Well, its Easter…not a bad family holiday. Hunting colored eggs that have been hidden everywhere in the yard or house. Kids enjoy the stuff a ton. I remember doing this when I was a lot smaller and younger. My parents would hide stuff everywhere in the yard or even in the house, and then send me and my younger sister to go find it all. Sometimes, I’d find stuff months later…ewww. LOL But it was a nice family tradition until we got older. There was no church-oriented stuff though. My parents didn’t really believe in pushing faith on their kids, mostly because they didn’t really have strong ties to church activities and stuff like that. At least that’s what I think is the reason. They both passed several years ago, so I’m not really able to ask that question of them so that I can be certain.
All of that does make me wonder how parents handle religious aspects with their own children, particularly Pagan parents. Is it a good thing to enforce religious practices with the kids until they reach an age where they can theoretically make decisions of their own – at least in regards to the legal aspect of things? Is eighteen the magickal thumbprint of making your own decisions? Or does the enforcement of the parents’ beliefs naturally push the individual away from the religious perspective being enforced?
The only footprint in understanding all of this is my own. At home, my Protestant parents did not push for religious perspectives, such as Wednesday and Sunday services. Nor did they play the “holiday-only” game either, where mandatory church service during Easter, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve was expected. We didn’t pray at the table before meals. So, my assumption was that the religious nature of Christianity (Or any -ianity or -ism for that matter) just wasn’t that important.
Yet, my parents sent both me and my sister to private Catholic schools where we were indoctrinated into the Catholic faith through mandatory classes, and monthly masses for the entire school. Both aspects of this were instrumental in my rejection of the Catholic faith. While I find elements of Catholicism to be beautiful, particularly in the ritualistic aspects, I’ve never trusted anything that forces you to believe a single way through indoctrination, and intimidation. Call me stubborn, but I’ve always preferred the opportunity to find my own way – which I did after graduating high school. First there was the struggle through various aspects of the Christian faith. Then was the introduction to Wicca, which in the way it was presented as hard dogma, never really sat right with me either. Over time, I eventually found my way into Druidry.
I have often wondered how many people will have issues being forced into doing something simply because “its what everyone else does”? I admit, my twenties and thirties are full of me bucking the trend constantly. After I left the Air Force, I grew my hair long. I dressed horribly – mostly in torn up jeans. Now I’m in my fifties. I will dress completely against the norms. I still wear my thinning hair a bit longer than many think I should. But I honestly don’t care. I dress and wear my hair comfortably for me. I’m not here to be someone else’s fashion plate. I’m here to be me. As comfortably as I can.
So, circling back to today’s holiday…it is Easter. Today, many children will hunt colored eggs and plastic eggs filled with candies. They will have fun doing so. They will sit in church and listen to long-winded sermons on how Jesus ben Joseph dies for their sins so that they can be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven. Many others will rail against this tradition as being a horrible method of brain-washing these children. Others will rail about how the mythology of Jesus ben Joseph is a lie, told to comfort those who do not wish to confront the idea of what comes after this life – if anything. Much like Halloween is a contentious time of the year between the Pagans and the world – the same holds true for Easter in regard to the Christian faiths and the world.
For me, it all boils down to familial traditions. Parents (and I am a parent) will typically desire their children to follow in their footsteps. Follow your parents into the trades that they earn wages through. Follow your parents down the traditional religious Path that they have been on, and that their parents were on. No deviation from that norm. You are [this belief] because your mother and I are, and your grandparents were, and so on. You can make up your own mind of what you are when you no longer live in this house. Ahhh, the contentious memories that brings up for me.
However, the memories of being a child looking everywhere in the yard for those colored eggs and other items that had been hidden by my parents – those are special for me. A time of innocence. Where my cares were very few, except playing a pickup game of baseball in the neighborhood streets or going over to the neighbor kid’s house to swim in the giant above-ground pool in their backyard or riding my bike throughout the neighborhood. Or when we lived in Europe, our every weekend ten-kilometer walks in various locations throughout Germany. Life was different when I was ten years old. I smile remembering those memories for myself. I smile when I see children getting to have those activities in their lives too – hunting those colored treasures in the yard. Because its not about some aspect of Christian mythology for them – because its an adventure of the moment. The adults can tie whatever religious or philosophical ideals to it….for the kids, its an adventure of the moment. For me, it’s a remembrance of when I was that young, and the fun I had…as well as a reminder that I need to step out of the way and let them have their fun. My past is not theirs…their future is not mine. They have their adventures and searching to do…they have their own lives to puzzle through. All I can do is be here to provide advice…I can’t (and won’t) do it for them. That just robs them of their own experiences.