Teaching children the skills developing emotional intelligence combats systemic racism. Consider the premise that if we were raised with emotional intelligence that systemic racism would not be a factor in our society. As an example in recent years, Daniel Goleman’s research, Cory Booker as Mayor of Newark, NJ and the City of Camden, New Jersey gives evidence that emotional intelligence provides the necessary skills and behaviors to allow for differences in cultures, differences in lifestyles and differences in relational connections. Imagine the difference raising a new generation of emotionally intelligent children might create. Let’s take a look at these three examples.
Daniel Goleman and research go hand in hand. His first book on emotional intelligence was published in 1995. This was 25 years ago. His book led to extensive research on the emotional brain and how it affects our everyday decisions and actions. It also discovered that our emotional brains are growing the fastest from birth to six and the most advantageous time to teach children EI skills. Cory Booker, when he was Mayor of Newark, brought emotional intelligence into the classrooms of the Newark educational system. There was a major shift in the culture of Newark. Camden also took hold of the behaviors and skills of EQ and we saw policemen walking hand in hand with the protesters.
Why Has Emotional Intelligence Taken So Long To Establish Itself In Our Society?
Here is my observation: The research into the emotional brain allowed us to understand that this part of the brain grows fastest from birth to six. Once the emotional brain slows down then the left brain ( reading, writing and arithmetic) is ready to begin its development. Not to mention that EQ raises IQ. Do we experience our early childhood programs and programming teaching the EI skills and behaviors before reading and writing? I have not experienced this. They do promote social and emotional learning as a small part of the curriculum. The experts also do not promote SEL as a primary curriculum for this age group. So, we have it backwards. We have overwhelmed the left brain with skills it is not ready to achieve.
We’ve missed the opportunity to develop the part of the brain that determines our success and emotional well-being. Children may read at 3 but are they able to be relational with their peers. Is learning to feel empathy developed? Feeling empathy is a learned behavior!! Are they able to meet challenges and conquer emotional interference? Are they accountable for their actions?
Perhaps our emphasis on academics as the be all and end all of success also promotes the continuation of our classic attitudes that divide cultures and races into groups of haves and have nots. If EI is 80% the reason we are successful in life, it comes to bear that society is lacking the emotional well-being of inclusiveness that creates an atmosphere of equal footing for all.
Where and How Does Systemic Racism Develop?
Yes, it is embedded in our parenting skills, our educational inequalities, our historical DNA. When was our development of empathy ever included in the important skills that we teach our young children? By the time we do, it is too late. Not to mention the 6 other EQ attributes they’ve missed. Those other patterns have already become a part of a child’s relational instincts to his peers and society. My pilot EQforChildren program made me aware of how true this is. Three-year-olds lapped up the EQ skills and behaviors. The 5-year-olds, it was a harder sell and it took much practice to undo their already established patterns.
We Need To Raise A New Generation of Emotional Intelligent Children to truly overcome Racism and Teaching children the skills developing emotional intelligence combats systemic racism!