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Emotional Intelligence: What is it and how important is it?

I have been in that parent teacher conference. The one where the student worked hard, did the work, was pleasant and well liked, and yet only earned a C. I still remember the parents…yikes, the parents! They were livid. Their child had a C? Unacceptable!

Have you ever been the parents in one of these (or the teacher)? I want to tell you my perspective:

My oldest, who was labeled super smart, got a C in art, so I know how it feels. He is average at art; he earned that grade. In the day of “everyone gets a trophy,” I know it is hard to realize that a C is considered average. But did you know that most of our population, by definition, is average? We aren’t (or shouldn’t be) a society of easy excellence.

Schools do not promote or test for emotional intelligence. They only test for the intelligent quotient. (I don’t agree with this personally, but that’s irrelevant.)

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions.

This is incredibly important because a person’s ability to interact with others, assess a situation, understand emotional meanings, and make decisions based on underlying subtext is all based on a person’s EQ. Basically, everything that makes a person successful in group dynamics and cooperative team projects is based on EQ.

The child in the parent teacher conference, the one with the C, was off the charts in emotional intelligence. I told the parents that the child had great friends, was a fabulous role model, helped classmates, was respectful, and was a truly amazing person. The child just didn’t love English, but had a firm grip on the concepts.

I told the parents that I had more hopes for the future of their child than for some of the children I had seen that may have scored all As but that were unable to adjust when we had an assembly or when a new student came into the classroom.

I would like you to think about the child in your life. Think about what you do everyday. What makes you successful? In the end, do you want to encourage the emotional quotient, intelligent quotient, or find a nice balance?

-Kara a.k.a. Epic Engineer-

For more information on how to help your child to grow in emotional intelligence, here’s a good article: 6 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence

Kara Peterson

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