I was born to parents from different religions and raised in a multi-faith house. Despite the fact that my father and mother were both grounded by their religious belief systems, we attended church infrequently. Our time in any house of God was limited mostly to Christian holidays and I was an adult before recognizing the subtle differences between the paths that my parents had pursued. I believe that my experience was common amongst Canadian children in the early 70’s.
I exited a first marriage with 2 tremendous children and a number personal feelings to untangle. At the time, my son was just reaching an age where in my mind, he could understand the notion of spirituality and its many teachings. My daughter was still steadying her steps and mastering the art of controlling newly realized abilities. As the kids and I settled into our new reality of a 50% custody and residency agreement, the question of spirituality for our children remained unanswered and was overtaken by the necessities of life. My former spouse continued to pursue a personal path devoid of spirituality and religion.
Nearly 2 years later my question about spirituality for my children returned. I had by that time introduced spirituality through books, songs and our occasional attendance at a local church or Zen temple. I remained cautious about sharing my Wiccan path with the kids and introduced them instead to an eclectic commonality of underlying themes from many religions. My goal was help establish a moral compass within them and help them to learn how to accept and appreciate others.
Each time the kids enjoyed a spiritual talk or event with me, they shared it with their mother. Sadly, a trend emerged as the kids would return to me espousing the evils of Buddhism, Christianity or other easily identifiable paths. One day my son returned home from kindergarten in a state of dysregulation. He explained that all of his friends were mad at him because he informed them that he agreed with his mom and that god did not exist anywhere. On another occasion my son explained to me that Buddhists were bad because mom had showed him a story from Myanmar in which some Buddhists had apparently attacked some Muslims. On a third occasion, I received a scathing email from ‘mom’ chastising me for the kids attending a church service at Christmas. Concerned about any age inappropriate messaging that the kids might be receiving in retaliation for my spiritual sharing, I suspended temple and church visits.
I have since married a devout Christian woman and we openly share our spiritual beliefs with each other. Together we have woven a spiritual tapestry of love, mutual respect and humor within our home. We celebrate Christian and Wiccan events; sometimes together and sometimes individually. There are benefits to a multi-faith home but it takes understanding and togetherness. It isn’t always easy to hear the snide comments of close-minded, 3rd parties when they speak to my wife about my beliefs when I’m within earshot.
The kids are still operating on a weekly schedule and spend 50% of their time at our home. The goal of mastering spirituality in a multi-home environment is one that continues to elude me. With Samhain drawing close, I am feeling a pull to share more information about Wicca with my children and to celebrate as a family. Ultimately, I believe that it is critical for me to shield the two young spirits that I am blessed with guiding until they can choose their own spiritual paths. For now, protecting them from misinformation and manipulation is paramount. I think that I’ll feel it when the time is right to share more.
Image Credit: johnwmorehead