New from Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community, and illustrated with colorful drawings by Wietske Vriezen, Planting Seeds is a beautiful compilation of activities, stories, and advice on teaching mindfulness to children.
As the book makes clear, attempting mindfulness practice with kids is not without its challenges — or its rewards. A nun at Plum Village speaks about a child, James, who was the ringleader of a group of boys who refused to behave and participate in the activities with the rest of the group. Not wanting to yell or force him, the nun sat back and allowed him and his friends to do what they wanted. At the end of the week James approached her, looking vulnerable and scared, and asked if he could hug her. As he clung tightly to her neck she realized that he had picked up the teachings of the week despite his rowdiness. Planting Seeds is full of such personal stories of monks, nuns, teachers, children, and parents.
Thich Nhat Hanh also answers children’s questions on a variety of topics. One child asks, What should we do when other children make fun of us? Thay, as the Zen teacher is lovingly known, teaches that one should breathe and smile, showing that you are peaceful and that you won’t give yourself over to anger. But he also recognizes that when a bully goes too far children must defend themselves by telling a trusted adult.
Planting Seeds acts as a sort of workbook for teaching and cultivating mindfulness with children and provides a CD, activities, cut-out cards, and much more.