I started researching EQ/EI aka Emotional Intelligence, right around this time of my son’s birth. I wanted to be the best mother I could and stop the patterns that I had grown up with and witnessed most of my childhood.
The feeling that I wasn’t validated or enough. The belief that my voice didn’t matter. These feelings did nothing for my self-esteem. This is not necessarily my parent’s fault. It’s the way society taught them to treat children. Especially, in the communities of color the saying, ”Be seen and not heard,” are the norm!
So, with this hope and optimism, I started researching ways to improve myself, and I came across David Goldman’s book “Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ.” A brilliant read and one I highly recommend.
It really opened up my eyes to how I could improve as a person to be the positive role model for my child. I’m sure that plenty of you feel the same way, especially first-time mothers and fathers, like myself. We all want the best for our children, but we must begin with ourselves.
The 5 Key elements of EQ
In my research, I found that there are five basic foundations for emotional intelligence.
- Self-Awareness: What I am feeling and why?
- Self-Motivation: What motivates me or gives me a sense of purpose?
- Emotional management: Making sure you can manage those emotions and not lash out whether it’s with anger, sadness or fear.
- Empathy: What makes me connect with other people or understand their feelings.
- Social Awareness/Relationship skills: How can all of these things help me improve relationships with everyone?
Basically, I found that emotional intelligence is more important than IQ for good communication with others, understanding of self, a gateway to a better overall society and also academic success.
Social Emotional Learning
So I was very excited when I saw school after school, start implementing SEL, which stands for Social Emotional Learning. It encompasses all the principles of EQ. It is the active ingredient for academic excellence while preventing acts of violence and bullying within the school environment. As you may have seen in the media, there has been a rash of school shootings and senseless murders due to gun violence, but also because many of these young people don’t feel like their voices are being heard. And their lack of empathy leads to destruction along with other variables.
So, I think it’s crucial for you and me to acknowledge our own emotional states on a day to day basis. There are plenty of ways that we can do that with ourselves and with our children.
A Simple Exercise
The first thing in the morning, why not check in with yourself instead of just jumping out of bed and doing your routine that you usually must do as a parent? Take that one minute more and ask yourself,
- How do I feel? Did I get enough rest?
- Then check in with your child!
- Ask them, How are you feeling? Did you sleep well?
This sets up a positive outlook for the day! Just having a calm, peaceful conversation in the morning can do wonders for the rest of the day. Also, check in with the teachers. Check their emotional state for the day because it will affect how your child’s day will go as well and allow you to understand your child’s emotion at the end of the day.
The use of EQ/EI in life is becoming the norm in the educational and business world. This fact gives me much joy as it should you. If you were born in the ’70s or before, like me, the concept of being taught to be aware of your emotions was foreign and would’ve been appreciated. My goal with “This Real Life Books” is to be a positive contributor to the SEL educational platform. So we can create a global movement towards compassion and love. Also, be compassionate to yourself! It is nearly impossible to rewrite decades of programming. This will be a journey of being conscious of the unconscious and learning new ways to be with those you care about the most, including the little child within us all.
Join This Real Life Books on this path to positive change by sharing our stories and books!