We’re Not Like Other Families
Have you ever found yourself saying this to your kids? “We’re not like most other families. We’re different.” How do you feel when you say those words?
I know how I felt having to say that to my kids. My heart sank when I heard the words roll out of my mouth. I felt like I was setting my kids up for a harder life. I felt as if I was alone in a large uncaring society, and leading my kids to learn to feel the same way as I did when those words came out of my mouth.
I debated for a long time over it. Even made up ‘pro and con lists’ in my head just to try and figure out what, if anything, I was doing wrong.
I am a pagan mother of seven boys. Then to top that off I have an extended large family. I still have yet to find another large pagan family such as ours. AND… I home school. I am happy homeschooling, and I believe my kids are too, but sometimes looking at everything I am shocked at what a large load I have put on my kids. It is a lot to take in if you were not the one experiencing it. Could you imagine?
So after all the worrying and debating I asked my oldest, “How does it feel to be different?”
Then this 12-year-old son of mine answered me the way only a kid could.
“What do you mean different? I don’t feel any different. I feel like myself.”
I smiled and then felt put in my place. We’re not really different. When I asked him how he felt about our family, he said, “Well, our family is extraordinary.”
Overall, when you really get down to thinking about things, and how some things might appear to be different, just put things into perspective. Perhaps you aren’t all that different. Maybe it’s just the way you think about things. The ‘burden’ I thought I was giving my kids was actually just my desire for them to have an open mind and a different perspective on how our family exists.
See, I think my perspective comes from how I was raised. I was raised very Christian. I was in the church nursery as a baby. My mom was the Sunday school teacher when I got older. I knew the Bible, and it was a contest between the preacher’s son and me as to who knew all the answers in class.
We had weekly dinners with the preacher and his family. I went to youth service on Wednesdays, as I got older. I had a lot of questions though, and as my mom said, good Christians don’t have questions. they just have faith. So I knew I had problems because I couldn’t stop asking questions.
I wasn’t a good Christian. I couldn’t just believe. I had too many conflicts. I tried to talk to my mom, and I told her I didn’t like having a God I was afraid of. I explained that it’s not right when you fear God.
In response, I was told, you should fear God. It makes you a better Christian to know you will be punished if you don’t accept him and Jesus.
I just couldn’t win. I tried to talk to the preacher, who told me my mom could explain things to me. And when I talked to my mom, I got no answers.
I swore that growing up my children would not have to face the things I did. I found Paganism when I was younger.
I told my mom, “Those people who were hugging the tree looked so happy”.
My mom said, “They should be. They are all going to hell.”
I said, “Well, if all the people at our church are going to heaven, why are they all so sad?”
She replied. “Life is hard. There is nothing easy about it.”
I got books and read in private, figuring out my religion. When we had children we agreed that they would be able to pick their religion and they would be educated.
When my 12-year-old son had done some research and told me he chose Paganism, I must admit, my heart skipped a beat. But what he doesn’t know, he wasn’t raised to know, are the hardships involved. It’s both a blessing and a curse for him.
I have explained the secrets he will have to keep from his grandma. Some people won’t agree with his choice and he will have to either keep his faith secret or deal with this.
Overall though, still he doesn’t see us as different. It’s a wonderful thing that he doesn’t take to heart all the hardships. He doesn’t see us as different because he was not raised to see anyone differently. I figured by his age these things would have come into perspective for him, but they haven’t.
What a wonderful experience, not being different! Having a large family, and being Pagan is just natural for my child. Maybe for other children of mine too, someday. I believe some will be Christian, some will be pagan, and maybe some will venture beyond these boundaries and dive headfirst into their own religious freedom to choose something totally different.
I will take them to the local Hindu temple. They go to church on occasion. We have been to two local Universal Unitarian churches. In the words, being ‘different’ is good because everyone is ‘different’. If we were all the same, the world would just be boring.
It’s true. Everyone is different. It’s just something we deal with throughout life. Maybe it’s not such a horrible thing to be ‘different’ and some of our children don’t even think we’re ‘different’ at all. It really puts things into perspective to believe that any religion, sincerely held and practiced, is just fine.
If you are not taught to believe that ‘different’ religions are bad, then they aren’t.