Whether you were already Pagan when you started your family or became Pagan later, after you had children and want to include them in your practice (and they want to be included) the biggest question is: “Where do we start?” The best and most comfortable place to start is at home with what you already know. Keep to the basics, including your practice in little ways every day and being consistent is the best way to start.
One easy thing to incorporate to your daily practice is daily devotionals and blessings. These can be done in the morning, at night, at mealtime or all three. The following are examples of each:
Good Morning Great Father
Please bless this day.
Keep us safe and happy
As we work and play.
Good Evening Great Mother
Please bless this night.
Keep us safe and happy
Until the morning light.
Food is the gift of the earth, warmed and lit by the sun.
Coming from the Goddess by the power of the God
And through them we are blessed.
We thank the people who work hard to bring this meal to our table.
We thank the plants and animals whose deaths provide our lives.
We thank the Lord and Lady who bring death and life.
Blessed Be. (By Alex)
When my daughter was born I started by taking her to her bedroom window each night and saying good night to everything we saw. “Good night moon, good night garden, good night trees, good night birds” etc. When we woke in the morning I would take her to the window and say good morning to everything. “Good morning sun, good morning flowers, good morning clouds” etc. I’m sure you get the idea. Once she began to speak on her own, she would choose what to say good morning and good night to. Not only did this help her to become more aware of her surroundings and the cycle of night and day, but it also gave us quiet time everyday to be together and appreciate each other and the things around us. As the year progressed we noticed that we were saying good morning/evening to different things as the seasons changed. This helps to teach your child the cycle of the seasons and can be used as an introduction to each Sabbat. Pointing out that the leaves are falling off the tree so it will be Mabon or Samhain soon. Snow is on the ground so it will be Yule or Imbolc soon etc.
Encourage older children to make up their own devotionals or meal blessings. Even if they are silly, very long or very short. The length and content are not what is important, the intention and the consistency of doing them is what matters. Older children can also include lighting a candle or incense as a part of their devotional or meal blessing.
Keep in mind that these don’t have to be done everyday. Morning and bed time on weekdays can be very hectic for families with children. If you don’t have time to do a morning/evening devotional everyday, set a specific day each week to do it. We say a formal blessing at holiday meals, this is the one time we are guaranteed to have everyone at the table together. So while you are being consistent try to remember to be flexible as well, both you and your children will be much happier for it.
However, if your child(ren) decides that they don’t want to do them anymore at some point (as my daughter did), that is fine too. Never push a child to do something involved with religious practice if they honestly don’t want to. The point is to lead by example, even if your child is no longer interested in participating with you, that is no reason for you to stop doing them yourself. Give them the opportunity to participate, but let them decide if they want to take part or not.
If you are a leader in your community and a young person is coming to you for advice on where to begin, (or your Pagan Child is in their teens) this is a great starting point for them as well. Have them write their own devotionals and meal blessing that are personal to them. Explain to them that they don’t have to say the same thing every time, they can just say what happens to pop out at the moment as well. You can also have them learn color correspondences and burn a candle in the color that is suitable for that day. For example, if they are writing an exam that day they could burn a yellow candle. If they are competing in sports they could burn a red one. If they are sick they could use blue, if they are looking for a summer job they could burn green. Birthday candles work great for this as they will be burnt out by the time they are done their devotional.
Once again, stick to the basics. Be relaxed and flexible with this practice. Remember to be consistent but that consistent does not have to be every day. If your child chooses not to, continue doing them yourself and provide them the opportunity, but make sure that the choice to participate or not is theirs.