

    I have a longing for community and extended family but it seems to me that if my calling is loyalty to family then to reject them or in any way dishonor them and their gods would be untrue to my own way. They are my kin and I am bound to them come Hel or high water.

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    I have no children (yet), but stumbled across a resource that may help those raising Heathen children in a modern world:

    http://www.sigrdrifa.net/sigrdrifa/archive.shtml

    The magazine is run by several heathen families in Oregon, USA, who homeschool their children and could probably point anyone interested in the right directions for resources and information.

    And no, I have no affiliation with them!

    And as for raising children to follow in a Tru path - it is strange how Christian parents expect their kids to "grow out" of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but not such things as transubstantiation, raising the dead, healing touch, etc....

    Small children will love the pageant and cermony if you go to rituals (hey, big children will too!), but I think that trying to find a way to make your faith a natural part of everyday life would probably make their faith as habitual in their routine as it is instinctive in their blood.

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