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Child 1

“At my age,” the 9-year-old said to me in all seriousness, “I just feel like The Jungle Book is a little silly and childish.”   Ten minutes prior to this statement I had heard him complaining to a girl his age that his mother hadn’t paid his cell phone bill, speaking as if he was always having to check up on her.  The little girl was just as serious as she told him it wasn’t his parents’ job to pay for everything, explaining how much she had saved to get her hair done.  I felt for a moment like I was watching children parody their parents like some kind of juvenile Vaudeville act, but they weren’t, and as that boy looked at me like I was being ridiculous to even suggest cartoons to a person his age I was immediately saddened by what’s happening to the current generation of children.

When I look at children I see two things that stand out.  The first is an amazing culture of unschooling, home schooling, alternative teaching, and children encouraged to do what children do naturally.  They are encouraged to play, to touch, to create, and to use their imaginations.  These are the thinkers and the inventors of tomorrow.  These children will be what pulls us out of the mire someday, because I believe the only thing that will save us as a society is something new, something “outside the box”.  These children, as adults, will be less concerned about the “shoulds” that repeatedly dig our society deeper into the hole.  Instead they will focus on the “cans”, because these children have not been told what their lives “should” look like, only what they “can” if they dare to go after dreams and find ways to make those dreams realities.  These children will be adults who have been given the resources to make their own decisions and the tools to process their emotions.  They are learning to communicate and grow from their mistakes.

The second thing I see scares me a little bit.  I see children with cell phones and tablets who don’t know how to jump rope.  I see children who already believe that “make-believe” is something to eschew for more mature pursuits.  I see children who will someday know the formulas and the codes but never anything else.  I see libraries full of stereo instructions but no fairy tales.  I see children who will never be taught to have a frivolous outlet growing into adults who have no way to release stress or frustration in a healthy manner.  I see decades of the same mistakes being repeated because no one can think of another way of doing things.  These children will be brilliant, able to memorize the patterns and the steps, but they will be stunted when it comes to problem solving and fresh ideas.  They may be self sufficient at a younger age, but they will be emotionally under-developed or possibly emotionally blocked altogether because of the belief that emotions and passion are childish.  They will be able to analyse anything, but feel nothing.  They will not be able to handle change, failure, people who don’t think or act the way they do.  They will have excellent decision making skills and consequence comprehension, but they will not actually be able to think original thoughts.  What we are witnessing is the destruction of imagination on an extremely large scale.

What remains to be seen is whether or not there is enough balance to keep the world spinning once these children are all grown up.  Will there be a place in it for everyone, and will there be enough of a grey area to not have the two extremes constantly at a stalemate?

Hubby and I have had countless discussions about this. While I agree that our children need to learn how to cope with hardship I believe that it’s just as important for them to learn to let loose a little and not take themselves too seriously.  Parents?  Teachers?  What are your thoughts?

So, yes, I’m a couple of weeks late.  Bear with me, my schedule lately has been brutal with no internet access if I’m not home.

At Beltaine we celebrate the sacred union of the Maiden and the Youth and the beginning of a time of creativity and vibrancy.  Even with symbols like the maypole this can sometimes be an abstract concept for children or the uninitiated to grasp.  When I started this blog  my aim was not to educate about Wiccan traditions or practices but to share m experiences and offer some practical advice as a parent and neighbour who doesn’t even own a broom closet.  Wiccan parenting doesn’t have to be  ostentatious, and celebrating in our own backyard doesn’t have to be strange and alienating.  This year we went a step further, as we had children and people present who are not part of a practicing household.  Instead of alienating ourselves and our guests, we made our Beltaine celebration a more ecumenical event.

We lit a modest fire in our metal fire pit, and Hubby and I blessed it with a jovial incantation and a custom blended incense.  A few people were already present, and they merrily sang with us.  The rest added a stick to the fire as they entered in order to contribute their energy to the celebration.  We sang simple chants everyone could learn and remember and danced around the fire until we were exhausted.  I even taught the children to poi with practice, non-fire-bearing poi balls.  All this allowed the children to start building a foundation of knowledge and understanding of Beltaine and raising energy in a fun and lighthearted way and kept up the energy for the night.  At one point the new neighbour came over with his beer and sat with us, watching the dancing and listening to the singing.  He and other people around the fire chatted as one of our newest little sisters practiced her tarot skills.

This experience was the embodiment of our aim for our household.  Yes, we’re poly.  Yes, we’re Wiccan.  Yes, we’re organic and “green”.  None of that means we have to be apologetic or undercover.  None of that means we have to keep our lifestyle hidden from our children until they’re “old enough to understand”.  Our secondaries will not be Aunt So-and-So or Uncle Whojamcallit.  We live in a world where having same-sex parents is not uncommon, but generally more accepted and open than pagan or poly ones.  Sometimes this is dependent on the climate of tolerance where we live.  Other times it’s self-imposed because we feel it’s something taboo or too difficult or “adult” for children to understand.  This is a cop-opt.  If we can teach Catholic children about a mad being crucified, we can teach them about the sacred union just as innocuously.  There is a way to be honest with our children and our communities without being over the top and obnoxious, and it’s happening more and more every day.  Food for though, my two cents, and all that.

