Jayneen Sanders is truly a gift to all parents, carers and educators. Jayneen herself is an educator and she is an advocate committed to empowering children around body safety, gender, equality and respectful relationships. She is also a publishing powerhouse with over 100 published stories. Jayneen takes tough and tricky topics and breaks them down into digestible, age-appropriate content. Her books provide fabulous scaffolds for adults to have discussions with children about big, worldly issues. We are HUGE fans of her Little BIG Chats series. Over on the Educate2Empower website, Jayneen shares so many free resources to help adults empower children.
I am… Jayneen Sanders, author, teacher and mother of three amazing and inspiring adult women. I live in the Dandedong Ranges, SE of Melbourne with my wonderful life and work partner, Mark Sanders. We have lived on our 27 acres for over 25 years and we both absolutely love it here. We have two dogs: Wanna and Pademelon (Paddy) and five horses (eeekkk far too many). Even though it’s quiet and peaceful on our farm, the wildlife is abundant. We have magpies, eagles, rosellas, kookaburras, cockatoos, wallabies, wombats, deer and a few too many rabbits.
I find inspiration… Children inspire me. The teacher in me only wants the best for kids. They are born into this world ready to learn and grow, and adults really need to be mindful of their influence, both negative and positive. I love listening to kids’ stories and their perspectives on life. I’ve learned so much from children that is insurmountable. I have always looked at life as a gift. We can choose to look at situations from a negative or positive framework. I always try to choose ‘positive’— as best I can. As the Dalai Lama says, ‘We are visitors on this planet. We are here for 90 or 100 years at the very most. During that period, we must try to do something good, something useful, with our lives.’ I try to live by that quote.
I am excited about … exploring ’wide open spaces’. Mark and I hope to travel across Australia in the not-so-distance future and I’m so excited to go to isolated and beautiful places. I want to visit country towns, long white beaches, old forests. I want to wander and wonder slowly and mindfully. I want to slow down time and soak up what is around me. I see the world through a lens of colour, shape and texture, and I am always imagining and inventing stories.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… walk in the forest in Olinda with Paddy. I watch him play with the other puppies. I sit and stare up at the massive gum trees surrounding me and feel immensely grateful. I might go to Phillip Island and walk along the beach behind San Reno or walk along the coastal path that skirts around the cliff tops. Or I might buy a fish burger at Sam Remo and sit on the pier. Sometimes, on a sunny day, I go to Churchill Island, get a coffee and then walk beside the lavender field that overlooks Port Phillip Bay.
I’m really proud of… ‘gifting’ ’my children’s book ‘My Body! What I Say Goes!’ to World Vision India. They translated it into 10 Indian languages and printed over a million copies to give to kids in poorer areas. They also in-serviced 900 teachers in how to use the book so they could go out into communities to educate kids in Body Safety. I then wrote and ‘gifted’ another book specifically for World Vision India entitled ‘My Body! My Rules!’. This book is a guide for teenagers in Body Safety, consent, self-esteem and respectful relationships. It was also translated into 10 Indian Languages and large numbers printed.
Someone once told me… ‘Everywhere I go there I am.’ This is so true. There is no use distracting yourself with work or travel or love unless you have sorted out your own issues first because they will always pop up again, no matter how hard you try to run away from them.
My advice to you is …
I should never give any advice unless I am asked.