Kate, Sydney, mother of two
 
A Commitment to Children
 
“To me, a commitment to children means looking at them as spiritual, emotional, intellectual as well as physical beings and catering to their needs accordingly.
 
“It means establishing and fostering communities that truly care about the development of children -- where children’s thoughts, opinions and needs are valued and catered for. And it means ensuring that adult interaction with all children is appropriate and respectful.”
 
Neighbourhood class
 
“We have been running a children’s class on a weekly basis in a local park. It is open to all children, the average age being about three years old. The mothers of the children participate actively in the class. We have a lot of fun and it always sparks lively conversations among the mothers. The class has really become the highlight of our week.
 
“The idea behind the class is to help our children develop the spiritual qualities that are within us all. It is to help the children talk about these spiritual qualities and identify with them, and also help them develop the beliefs, habits and behaviours that constitute a spiritual being.
 
“The atmosphere it creates in the neighbourhood is one of openness, inclusiveness and unity. A lot of other activities have started as a result of the class. We have a weekly soccer match followed by dinner in the park with all the families and we have also started a three-monthly spiritual parenting dialogue. The idea behind that is to get all the parents together (dads included) to talk about these spiritual qualities and what we can do as parents to model them and foster them in our families.”
 
Inspiration
 
“My main motivation for being involved in children’s classes comes from having two young children of my own. I am also greatly inspired by the vision of neighbourhoods as centres of activity that are both spiritual and material.
 
“People yearn for a sense of belonging. We are all searching for a safe, loving and nurturing space where children are valued and respected. If we feel we belong and feel that our children belong in a community, we are willing to wholeheartedly serve that community.”