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Title: Two Simple Steps to Introduce Young Children to the Path
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Autumn_Heather
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Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/17/2009 08:04 AM)
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Two Simple Steps to Introduce Young Children to the Path

The First Step

A basic core belief that is shared by both the Wiccan, Pagan and Native American Paths is the love and worship of nature. This is a wonderful first step to introducing even your youngest toddler to the Wiccan way of life. It also allows you time outdoors with your child or children and gives you a chance to enjoy the beauty and glory of nature as well. Small bug-catching kits are available at many stores nationwide. This gives your child a chance to study these small miracles up close and then release them back to their natural habitat. Explain to your child that all life is sacred, and while we may observe, we must also return with a thank-you. Catching lightening bugs and putting them in a jar is wonderful fun for both of you. Again, let them go before you go inside.

Make up a picnic for you and your children, decide where you are going, and have your children help you pack what the nature around you would like for picnic as well. Bread or seeds for the birds, water for the trees, if there are squirrels, peanuts or walnuts. Enjoy your lunch while teaching your children to care for the world around them. Even to shaking out your picnic blanket and leaving food for the ants.

Pinecone, peanut butter and birdseed bird feeders are an excellent way to teach your child to care for the God/Goddess’ small creatures. On a walk have your child pick up a few large line cones. On the next rainy day, sit down with your child, cover the table with newspaper or wax paper. You will need your pinecones, a jar of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth, birdseed, a plate, string or yarn and a spoon. Tie a loop of string or yarn to the end of the pinecone for hanging. Help you child spoon peanut butter all over and into the niches of the pinecone. Pour birdseed on a plate then roll the pinecone in the seed. Make sure you get all the peanut butter covered well with a layer of seed. Set them aside and let them set. Take them with you on your next walk and let your child choose where to hang them. Do this with an explanation that the birds are beloved creatures of the God/Goddess, that by taking care of them and feeding them you are giving praise for their creation.

If you have the outdoor space, allow your child to make their own little garden, planting the seeds of their choice. Let them tend their gardens and see how their plants grow. Be prepared to eat any vegetables they may choose to grow. You may use this to incorporate an understanding of Imbolc and the rituals for growth and planting. It carries through to the Ostara, as their plants peak through the earth, on to Beltaine, as their plants have grown and matured. If they have chosen flowers, allow them to pick them and place them on the family altar.

Invest in a book that gives picture references of your local flora and fauna. See how many from the book you and your child can find. Use this as a tool to explain the many varieties of life which are all beloved by the God/goddess.

Spend a warm evening listening to the sounds of the night. Have your child try to name which creatures he/she hears that you have seen during your daytime adventures. Enjoy with them the peace and tranquility of a beautiful evening. Even children of a young age can sit and be quiet for a few minutes to just listen and feel. It can be a good opportunity to explain the Summer Solstice and the time of the year to watch things grow and mature.

As the season moves towards autumn, take some time with your child to appreciate the fruits of the field. Find a project you can make together, possibly making an apple pie. If you garden, let your child help you with the harvest and watch as you can or freeze the bounty from your garden for the winter months. This is an excellent time to incorporate Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain lessons.

Books with Native American animal stories are a wonderful resource for teaching young children. In this day and age of children’s television, going back to a simpler time with well written and humorous stories, is a beautiful way to spend time with your child. So many of these stories have a subtle lesson behind them to teach. They will often inspire your children to ask a lot of questions on the whys and wherefores. Be prepared to incorporate the little lessons they learn from these stories into your everyday life.

Using these simple ideas and others you come up with like them, builds in your child a strong sense of balance and respect for and with nature and the world around them. They are a stepping stone to understand and acceptance as they mature and the nature of your lessons on Wicca grow into worship, ritual and the Craft.

The Second Step

Children love to do what Mommy or Daddy do. If you have kept your altar hidden, or behind locked doors, then now is the time to start an altar for the entire family. It does not need to be glamorous or perfect, it is just a place for your children to see as a sacred space in their home. Choose a shelf, counter, bookcase top, wherever you feel comfortable and set up an altar for family worship and community.

Let your child or children help. If their astral color is not one they like, let them pick their favorite color candle, let them place leaves or flowers they have found on the altar. Stones, shells and nut husks are acceptable as well. Altar figures of the God/Goddess may not be something for this altar. Let your child help you choose something they feel is correct. An animal or bird, a dragon. Or keep fresh flowers and grasses there.

Take some time each evening, when homework and dinner is done and sit together. Light the white candles for the God/Goddess, then help your child or children light their candle. Sit and give thanks for the good things of the day. Discuss anything bad or upsetting that may have happened and have your child write it down or draw a picture of it on a small piece of paper. Fold or crumple the paper and place it in your censer or a glass dish and light it. Explain to your child or children that in doing this they are giving their troubles up to the God/Goddess and they are free from them now.

As the seasons change and the Sabbats and Esbats occur, decorate the family altar accordingly, have you child help with this, explaining the meaning behind what you are doing.

As your child or children grow, these two steps will be the cornerstones upon which you may base a lifetime of education.

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