Over the weekend, Tim and I went for a walk in some local woods to collect Spring leaves and flowers to decorate our house with. After all, Beltane is a lovely celebration in itself, but with us expecting a baby this year, it felt right to honour the new life that is appearing after the harsh winter.
It was so lovely to get out and about again, as we used to go for regular walks in nature and it is so calming, relaxing and rejuvenating. And, thanks to finally starting to feel a bit better, I was able to enjoy being out in nature just for the sheer pleasure of it.
And this, of course, got me thinking. I wondered how it would be walking in the woods with a child, at every age through his or her childhood, and how what we show him or her will impact how he or she sees the world. Will our child share our absolute joy as just being out in nature, or will it be something that mum and dad just drag him or her out to every so often?
But more than this, I wondered about the spiritual aspect of it all. You may have read my previous posts on faith and spirituality, and have figured out that Tim and I are rather unconventional in terms of what we believe. We do not follow a single religion, although if we did we would be classed much more as Pagan than anything else.
We believe in the interconnectedness of all life, and so we honour nature and the earth as much as we honour any God or Goddess. We try to thank the earth for providing such beautiful surroundings for us to walk in, and we try to remember to thank each tree when we take something from it. We often stop to offer Reiki or simply "connect" with a tree, plant or piece of the earth by sitting close and meditating. I say we often do this, but we haven't done so for quite some time, and I miss it.
You see, because we don't follow or practise a single religion, we don't have a group or regular meeting to "kick us up the butt" when we become lax and decide that it is too much effort. And this is something I want to change for when our child is born, because I want our child to know how special we feel that everyone and everything in this world is, and I want to do this through "showing" him or her, rather than simply telling them.
Which brings us to another aspect of the whole faith and parenting question: how do I do this, whilst allowing my child the freedom to explore, discover and express his or her own take on the world around us? My faith is personal to me, and I know that Tim and I differ significantly in some areas regarding what exactly we believe. This is what I love about our relationship, that we can respect each other and still come together and share in those aspects we agree on. And I want the same for my child... I want him or her to grow up knowing what mum and dad both believe, but also knowing that what he or she feels deep inside his or her own heart is what matters most.
I hope that our child will learn to love nature the way we have, and enjoy celebrating the changes in the seasons as the years flow by. I want nothing more than to share our love of Reiki (for it was this love that first brought Tim and me together), and I would love to take our child to places like Glastonbury and allow him or her to feel the magic of such places. But I also want my child to know that whatever path he or she chooses will be respected by us.
And I guess, the best way I can think to do this, is to share not only the celebrations that Tim and I love, but also to introduce our child to the celebrations of other faiths, through showing him or her that each religion has its own way of seeing the divine and asking him or her to notice the similarities and differences between each one. That way, I hope to instill a sense of respect for all people, no matter what their background or faith, because this is so important to me. I just hope I can do so positively and in a way that does not confuse my child too much, for I know it has confused me in the past and still continues to do so sometimes!
Isn't parenting both exciting and scary? Our baby isn't even here yet and I cannot help but think of all the ways we can nurture him or her through the rest of their life.