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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From pagan pages.org Pagan parenting

Pagan Parenting
Jennie Johnston February 1st, 2010

Family Values: Creativity

A family value that is high on my priority list is creativity. It is not a traditional family value but many would argue that a pagan family is not traditional in the first place, so in my opinion it fits.

Creativity is fundamental to humanity as a whole, without it we would not have made the discoveries and advances that we have as a culture. Pagans honour the sacredness of creation, the earth in her splendour creates on a scale that is baffling. Volcanic eruptions spew out what will become new ground; dead trees in the forest shelter the sprouts of new seedlings that will take their place and stand tall one day. Creation cycles throughout the seasons moving from birth to death and back again. In terms of culture Pagans are not only called on to observe or revere creativity but also to manifest it. Theatre, music, literature, visual art, clothing design….you would be hard pressed to find a coven or Pagan festival that does not honour the creative in some fashion. Even those who protest that they are not artistic use creativity to manoeuvre through life. Throwing a meal together from leftovers in the fridge, coming up with a solution to an issue at work, adding an essential oil to your cleaning water, all come from a sense of creating something and all come from a spark within. That spark needs to be nurtured and respected by yourself for yourself but also for your children.

Creativity and Kids

Children are born with their creative spark unhampered. They are full of possibility and freshness. All is new to them and so every new situation or thing calls on them to be creative in their approach. Is this ball for chewing, squeezing or throwing? Maybe it is for all of those things, I’ll have to try it. Witnessing these moments is a joy to many parents as long as these explorations are not dangerous, which of course they often are. There is a fine line that parents have to walk between keeping situations safe and not butting in. Kids use their imaginations at a record pace and need to be nurtured in this respect. For many adults who feel cut off from their creative spark the source of that disconnect can be found sometime in their childhood when an adult decided to belittle or control their inborn desire to create. Part of raising a well-rounded child is to allow him or her to be the leader in play whenever possible. If they colour outside the lines or mix the blue and yellow paint so be it. This is a time for play, not perfection. If the princess wants to be driving a dump truck or the cowboy wants to have a tea party who are we to hamper that desire? It is all part of the art of discovery and a manifestation of the soul’s desire to move through ideas in freedom. All too soon time and age will make play more realistic and force kids to “grow up.” Allowing them to explore in childhood will help them to keep their creativity as a tool and comfort as they age.

Creativity and Parents

Out of all of the skills that I have had to grab so far in my two years of parenting creativity has been the biggest help. If you are lucky enough to have two heads working creatively rather than one it can be an even more helpful asset. At three o’clock in the morning when a crying baby just cannot be comforted in the dozen ways you’ve got in your arsenal a eureka moment can hit you and you figure it out, for now. Parents are creative by necessity. Let’s make a funny face rather than stick our finger in the electrical socket, let’s have some carrots instead of eating the Play doh, let’s make up a superhero rather than emulate the one on TV. who just jumped through a window. If you have any desire to parent from a place of love and compassion rather than one of fear and dominion then creativity is in your corner. Sleep deprivation and stress can have a negative effect on our ability to tap into that spark, so we must try and remember to charge our batteries now and then. The clich├ęd idea of taking some “me time” is great advice but is not very practical for most parents. I can count on one hand the “me time” I’ve had in two years, but I try and take small snippets of time to dream, read, listen to some music or connect with nature. My connection to the earth is a constant recharge for me. Seeing flower sprouts in the spring or the discarded shell of a bird is a great reminder that nature is in constant change and it fills me with hope. As Pagans we are privileged to have a tradition of creative people who have come before not only creating the traditions or rituals that we may practice today but also raising children in a new way of thinking. A way that honours the ground we walk on, hears the wind coming off the sea, tastes the water of life and marvels at the hypnotic power of fire.

The spark of creation is fragile and yet so powerful. It can abandon us at times when we need it, but if we try and keep ourselves open to its voice and mindful of when it is manifesting in our children and ourselves it can be an infinite source of renewal and connection for our family.

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