This morning I saw a piece on CNN how a Michigan Middle School has successfully integrated EQ into their curriculum. Their argument was that most linear thinking, rooted in IQ, can either be done by machines or will be outsourced to cheaper labor forces across the world. Therefore, intelligence based on enhancing collaboration, innovation, social skills, and empathy is just as important as IQ, and perhaps more important.
This, as you can imagine, is music to my ears and what was melodic was the fact that they are starting so early, when adults in the workplace are still debating whether EQ even exists. I have two very young children and everyday, I make it a point to ask my son, Hunter (4) and daughter, Lexi (6) if they were “happy” or “sad” — and what happened to make them feel that way during the course of the day. I also ask them if there were others in their classes that were “happy or sad” trying to use very simple emotions to build empathy and recognition of behaviors associated with emotions. I often also asked them to make “sad” faces, “happy” faces, “fun” faces, “laughing” faces, etc… and it’s a pleasure watching them formulate their facial and non verbal expression of these emotions. All I am trying to do is to make them emotionally literate, as it is abundantly clear, we are an emotionally illiterate society and culture.
Last week I talked about changing curriculae for colleges – this week I am urging you to explore emotional literacy with your family and friends and demand it in the schools, irrespective of the level of education. I always tell my clients it is never too late to learn about the one thing in us that constantly changes–our emotions. Now, I am saying it is never to early to start either.