Walking the talk

The family creates a space in which we are, all of us, able to share, express, promote and make real our values. When we are operating within other people’s systems, that can be harder to do, but in our own homes and family groups, we have the freedom to construct our own ways of doing.

Part of the joy of this, is that there is no one true way. It just requires some thought, creativity, discussion and willingness to explore. If you have beliefs, or ideals, how can you best express those in your private life? Every choice we make, every action we undertake and everything we choose not to be, contributes to the sum of who we are. My feeling is that while what goes on inside anyone’s head is important to them, the real measure of a person lies in what they do.

Here’s a few areas of life to consider. Do please post comments, it’s great to hear how other people handle things.

How do you resolve conflict within your family? How are rules decided (if you have them, and you might choose not to), and who has the right to question, change or shape them? Is there authority, and if so, why, and how does it function? Do you take votes, seek consensus, or does someone make all the decisions?

What responsibilities to individuals have, for themselves, and as duties to each other? What responsibilities do people have for maintaining space, connections, for celebrating, care giving, listening etc?

What do you prioritise? Is your household governed by financial concerns? Is sustainable living the ideal that underpins everything you do? Is family life geared for maximum ease and convenience? And if so, whose? Does earning power equate to the right to make spending decisions? Do you give equal weight to non-economic activities that support your clan? How much energy is given to those outside your clan? Who much time and energy is invested into care and mutual support?

If we look at older cultures for inspiration, the Celts and Norse alike had guidelines about hospitality, care giving, duty, loyalty, responsibility and justice. These are things that, as pagans, we should take seriously and manifest in our lives. Changing our entire culture is perhaps ambitious, but the more we can do at home and with those immediately around us, the more scope we have for creating change.

It’s impossible to live ethically, or honourably without thought. Contemplate what you do, and why. Imagine how you would like the world to be, and where you can, act as though the world was already like that. You don’t need the folk around you to be pagan for it to work.

One thought on “Walking the talk”

  1. I love this topic because it goes to the heart of family and community building at it’s core. Everyone has to ask themselves what they want from their closest and most meaningful relationships. On my part, I read this article from Mothering magazine, which has a vibrant Pagan community in it’s forums: http://bit.ly/aUEM5C. The article gives a strategy for regular family meetings that both honors the needs of each participant while still allowing things to be resolved in timely and effective ways. My husband and I began holding the meetings with our then 3 month old daughter by our side, and now, almost a year later, we are much more harmonious and open.

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