It’s Book Sharing Monday from Smiling Like Sunshine! We read a lot of books in this family and I love hearing from other parents when they come across a book that their kids liked. So, I’m going to be adding weekly posts about books that my kids recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across that might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing
by Byron Katie
I made the mistake of taking Nat with me to pick up a costume that I had found on Craigslist. I didn’t want to spend 40 minutes to drive home and back, when the person selling the costume was 5 minutes from where we were. He spent the next 4 days whining at me and telling me how unfair I was not to let him have the costume right away. He told me how mad and sad it made him. I tried to keep my patience as best I could while still gently explaining that I was working on not getting mad with him. I explained that I was glad that he was using his words to express his feelings and that I would listen.
We pulled out a few books to help talk about the difference between him and his feelings. We talked about how he could try to choose how to feel about something. It is hard to remember that nothing can “make” you feel a certain way when you are feeling overwhelmed.
“Tiger, Tiger, Is It True?” is the story of a Tiger cub who is having a rotten day. He thinks life is unfair as he has one thing after another happen to add to this feeling. He meets up with a turtle who asks him to question his suppositions about his feelings and other people “making” him feel alone, unheard, and undervalued. He listens to Tiger Tiger say things like, “Nobody cares about me.” and asks, “Are you certain this is true that NO ONE care about you?” Then gently guides Tiger Tiger to see that this is not completely true and in the process, diffuses the feelings of sadness and frustration.
My son got the message loud and clear. He then proceeded to tell me that he was choosing to stay frustrated about not getting his costume because he wanted it so much. I said that I understood his choice and I knew that he felt heard. I began suggesting that he think of way to compromise. He didn’t want to wait, yet couldn’t afford to buy the costume. We don’t pay our kids for doing things around the house. They get their weekly money because they are a part of the family. Everyone in our family contributes to household chores and everyone earns weekly money. My son suggested that he forego his allowance for the next month to help pay for the costume. To get the costume now, instead of waiting until he had enough money, he decided to be a “big helper.” Then, he would ask again if I felt he was ready for his costume.
He truly was a big helper and I did give him his costume later when he asked. It was interesting because he did not express that he was doing chores to “earn” his costume, but rather he was helping to show how seriously he took enjoying the costume. We talked about Tiger, Tiger and he said that being a big helper was like Tiger Tiger riding his bike with his best friends in the book. It felt good!
This book was written by Byron Katie, who wrote, among other books, the adult version of this “Tiger, Tiger” called: Loving What Is, Four Questions That Can Change Your Life. I highly recommend checking it out as well if you like the message in this children’s book. The idea that you can break the cycle of your thoughts has been extremely helpful to me in my journey to break PPD’s hold, as well as in every day life (especially in parenting.)
Activities to create with this book:
- When a child is calmed from a tantrum or other difficult emotional period, grab some puppets or small toys and perform a show with your child in which you ask the turtle’s questions. Then flip it, so your child has a turn to ask some questions. You’ll be pleasantly surprised what comes out in this type of freeplay.
- Get outside in the grass and do some Yoga, pretending to be animals: such as a tiger, turtle, zebra, rhinoceros. You can look up some Yoga poses or just use your imagination to pose your bodies like the animals. Think of the characteristics both physical and the ones exemplified in the book (for example, the turtle is slow and deliberate. The zebra is flighty and carefree.)
- Go to the waterside and skip stones or toss rocks. Talk about the ripples and how they affect one another when they meet up. Talk about the state of the stone in and out of the water. Observe that even though the rock may be wet or dry, still or moving, seen or unseen, it remains a rock. It reacts to its environment but its nature isn’t changed by it.
- Act out being frustrated and ask your child to be the one to calm you. Wail and moan. Stomp your feet. Talk about how unfair everything is. Wish for someone like turtle to help you choose to feel differently about these things.
- Some tiger printables and activities to use with this book from Coloring.ws. I like doing the coloring pages side by side at times and telling our own version of the story together, taking turns with the events and allowing it to spin into a totally new tale.
- Mean Soup Book Review (touchstonez.com)
- Book Review: Namaste! (touchstonez.com)
- Review of Little Yoga and Sleepy Little Yoga Books (touchstonez.com)
- Books Blog and Buddha Bubbling Up (touchstonez.com)
- Peaceful Piggy Meditation Book Review for Book Sharing Monday (touchstonez.com)
- Zen Ties Children’s Book Review for Book Sharing Monday (touchstonez.com)