Over the past week or so I've published three blogs on the subject of "Asatru, ancestors, and descendants." This constant emphasis on the family lineage implies the duty to have children.
So what does Asatru, as practiced in the AFA, say about the childless?
Some people never have children. Maybe they just never got married. Perhaps they have some genetic condition they understandably don't want to pass on to another generation. And there are some Asatruar who understand themselves well enough to know they'd be really bad parents.
The dysfunctional nature of many American families is enough to turn some otherwise good mothers and fathers ainst the idea of marriage and children. Hopefully these men and women will find the fortitude to give it a try despite their own bad experiences.
In traditional Indo-European societies, the first child was considered the debt paid to the ancestors for the gift of life. Passing on the family name was considered a very important goal. So should it be for us. I have listed a number of valid reasons for not having children (selfishness is not one of them), but in general it is good to have offspring.
Parenting is hard, and I do not think I have been the best parent in the world, but I do not regret having my two sons...on the contrary, I wish I had had a couple of daughters as well, to balance things out!
But what about those who, when all is said and done, don't have kids? Are they outcast? Second class citizens? Bad Asatruar?
No. They still serve a valuable role - not just generally, as useful and contributing members of the Asatru community, but specifically as people who can guide and teach children, support beleaguered parents, and provide a loving and constructive environment for our young. This form of service probably happens at every Asatru event and in every kindred across the land - or it it doesn't, it should!
The AFA has rightfully established a reputation as a "family friendly" organization. We believe that solid and sound families are the foundation of the Folk, and that they are absolutely essential to the future of our people..and that there are many ways to apply that imperative.
May our families and our Folk live forever!
Asatru Folk Assembly