Piedmont Pagan Pride Day

Community Spotlight: Tree of Life Children’s Circle

Kids and Paganism

My name is Christopher Annon, and I have been an active pagan in our community for about 10 years now. I am the head teacher at The Tree of Life Children’s Learning Circle and have been teaching pagan kids about our religion for about 4 years. I also have an internet radio show on International Pagan Radio (IPR) called “Storytime with Rook” where I tell stories from our legends and lore and make it more relatable on a kid’s level.

Why do I think our children should learn our religion at an early age? Well, there are a few reasons. I have been to many circles where children were frowned upon for even being at the ritual, or when the kids could come, they were so bored that they either got into trouble for being kids or distracted people in the circle. The reason for their misbehavior is mostly that they don’t know what to do or what is going on. So I thought to myself, “If they know what to do in circle and can actively participate, they won’t be as bored.”

I’ve been working with my son, Ryan (Magpie) since he was old enough to ask questions. I would explain to him why we call in the quarters, how exactly to do that, how to use magical tools, and how to show honor to our deities and ancestors. Now he’s 11 and can hold his own in ritual. Sure, he messes up sometimes, but we all do. Because of his interest in paganism, Ryan is now also talking to the station managers of IPR about doing a kid’s show to talk about kid problems from a pagan kid’s point of view.

His interest is one of the reasons why I started the Tree of Life Children’s Learning Circle: to teach as many pagan kids as I can our ways and help them grow into our great pagan leaders of the future.

Before I go into my main reason for teaching our kids our ways and paths, I want to say that I do totally respect anyone that wants their children to make their own decisions in life. I do that with my kids, and they can follow my path or find or make their own. That is their choice, but I found my other reason to teach our children when I noticed that other religions actively recruit our children daily, and they have activities to make their religion look more fun than ours. Through Children’s Church, Vacation Bible School, and snacks and juice, they use these things just to lure the kids in. Once they’ve got kids interested, the teaching is stories and games and heroes and monsters and miracles, which all sounds really cool. We as pagans have all of this, too. The Tree of Life Children’s Circle, festivals like PPPD, cakes and ale (kid friendly, of course), and stories about heroes and monsters and MAGIC are all super cool, but we don’t tap into these enough. We would rather make our kids stay in the house while we do ritual and not bring them at all, and all they see is a stagnant religion that they don’t get to participate in.

I promise you, this is not a membership recruiting effort for Tree of Life Children’s Circle. It would be better for you to teach your children your ways, your path, then as they get older if they want to explore, encourage them to do so. They know where home is. But if we don’t teach them our ways, someone else will teach them a different path, a less open path, a less free thinking path, before they’re old enough to make their own decisions.

Our children are our future. Help them to carry on our traditions or our traditions will just be myth and legend and lore.

So mote it be!

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