Question: Why Are Kids Sometimes Not Welcome at Pagan Events?
I was recently planning to attend a big Pagan event, and my husband and I were very excited about going. However, when we asked what sort of kids' activities would be available for our two children, we were told it was an "adults only" gathering! I'm extremely upset about this, because I think it's unfair to people with kids. How are we supposed to teach our children about our spiritual path if we can't even bring them to events where there are other Pagans?
While I understand your frustration to some degree, there are a couple of different issues at play here. First of all, you need to realize that when a public event is held, it's only because a group of volunteers has taken the time to put it together. Chances are good that the folks who are in charge of it have looked at all the options, and that there's a reason that it's adults only. There are a number of possibilities:
- Perhaps organizers didn’t have enough volunteers to coordinate kids' activities, which happens a lot. Someone has to sit at that craft table and make sure no one eats paste while Mom and Dad are off enjoying ritual.
- They may have concerns about ritual nudity. While many Pagans are perfectly comfortable with nudity, we tend to be less than thrilled if our child sees a total stranger naked.
- There may be alcohol available. Perhaps organizers didn't want to go through the hassle of policing your children to make sure no one underage was nipping at the bottle of ritual wine.
- Perhaps the organizers honestly didn’t expect anyone with kids to show up. Did anyone with children get involved in the planning of the event?
- Maybe -- just maybe -- they thought folks might like an afternoon away from their kids. Believe me, if people are attending an event without their own children, the last thing they want to do is hang out with yours.
Also, if you live in a metropolitan area, there's a strong chance that there will be other events in the future at which children are welcome. If there's not, perhaps you could get a group together to work on planning one. Another option is to approach the organizers of this event, explain your concerns, and offer to coordinate kids' activities at future gatherings. Rather than seeing this as "unfair to people with kids," you may want to look at it as an opportunity to fill a need in your local Pagan community.
There is often a tendency to assume that other people are going to do the work for you. However, if you want to see something happen, one of the best ways to make sure it does is to lead the charge yourself. While it's certainly a lot easier to wait for someone else to handle it, if you rely on others to make things change, you might have a very long wait.
Finally, you asked how we're supposed to teach our kids about Pagan beliefs if we can't take them to Pagan events. The thing is, attending a Pagan event doesn’t make someone a Pagan. While it's nice for kids to meet other Pagan kids, the spiritual path often begins at home. It's up to us, as parents, to teach our children about our beliefs, and not depend on other folks to do it for us.
If you're looking for activities to do at home with your kids, and you're not sure where to start, you may want to try some of these ideas out:
- Activities for Pagan Kids
- Pagan and Wiccan-Friendly Books for Kids
- Set Up a Children's Altar
- Rituals for Families with Children