Russell Did It! What Nanalan’ Teaches About Honesty and Problem-Solving

If there’s a more endearing way than Nanalan’ to learn about the importance of telling the truth to ourselves and others, we haven’t found it yet. Check out these mindful messages embedded in the show that will resonate for all ages.

Image credit/ Nanalan'

In the Nanalan’ episode “Russell Did It,” Mona learns an important lesson about telling the truth. What are the mindful messages in this episode? Read on to find out! 

3 Honest Truths from Nanalan’

1. Truthfulness starts with being honest with ourselves. In the beginning of the episode, Nana shows Mona and Russell her fancy new cat figurine. “It’s so glorious and wonderful, isn’t it!” Nana says. “Please don’t touch it, because it’s very, very breakable, okay?” However, as soon as Nana leaves the room, Mona can’t resist wrapping her arms around the cat. Russell whines anxiously, but Mona ignores him. “It’s not touching, it’s petting!” she says—a moment before the cat falls off the table and breaks.

We all have moments where we feel the need to justify our actions, instead of being truly honest with ourselves. Although it may not seem like a big deal when we decide to “bend” the truth this way, this choice often leads to being dishonest with other people, too. 

2. Big, uncomfortable emotions often hold our inner wisdom. After Mona blames Russell for breaking Nana’s cat, we see Mona become more and more unhappy as the day goes by. She feels bad that Russell is being punished for what she did, but she doesn’t know how to fix it. Finally, bursting into tears, she admits to Nana that it was her who broke the cat. “You know what, sweet pea? You can tell me anything, no matter what it is,” Nana says with a big hug. “I think we have to go apologize to Russell now.” 

Instead of bottling up our emotions, it’s best to talk about how we’re feeling—even when we’re afraid of the consequences. Mona learns that once she apologizes to Russell for her mistake, he forgives her, and she feels better right away. Having the courage to admit when we’ve made a mistake allows us to learn from the experience, and it also strengthens our relationships.   

3. We don’t have to solve problems alone. Mona broke the cat, but that doesn’t mean she has to fix it all by herself. She brings the pieces to Mr. Wooka, who is more than happy to lend his crafting skills and supplies to the issue. “It’s not nice when things get broken, but the good part? You get to fix ‘em!” he declares. While Mona distracts Nana with storytime, Mr. Wooka glues the cat back together as a surprise.

When we take responsibility for our actions, we often find that support is closer than we think. Emotions like pride or anxiety may get in the way of accepting help, but with mindfulness, we can loosen our grip on these emotions. After all, we feel good when we are able to help our loved ones! When they offer to help, it’s because they care about us.

3 Meditations to Practice Healthy Problem Solving and Truth Telling

  1. Cultivate nonjudgmental awareness in this practice with Mark Bertin. When conflicted thoughts or difficult emotions are present (like Mona wanting to touch the cat even though she told Nana she wouldn’t!), this 15-minute inquiry practice helps us cultivate self-honesty, so we can more easily navigate these challenging moments. 
  2. Next, listen to this 15-minute practice to soften, soothe, and allow difficult emotions. Mindful Self-Compassion founder Kristen Neff shares this practice where we open up to fully feel difficult emotions, soothing ourselves with love. “Just get in touch with feelings of tenderness, kindness, concern, compassion for what you’re going through,” she says.
  3. Then, connect with your sense of community. It’s easy to feel separate from our community. In this 13-minute RAIN practice, led by Rhonda Magee, we explore our sense of belonging and what it means to us right now, whether it’s with our family members or with a community that’s our chosen family.