A Mindful Meditation on the Mysteries of Life, for Children
by Dona Matthews, co-author of Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids
There were tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart as I read And So It Goes, written and illustrated by Paloma Valdivia, an award-winning Chilean illustrator and writer. Ms Valdivia hits just the right note of compassionate understanding of children’s tender innocence and wonder, while simultaneously being straightforwardly honest about the pain of grief and reminding them of the joys of life.
Very young children often wonder about death and worry about it, whether or not they experience it closely in their own lives. If you have a sensitive child who is asking questions about death, and if you are open to a contemplative acceptance of the mysteries of life, I can highly recommend And So It Goes.
This book is a wonderful resource for families coping with loss, as well as with other changes that parents might be happy about, but that children don’t always welcome, including a new baby or a move away from friends and family. There’s a lovely sense of the mystery of life itself, a light touch that emphasizes the importance of doing the best we can with what we have, here and now: “Those of us here are just here. And so we’d best enjoy ourselves.”
And So It Goes is mindfulness in practice, a thoughtful meditation for parents as well as children. It is a comforting reminder of the inevitability of change, and the importance of appreciating everything and everyone we have in this moment.
Parents may feel they should avoid discussing death and loss with their children, but even toddlers appreciate our honesty. Children worry when they don’t understand and will be comforted by the gentle acceptance of the changing nature of life itself that Paloma Valdivia captures so beautifully, both in the words and the whimsical illustrations in this book.
I love the easy balance between sadness and celebration, and the deft subtlety of Ms. Valdivia’s philosophical musings: “For a fleeting moment, those who leave and those who arrive cross paths in the air. They wish each other happiness.”
And So It Goes feels deeply imbued with a true understanding of the pain of loss and grief. It honors that pain, while reassuring young children that life goes on: “And so it goes, just as spring follows winter. Some arrive while others take their leave.”
Written by Dr. Dona Matthews
& Dr. Joanne Foster
From two internationally recognized experts in the field of gifted education comes this timely exploration of how best to nurture a child’s unique gifts, and set them on a path to a happily productive life — in school and beyond.
Drawing on the latest research in brain development and education theory, Beyond Intelligence is a must-read for today’s parents and educators.