The Case for Emotional Literacy
People call it emotional intelligence or emotional literacy. Whatever you choose to call it, how well our children observe, interpret and engage in emotional interactions will be central to their successes in life. When we help our children grow these powerful capacities early on, they are better able to manage conflict, grow self confidence, and see others’ points of view. And as they grow up, they will be able to build lasting and satisfying relationships in their professional and personal lives.
The Specific Challenges Faced by Boys
“Don’t be a crybaby” is the single most consistent message American boys get. Whether you grew up in the relative security of the suburbs or on the streets of the inner city, ask any American man and they’ll tell you the same thing.
“Boys and men don’t cry.” If you do, you’re a wimp, or a sissy… or a target.
And make no mistake, “Don’t be a crybaby” is code for a bigger, more overarching cultural message; a message which is reinforced over and over again in every professional, social and interpersonal context we encounter.
Don’t show your emotions.
This message begins to make itself known the day our little sons enter the larger world, gently at first, but with ever increasing degrees of severity.
Whether we are fathers or sons, brothers or husbands, we can learn to explore and express our emotions at any age. The question is, will we teach the next generation of men to pursue emotional empowerment or will our sons be left with little choice but to suppress their emotions, as dictated by a range of traditional cultural influences?
The long-term challenges emotional isolation can create are incalculable. Living emotionally guarded lives is robbing men of their hope, their aspirations and for millions of American men, their very lives.
Think I’m overstating the problem? Read our full blog on the subject.
The Case for Kids’ Emotional Literacy
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The emotional suppression of boys summed up in a 30 second gif. Click to play and then retweet it!
— Mark Greene (@megaSAHD) March 24, 2016