Go now, share your joy!

Namaste.

I read a fantastic piece of news today from Domestic Witchery Examiner.  Having gone to Catholic schools all my life, this was never an issue for me; only Christian holidays were observed or excused.  Anything else was a reported absence.  Even with a note I would’ve caught Hell for missing a day for a sabbat.

It seems that a mother in New Jersey wrote a note in advance for her daughter to be excused from school to attend Yule and was told the absence would be noted as excused but that Yule was not included on the schools approved holidays.  After being repeatedly brushed-off, and after swimming through several bureaucratic channels of command,  the girl’s mother, who is a reverend in her tradition threatened legal action.  The vote finally reached a state level, and New jersey’s 2010-2011 will include all eight Wiccan/Pagan sabbats.  I would like to make a couple comments about this, besides the obvious or expected ‘it’s about time!”

I would first like to express gratitude to the friends, family, and supporters of this woman, many who are not Pagan, who wrote letters to the Board of Education asking that this expression of religious freedom be extended to the Pagan/Wiccan community.  From my family and many around the country dealing with the sometimes daunting task of raising children in a Pagan/Wiccan household, thank you.

More importantly I would like to send a huge “shame on you!” to the forums and message boards this woman went to for support who told her it was not their problem because they don’t have children.  As a community often misunderstood and omitted from opportunities afforded other religious systems, we need to support each other as often and as outwardly as possible.  There are innumerable families out here who are no longer content to raise our children in the broom closet, who are no longer hiding our beliefs from our children like a dark secret, and who should not be any more afraid to wear a pentagram necklace than we would a crucifix or a Star of David.  We are ignored enough without it coming from within our own community, and this level of disownership of a prominent member is unacceptable.

That being said, this is still a marked victory, and New Jersey just moved up a peg on my list, even if it still smells funny.

There is no way to list all the women in history who have changed the world in which we live.  Just the same there is no rubric for which ones deserve the most acclaim and the unique privilege of being written about in the blog of yours truly.  If I sat and poured over the timeline of women’s history, I’d end up with an overwhelming number of women who made it possible to even have such a blog, or even the ability to read and write.  Let’s get a little more personal than all that and honor the women who have made the most impact on my history.  The list is long, but I will cover a few.

Let’s start at birth.  I come from a long line of strong women on both sides.  My great-grandmothers overcame hardships and stigmas, and sometimes had to be a little creative or daring,  to make sure their families were provided for.  While one worked as a Rosie the Riveter, another sold moonshine from her basement during Prohibition.  My grandmothers  joined the work force as career women.  My mother, a diabetic since early childhood, knew the risks of continuing her pregnancy with me but did it anyway.  She lost her sight in the process.  Not only did she adapt, and being discontent with being “disabled”, she flourished in both her career at a local community college and her personal life.  She made sure I always knew I was loved, and she never sacrificed a good time.  Beautiful both inside and out, she taught me through her actions and words that grace and strength are not exclusive to each other.  Without this I would not be the woman I am today.

There have been several teachers in my life who have made a huge difference.  My 5th grade teacher, Ms Borges fed the writing bug and encouraged me to write poetry.  We still talk to this day.  She may be appalled to find my writing success is thus far limited to the scope of a blog.  Then I went to high school, an all female, former boarding school connected to a Catholic convent, whose catch phrase at the time was, “Where Young Women Exceed Expectations!”  There I encountered the likes of Ms. Sutter, lovingly referred to as Ms Debbie.  I may have been less than adept at the French language, but I learned invaluable lessons about individuality that have given me the courage to be the woman I want to be instead of the woman others want me to be.  There were other women on the administration who inspired me and taught me more about myself than about the subjects they covered, because while I remember very little about high school physics I will always be prepared to prove my worth and strength as a person rather than as a woman.

Last but not least, and I hope I don’t embarrass her, is one of my best friends.  I have watched her sacrifice everything she has for her son, friends, sisters, and parents without asking for anything in return.  One of my first female friends in Philadelphia, she became like a sister to me years later as roommates.  She has coached and held me through sickness, break-ups, and personal crises, and has never judged me for any of it.  She is a beacon of perseverance and the quintessence of resilience.  I have seen her bounce back from a fall more times than I can count, and she never lets it get her down for too long.  Because of her I am never afraid to be an individual, nor do I view mistakes as fatal.  She has taught me to laugh at myself and never take anyone too seriously.  She embodies the saying, “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  Thank you, Cat, for always being willing to laugh at me, and for always being honest even if it might hurt my feelings.

This list is by no means complete, but these women are on my mind and in my heart as I look up at posters of Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie.  The women I have written about deserve a bit of recognition for the impact they have had on my world every bit as much as any woman in a history book.  Think about the women in  your own lives, my friends, and whether or not they know what a difference they have made.  Maybe it’s time they learned.

