Emotional Intelligence Starts with Adults

Members of the Meeting House team with Dr. Stern and NYC Public School Administrators

Members of the Meeting House team with Dr. Stern and NYC Public School Administrators

“The audience was inspiring and diverse in backgrounds and perspectives … making this session a special one. We connected on many different issues and shared experiences that affect all of us in one way or another. Connections were heartfelt and tender. It was an honor to work with this group!”

-Dr. Robin Stern

Through all of the expansion this fall at The Meeting House, we always keep social and emotional learning at the forefront of our mission––now more than ever, we must remember the importance of emotional intelligence. As we engage in conversations on difficult topics with our children and overwhelming news stories like the recent terror attack in our hometown of New York City, we want to emphasize how social emotional learning helps us process information and emotion, and can prevent such tragedies from happening to begin with.

Because of this emphasis, we were pleased to host international thought-leader Dr. Robin Stern at our annual symposium to discuss Emotionally Intelligent Parenting. The evening was focused on the work of Dr. Stern and her partner, Dr. Marc Brackett, at the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence. Their innovative RULER approach teaches children and adults social and emotional skills vital for everyone’s development. The training of adults is key, as we need to keep in mind that our children are observing us all the time and often mirror our behavior. This provided the opportunity to prepare us for difficult conversations explaining an event like a terror attack to our children.

The information was insightful and informative and the connections made between audience members were invaluable. Dr. Stern’s encouraging demeanor and thought-provoking presentation opened a space for each participant to ask the hard questions about how to become more emotionally intelligent. In keeping with our commitment to diversity, we were pleased that participants ranged in age, race, gender, and occupation. This offered a wide variety of perspective, and allowed for a myriad of issues to be discussed. It was encouraging to witness so many participants sharing openly and committed to their emotional growth as individuals and as parents. This courage in vulnerability is something that we can all learn from, and we were pleased that everyone left the training with a new set of tools to bring back to their homes and their professional communities in public schools, diversion programs for youth, and therapy practices.

Awareness of our social and emotional lives should be part of our every day, as these skills are the foundation of our success and are too often overlooked. Given the frequent occurrence of distressing events like this recent tragedy, incorporating emotional intelligence skills into our lives and our children's lives can be a powerful force to help us create a more compassionate and connected society as we vigilantly work towards world peace.

Here are more tips on how to help children cope with terrorism from the National Association of School Psychologists