A collection of Nhat Hanh’s answers to the most universal and illuminating questions posed by children. Is Nothing Something? begins with the most basic questions and progresses through issues with which we all wrestle with, no matter our age. “A good question doesn’t need to be long,” says Thich Nhat Hanh. “If it comes from your heart, it can help a lot of people. These questions are real questions that real children have asked.
Each page presents one question with a direct response to hard problems children encounter in daily life, including: “I just moved to a new school. How do I make friends?”, “Why is my brother mean to me?” and, “How do I know if I really love somebody?”
With full color illustrations by Jessica McClure, and a complete children’s biography of Thich Nhat Hanh, along with basic, kid-friendly instructions for mindful breathing and mindful walking. Both humorous and profound, Is Nothing Something? will help adults plant the seeds of mindfulness in the young children in their lives. It’s the perfect resource for kids with questions, adults looking to answer them, and anyone with questions of their own.
Wisdom knows no age, and neither does curiosity, or dissatisfaction. You can spend your life and life’s saving trying to find answers to the future, but you will miss out on the present, and be no happier.—Daniel Hills, The Intelligent Optimist
I just moved to a new school. How do I make friends? A new school can be very exciting. Don’t worry. Just allow things to happen. New friends will come to you, if you are ready. When you go to the mountains for vacation, you will discover many beautiful trees and flowers and things that you have never seen before. You can’t predict what you will see. A new school is like that.
What should I do when I feel sad? A wonderful thing to do is smile to your sadness. This is a very simple practice but it has a great effect. Your smile is like the sunshine. There can be sunshine with the rain. You can smile and cry at the same time and it will be like you are making a rainbow.
Why do I sometimes feel lonely and that no one loves me? Sometimes the people around you are distracted and may forget to express their love. But if you feel like no one loves you, you can always look outside at the natural world. Do you see a tree out there? That tree loves you. It offers its beauty and freshness to you and gives you oxygen so you can breathe. The Earth loves you, offering you fresh water and delicious fruit for you to eat. The world expresses its love in many ways, not just with words.
What should you do if someone feels bad and you want to comfort that person and make him or her feel better? One of the simplest and most loving things you can do for someone who feels bad is just to be with them and breathe with them. You can say, “I am here for you.” You are offering your presence, which is the most wonderful gift you can offer another person.
I love my grandfather but he died. How can he still be with me? If your loved one isn’t there in his familiar form, look for him in his new forms. A kernel of corn grows into a corn stalk, and the stalk makes an ear of corn, which contains new kernels. Your grandfather is like the original corn kernel and you are the new corn kernel. In this way, you are his continuation. Your grandfather is still alive in every cell of your body. You can have as many conversations with him as you want.