Go now, hug your matriarchs!

Before I can properly convey what makes up a polyamory I feel compelled to clarify what it is not.  Let me start by stating that I am in no way an expert.  I can only speak from my experiences and those of people I have spoken with on the topic.  I had a lot of questions when I entered the lifestyle years ago, and I continue to have questions, but a lot of people stop at misconceptions.  Why is it easier for us to accept false assumptions than to learn and expand our understanding of the world around us?

We will start with the easiest and most obvious of the assumptions out there, “the sex myth”.  Polyamory is not all about sex.  Let me repeat that.  Polyamory is not all about sex. There are situations where the relationship, like many monogamous and non-dating relationship, is built around sex.  A couple may even have a situation where sex is as far as it goes with other partners, but polyamory as a lifestyle is not only about being able to have sex with other people without it being called cheating.  I know people who have tried to fix a faltering marriage by making it polyamorous.  All this did was feed insecurities and pit each partner against the other.  People with sex addiction often try to use polyamory to quell desires.  This is a detrimental and  destructive behaviour, and is not what polyamory as a social movement is about.

The second most common myth I have come across is the belief that a couple will use the lifestyle to cure problems within their relationship.  Polyamory is not evidence of an unsatisfying sex life or one persons lack of desire, love, maturity, or happiness with his or her partner.  The truth in a successful poly situation is generally the opposite.  A couple can not venture in this direction unless their relationship is strong, secure, and honest.  If I could not trust Hubby to be committed to our unity I would never feel comfortable with either of us having other partners.  I have to be secure in my position as his wife and not let myself fall prey to paranoia.  I also have to have faith in myself and honest about my emotions and needs to avoid engaging in dishonest or hurtful behaviour and putting my marriage at risk.

My last set of misconceptions is about us, the polyamorists.  While there is a large community of us who are pagans, Wiccans, or agnostics, this is not always the case.  We are also not all kinky or perverse.  Being poly does not imply group play or unconventional sex practices.  It merely implies one has more than one partner with which to have one’s mundane vanilla sex.

A  polyamorous relationship is never as cut and dry as it may seem to an outsider.  It requires balance, compromise, constant communication, and a willingness to accept that things change.  People change.  Emotions can not be predicted, and even in the most secure situation jealousy and suspicions can crop up.

There may be things I have missed or not addressed for innumerable reasons.  I can not possibly cover it all in one article.  I have, however, included a new link in the link section.  It may be a few years old, but good information never gets stale.

So now that I have covered misconceptions I can get on with the rest of the series.  Stay tuned, dear readers, and love who you love!

Blessings!

I have always been a healer and a nurturer.  As a child I had a small army of orphaned baby dolls I had taken under my wing.  In my teenage years I realized my love of working with children in care homes and those with special needs, and from that point it was a goal of mine to make my life about healing and enriching the lives of those who are often unseen in our society.  In all these aspects I was guided internally to touch and sooth.  An ex-boyfriend of mine used to call them “magick hands”.

A few years ago I realized my role as a healer on the path and a talent for helping people heal themselves.  Not long after Hubby and I started working with the coven we are now a part of I took on a very personal relationship with the goddess Brighid, particularly as healer though I relate to her also as poet, warrior, and craftswoman.  She has guided me in healing and soothing the bodies, minds, and hearts of people who find themselves opening up to me without knowing why, and I turn to her when I feel too weak to fulfill my role.

Last year I began to pursue what I felt needed to be my next step.  A former girlfriend and good friend of mine had been a Reiki practitioner for several years, and through her I came to understand its universal benefit.  After several attempts I found a Master who fit me and my needs, and this past Sunday I was formally taught and quite beautifully ceremoniously attuned.  Krissy was an amazing teacher and has done a great job of following up with her students and keeping in touch with them regularly.  I do not know when I will be able to attend one of her Reiki shares or continuation classes, but I look forward to continuing to learn from her and her other students.  This is a big step for me.  It is a chance to continue my education and to grow as a healer.  It helps me understand myself and my body, and I fully intend to pursue a Master level so I can extend this opportunity to grow and change th world with others.

The main thing I love about Reiki is its universal application.  One does not have to be Pagan or even extremely spiritual for it to work.  One has only to be open to the energy and the possibilities of being well.  This, to me, is the beauty of Reiki.  To some people it is a highly spiritual experience.  To others it is more like a massage or a workout.  Whether or not the receiver knows what or where a chakra is or what the colours and bells and whistles represent, she can still have a wonderful experience.  In my opinion, that is what life is all about, experiences.

I’ve linked Krissy’s site if any of you dear readers have questions or would like to know more about Reiki.  If you can get to Delaware for her classes, I highly recommend it.  Otherwise, if this is something you would like to pursue, and it is something you are meant to do, the right Master will come to you.

Now, go make a new experience today!

~*Namaste*~

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