Zen Pig author Mark Brown discussed the importance of teaching kids “emotional wellness” in his  new uInterview.

“Long story short, until I was 24 I was making a whole bunch of mistakes,” he told uInterview Founder Erik Meers, “chasing the wrong things. I always wanted a big house, nice car. I wanted status, all these things and you know what you find really quick is that it’s really hollow and it doesn’t bring you any happiness.”

He explained that having a son changed his view on the world and inspired him to write about the themes of “mindfulness, compassion, self-forgiveness and empathy.” “And so, once I had my son Noble and you know I was holding this beautiful baby boy, so innocent and sweet, and I knew how much self imposed suffering that I had done,” he said. “I knew that I wanted to help him way before I did, right? Like I was 24 before I even knew gratitude, this is embarrassing, before I knew gratitude was a skill set and a practice that you could do, and I just wanted to give him that so much earlier than I had it.”

The author described Zen Pig as “a great ice breaker” for conversations like “‘what are you grateful for?’ or ‘what emotion visited you today?’ These are powerful conversations to have not just with children, but honestly I consider Zen Pig is applicable 0 to 99. The older you are the more you can glean from these messages.”

There are currently seven Zen Pig books, with 17 more on the way this year, according to Brown.

“We have singalongs on YouTube, we’ve got lesson plans for classrooms, a show is working. We have to come at this from all angles,” he said. “We have to integrate these lessons into children way sooner. You know there’s a severe deficit on teaching children emotional wellness and emotional intelligence,” he said. “You know we teach them so well about ABCs and 123s, that’s so important, academic is important, but we also have to teach them how to love themselves and love others.”

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