Book: Parenting Pagan Tots by Janet Callahan
Rating: 4 stars
Being a parent is challenging. I believe that being a Pagan parent is even more challenging. We do not have the same resources available as other mainstream religions. When I go to the local bookstore, there are shelves and shelves of parenting books from the perspective of the Abrahamic religions. However, the store does not carry a single book on parenting from a Pagan or Wiccan perspective. Parenting Pagan Tots by Janet Callahan seeks to help fill that gap and provide ideas for building Pagan family traditions that include children.
Tots & Timelines
The book is divided into three sections. First, the book addresses whether or not to teach children any religion at all. Personally, I was raised in a household where religion was not a choice. It was imposed upon me. I definitely don’t intend to continue that tradition. However, I also don’t want to over compensate too far in the other direction either by not teaching anything. Callahan advocates teaching children religion from the beginning. In my opinion, she makes a compelling argument.
The reasoning is simple: the world is a magical place for children from day one. Giving them a framework to build on, and traditions our family follows, gives them a sense of stability, and the ability to call on the Divine no matter how old they are or what problems they face.Janet Callahan
The author provides a general overview of a child’s developmental stages from birth to four years old; however, she emphasizes that every family and child is different. As someone with a disabled family member, I greatly appreciate that the book includes those with challenges and disabilities. The author acknowledges that there is not a one size fits all approach.
The next section of the book addresses tools such as stories, altars and energy work. Since the author is a Reiki Master, the section on energy work is quite thorough and interesting. The author strongly advocates the use of nature tables, which is popular in Waldorf Schools. I had never heard of the Waldorf teaching method prior to reading this book. I definitely plan to research it further.
The book provides a lot of practical advice for introducing children to herbs, scents and stones. I enjoyed how the author included stories about her own children throughout the book.
The next section on traditions is by far my favorite part of the book. Personally, I don’t have picture perfect memories of holiday traditions from my childhood. For the most part, I don’t have many memories of holiday traditions at all. Not that having few traditions is bad or good, but it just isn’t what I personally want. I want to have meaningful family traditions. I love reliability and familiarity. Parenting Pagan Tots points out that small children do as well.
Tots thrive on knowing what comes next, and our faiths are built on many old traditions, so it is a wonderful match.Janet Callahan
The book includes child friendly traditions for the Sabbats and Esbats. I wish the book included more advice on celebrating holidays with family members of other faiths; however, the author admits that is still a work in progress for her family as well.
The book concludes with an excellent resource section. A couple of the hyperlinks no longer work; however, the suggested reading list is excellent. The book includes additional resources for Pagan kids, Pagan parenting, prayer books and holidays.
My only criticism of this book would be that I wish it was much longer. It is only 62 pages. I read the entire book in one afternoon. That being said, it is full of helpful information. I hope that the author writes many more books in the future.
I found the book through an Amazon search. Currently, it is available in paperback and digital format. I purchased the Kindle edition for $2.99. As of today, Amazon is selling the paperback edition for $7.99.
Links and Further Reading
Here is a link to Janet Callahan’s website. She has a blog and currently offers several online courses related to Pagan parenting. I hope to take the “Start your own Pagan Kids Group” course at some point in the future.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Do you have any Pagan parenting book recommendations? Please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you.