I unexpectedly stumbled upon this wall plaque during a visit to my mother’s home. It used to hang on the wall of the bedroom I shared with my two brothers during childhood. I estimate that it is at least 40 years old. Looking at it today brings back memories of me looking at it then and trying to make sense of how each if-statement applied to me and other kids.
Today, as a father of three young boys, it is quite clear how each of these statements speaks to life lessons that help to engender prosocial behaviors and beliefs. Each statement also reflects the importance of helping children to learn to be as emotionally grounded as possible. In fact, psychologists would describe these if-statements as underpinnings of emotional intelligence.
According to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who studies family relations at The Glendon Association, emotional intelligence is one of the important things to teach to children. Why? It is because emotional intelligence involves the practice of intuitively understanding one’s own emotions and that of others. Dr. Firestone notes that by nurturing this practice at an early age, children learn to develop the “most essential skills for their success in life” by helping them “to recognize their feelings, understand where they come from and learn how to deal with them.”
As an adult, it indeed has become obvious to me how the list of if-statements was and still is one of many ways to foster important emotional building blocks during a precious and fertile period of human development.
Jump on the Emotional Intelligence Bandwagon
No matter our position in society, we should all strive to help children to learn how to make good decisions, feel good about themselves, and be positive contributors to our world. This means teaching them important life lessons that also will help foster the emotional intelligence skills that will endure for a lifetime.
Want to read more on what Dr. Firestone says about emotional intelligence? Read her article on the Psychology Today webpage.
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