Saturday, October 9, 2010

Neighborhood Children's Classes

this picture is a couple of years old representing some our our children and parents who attended then


Last weekend, we began our year's monthly children class.  We've been doing this at our home for 3 years now, and before that we taught a toddler children's class at the Portland Baha'i Center.  This year, we are taking a different approach.  After attending Badasht Baha'i School this summer, (our first Baha'i summer school together as a family) we felt inspired to set in motion the possibility of opening up our class to our neighborhood children.  I contacted the ATC (Area Teaching Committee) and they were on board right away.  A weekend before the class began, the ATC came to our home to eat, pray, and go out to meet some of our neighbors. 

Mike and I were very tentative about imposing upon our neighbors, so we simply went to people's homes we already knew and invited their children to attend the class, while giving them a flier I had created a few days beforehand.  (It was the first time I've done something like that since college when I posted fliers around college campus kiosks inviting people to come to our Baha'i Club meetings.  (And before that, when I was on my year of service and we invited children to come to a children's class in a model home in Twin Lakes, Michigan.) 

In any case, we have been given the advice to pay attention mostly to what we learn from the "process" of this..because we are in a stage of transforming our Baha'i community(becoming more neighborhood centered)-the way we teach and our sense of community--and blurring the lines between us and them, Baha'i and non-Baha'i..  We are all a part of a community..and it is time to build up our neighborhood communities. 

I think I am an introvert. I love people and I love building friendships, but I also thrive from being able to "regroup" with my thoughts..through journaling, reflecting, etc..  It is possibly outside of my comfort zone to do this.  A part of me has been afraid of going over my head..suddenly finding myself with more than I can handle..Not wanting to become overwhelmed by this.  Having the support of the ATC and our local LSA (local spiritual assembly) is greatly empowering us--making it seem manageable (especially since we have a baby coming in January..and I am also sometimes very tired just being pregnant and trying to keep up with my two children and the house and getting my children to school, etc.. 

So, I have started a new blog on THIS learning process..It seems worthy of its own blog and attention.  Since part of this process is reflection and learning from what works and what doesn't, etc..

We'll see how it goes!  Our family goal is to become more social with our neighbors...and to see what happens from that.  I don't want the agenda to be solely to get the kids to come to the class..I think that would be a big turnoff to them if they felt this was the case.  Part of this is also to give our children opportunities to build friendships within our neighborhood..How wonderful to have friends nearby to go visit and play with!  And now, we are not balancing two schools, it is easier to concentrate on the possible friendships here!  Another reason I am doing this is because I think it is a good idea in general to know our neighbors and to have a sense of what we can offer each other as a community.  If there is ever an earthquake (and here in Oregon, we are on a major fault line)-expected to be a 9!!  We may need each other in such a crisis!  It would be good to know who to check on and what skills each person has in such an event.  And of course--to simply find friendships..  We plan to be in the neighborhood for a long time..Building friendships is never a waste of time. 

The new blog will be at:
http://strivingsaplings.blogspot.com/

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