Many pagan parents who follow the religion of Wicca are unsure of how to begin introducing their children to the Craft. There are still many who unfortunately condemn anyone who follows any kind of pagan religion. We want to protect our children as well as educate them on our beliefs. It is not as easy as sending them off to Sunday School each week to have someone teach them the principles and beliefs of the faith. This becomes even more difficult if the parents each follow different faiths. But it can be much easier than you think and you can respect all faiths within the home.
All religion and nature flow together as one. Caring for our environment, homes and communities is one of the basic tenants of all religions. For pagan parents this can be a great way to start the introduction. Picking up litter throughout the neighborhood, participating in a community garden project, donating your gently used items to a homeless shelter. The list is endless. There are so many projects that children can do to get them outside (which is always better than sitting in front of the television) and communing with nature and your community.
Show your children what it means to care for our Earth Mother. Let them see you give offerings to the earth and elements. Allow them the space to ask you questions about what you are doing and why. The questions usually always flow into those of your beliefs and religious practices. This way the introduction flows naturally and isn't forced upon your children. And this brings up a second point.
Never force your children to participate. Allow them to see what you are doing; allow them to ask questions. Ask them if they would like to help you set up your alter for an upcoming holiday, Esbat or ritual. Let them help you clear and cleanse your ritual space, all the while explaining to them what you are doing as you do it. If they show interest in participating in a ritual or officially meeting your coven (if you have one), great, if not that's alright too.
This also applies to families who have different faiths. If you have made an agreement with your partner to not 'officially' bring your children fully into the Craft, they need to respect those same boundaries and not demand that they go to church every Sunday. Hopefully this is a discussion you've already had with your partner but it's one that will continue to evolve as your children get older, see more of both your faiths and ask more questions. Communicate early on with your partner so you can both find a way of being open with your children and show respect for your partners beliefs at the same time.
We all want our children to grow up happy and healthy, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Give them the room to feel out what works best for them (even if that is not the path you have chosen). The more we expose our children to, the more they will learn from our example to coexist with the amazing diversity we have throughout the world.
Find the commonalty in varying belief systems. Do some homework on all types of religious and spiritual practices and use the different holidays as a way to show your children how others live and celebrate their faith. Even Atheism holds basic beliefs on creation through evolution, living a good life, being responsible and caring for others. Discuss the similarities and let go of the differences. There are some great examples of how we all live that are similar. Show this to your children, let them see that no matter what faith or belief system we hold to we are all a part of a much larger and intricately connected system; we are all human beings, we all have feelings and we all deserve respect.
Teach them how to answer questions from others on Wicca. Whether or not the topic is ever brought up (and depending on how open you and your partner are on your faiths), it's a good idea to give your children some basics on what to say if asked about Wicca.
Teach your children the tenant of 'To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent'. We know that we are on an eternal quest for knowledge throughout our existence. We dare to move into the realm of the unknown in our quest for knowledge, to have courage in finding our own path. We will ourselves to continue on our path of discovery and persevere through the challenges and diversity we face within our lives. And we know that to keep silent can hold far more important meaning than any words we may utter.
It may be easier to tell your children that you don't discuss your faith with others, and at times it is certainly appropriate to keep silent; but there will come a time when they are asked something that will cause your child to feel like they need to divulge some information. Better to decide what you are comfortable with now then after the fact. It could be something as simple as 'My mommy is Wiccan, we love and care for nature', to a much more in-depth definition. Find what works for you, your partner and your children. If you live in an area that is very open with varied religious paths, great. If not, teach them what is appropriate to discuss in public.
Teaching our children about our faith and beliefs should be a fun experience. Help them see the beauty in the diversity that surrounds us. They don't need to follow in your or your partners spiritual footsteps, but they should have the information available to them so they can make a knowledgeable choice when they are old enough to decide. Knowledge really is power and those of us in the Craft know this fact intimately. How better to show our love for our children then through passing this gift onto them.