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  • Writer's picturePriya Thomas

Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: A Journey into Mindful Thinking for Children

Welcome to our book of the month feature, where we explore literature that can make a significant impact on our children’s lives. This June, Dr. Thomas from Mindful Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine has selected a heartwarming tale that teaches us about the power of thoughts: “Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?” by Byron Katie and Hans Wilhelm. This story is not just a narrative; it’s a tool that helps children navigate their emotions and thoughts in a way that fosters joy and resilience.

The Power of Thoughts Our thoughts are powerful. They can shape our reality, influence our emotions, and dictate our responses to the world around us. “Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?” centers on this very concept, showing young readers how negative thinking can cloud our perception and affect our emotional well-being. The book encourages children to question their thoughts, a practice that can lead to a more positive outlook on life.

The Story of Tiger-Tiger The protagonist, a little tiger named Tiger-Tiger, feels unloved and abandoned. His journey of self-discovery begins when a wise turtle challenges his negative beliefs with four simple questions. Through this interaction, Tiger-Tiger learns that his problems are not caused by the events in his life but by his thoughts about those events. This realization is a powerful lesson for children, teaching them that they have control over their inner narrative.

The Four Questions The four questions posed by the wise turtle are a simplified version of a process known as “The Work” by Byron Katie. These questions help Tiger-Tiger—and young readers—challenge and transform their negative thoughts. By applying these questions, children can learn to separate their thoughts from their circumstances, leading to a more joyful and fulfilling life.

The Role of the Wise Turtle The turtle in the story serves as a mentor, guiding Tiger-Tiger towards a path of self-reflection and mindfulness. This character’s role highlights the importance of having supportive figures in children’s lives who can teach them valuable life skills. The turtle’s wisdom is a beacon of hope, showing that guidance and understanding can come from those around us if we are open to it.

Applying the Lessons The lessons from “Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?” are not just for storytime; they can be woven into daily life. Parents and educators can use the book as a starting point for discussions about feelings and thoughts. Additionally, mindfulness activities like “Teddy breathing,” “Mandala coloring,” and “Glitter jar” creation can complement the book’s message and help children practice mindfulness.

  1. Glitter Jar Creation Creating a glitter jar can be both a craft activity and a mindfulness tool. Children can shake the jar and watch the glitter settle, which can serve as a metaphor for calming their minds. As the glitter settles, so do their thoughts.

  2. Teddy Breathing Children can practice mindful breathing by lying down with a stuffed animal on their belly. As they breathe in and out, they can watch the stuffed animal rise and fall, which helps them become more aware of their breathing and encourages relaxation.

  3. Mindfulness Books Reading stories that incorporate mindfulness lessons can be a great way for children to learn. Choose books that include characters who face challenges and learn to overcome them through mindful thinking and questioning their thoughts.

  4. Five-Finger Gratitude Exercise Encourage children to think of five things they are grateful for, using their fingers to count. This practice helps them focus on positive aspects of their lives and fosters a sense of appreciation.

  5. Mandala Coloring Coloring mandalas can be a calming activity that allows children to focus on the present moment. The intricate patterns require concentration and can be a meditative practice.

“Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?” is more than a story; it’s a transformative experience for children. It teaches them that while they may not have control over every aspect of their lives, they do have control over their thoughts. By questioning and understanding their thoughts, children can find happiness and peace within themselves. We hope this book brings a smile to your child’s face and serves as a valuable tool for fostering mindfulness and positivity. Remember, the journey to mindfulness begins with a single question: Is it true?

1 comment

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7 days ago

Hi, Dr. Thomas -

I love this recommendation! I have Byron Katie’s book and am familiar with “The Work”. I didn’t know she’d written this in a way that children can comprehend. Thanks so much!

Olivia Shoffner

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