Yesterday my son asked me about Passover. I told him that Easter weekend was also a Jewish holiday, which led him to ask about Easter. (He was pretty sketchy on the religious bits of Easter–as far as our family’s concerned, Easter is when we pay tribute to Cadbury and their delicious candy eggs.)
I spent dinner explaining the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and explaining the traditional Easter season, from Shrove Tuesday to Easter Sunday. I got hung up on a few Easter details–I couldn’t remember where Palm Sunday fit in and I can’t name all the Biblical plagues–but it was pretty easy to recount the myths and traditions from memory.
You know what I can’t recite from memory? The geneologies of the Greek gods. The sagas of the Norse pantheon. I can spell “Mahershalalhashbaz”* without looking it up, but I can hardly name two or three of the Tuatha de Danann. I’ve read them, but they aren’t settled into my bones the way Christian and Mormon myths are, and it makes me sad. I know that with time at least some of them will sink in that way, but I wish they were already there, rolling off my tongue and into my kids’ lives.
At our house we tell all the stories, and that’s good. I want my kids to grow up in a world alive with stories. We celebrate all the holidays because there is so much worth celebrating.** But I can’t tell all the stories equally, and I wish that I could. I wish I hadn’t wasted quite so much time rereading the Bible and hearing its stories and instead been immersed in some other mythologies for a while.
Pagans with kids often come from a background of Judeo-Christian indoctrination like I do, and we hesitate to force too much religion on our kids. I agree with that to a great degree, but I think when we don’t tell our pagan and secular stories we miss a great opportunity and we may leave our kids feeling disconnected and alone. Stories–of your family, of your culture, of the world–are the roots of our lives, and while I expect my children to grow beyond these roots and choose their own paths in life, I think they need strong roots to support that.
All of which means that I need to be a better bard. Right. I’ll get on that.
*Book of Isaiah. Nailed it! If I couldn’t get behind the Bible (which I couldn’t), it wasn’t for lack of trying.
**Like, all of them. All the Pagan holidays, U.S. cultural holidays like Presidents Day and Labor Day, Christian-Secular stuff like Easter and Christmas, local stuff like Pioneer Day and Summerfest, Pi Day . . . we kind of treat holidays like Pokemon. Gotta catch ’em all.