If you have never read my blog, then you don't know that I have a radio show. If you are reading my blog, you know now at least. The radio show is geared towards Pagan youth; nothing more, nothing less. Once a month I use activities and music for some great learning. The music I have garnered by directly contacting artists for their permission. Because I don't want negative repercussions, I keep all of the emails from those musicians. In contacting various people, I happen to be friends on FB with a musician who is a cousin of one of my good friends. This musician knows me through his cousin, and my ex-husband. His music I really enjoy, so I contacted him. The response I received back was enough to make me stumble backwards for a moment and regather my thoughts. The long and the short of it was that he said "no." Fine, enough said. Unfortunately, he took it a step further. I appreciate that he doesn't support Paganism, but to tell someone that you "find the idea of a Pagan children's show disturbing in itself" is a bit of a stretch and a bit uncalled for, in my humble opinion. Instead of responding out of anger, I took the higher road and thanked him for expressing himself honestly, but also let him know that he may have a misunderstood view of Paganism to call a radio show that he hasn't even listened to disturbing. After that, I let it go, although I will say that since February I have found it quite difficult to listen to his music. Believe it or not, of all the times I have put my iTunes on shuffle, not once have one of his songs played.
So, that was February. I moved on. So, towards the end of August, I received a message from a young someone who comes to me for advice, etc. This person has a friend who has recently found a Pagan path and was hoping I could give them some advice. I told this young someone to have this friend contact me via email or private message on FB. I received a message from that other young someone. In essence, as much as this person had been reading, they felt it was probably best to learn some things from an actual person, or at least seek advice and counsel. What this person wanted was a basic starting point. I ignored (stupidly) the gut feeling of saying talk to your parent first and gave some very basic advice as well as providing said young person with some great links for young Pagans. I was thanked many times. Apparently this young person never had a conversation with their parents because earlier this week I received a call from this person's mother. At the time I was grappling with a certain 16-month old of mine while trying to get ready for open house at one of my other kid's schools, so there wasn't much of a conversation. I was told to never speak to her daughter regarding a Pagan path again (funny it wasn't much of a conversation at all), and that the mother personally didn't hold the beliefs. About the only thing I could get out was "That's fine, but you need to understand that your daughter contacted me, NOT the other way around." She did acknowledge that she knew that. Personally, I wish she wouldn't have caught me so off guard and at a bad time. I would have liked to talk with this mom a little further to see what it truly was that bothered her so much. Was it really the religion thing? Or was it the fact that her daughter went seeking advice from someone other than her parents or a priest regarding her own feelings towards faith and spirituality? Maybe it was even just the fact that it was upsetting to find that her daughter's belief system was different even from her own. No matter what the real reason was, I hope that at least this discovery upon looking at her daughter's FB account will lead to an open conversation between them.
Parents, talk to your kids! Stay involved. Kids, especially you teenagers out there, talk to your parents. Open dialogue is important. Also, don't be so close-minded to think your religion is the only way out there. Being so stringent like that MAKES a kid go to someone else.
Lessons learned. It isn't always easy to be open and out regarding one's religion, particularly in a society that doesn't view your religion as mainstream. Fear brings out the worst in people. This doesn't mean that I will never ask another musician for permission to use their music, as I have continued to do so. That one musician was the only one that said no to having their music put out there internationally. Nor does this mean I will never speak to a young person again, but I will go with my gut feeling of asking if they have approached the subject with their parents. I can only be me. If my being a witch, and openly so, bothers you, then go the other way. While at first what you say to me may offend, I will still turn the other cheek and continue you on my path. I don't go door-to-door advertising my religion or trying to convert anyone. I don't believe in it. Personally, cramming a religion down someone's throat is against every fiber of my being. I may not care for certain religions as a whole, but that doesn't mean I don't have friends who are a part of those religions. Everyone has a path and while they may be different, if you get passed the surface, you will realize how very similar they may be to each other.
Diatribe over. There is no going backwards. Time stands still for no man. There is only moving forward and that is the direction I must go.