Emotional Intelligence

Last night I saw the Diane Keaton movie, Darling Companion, which will open April 20th.  

It’s a dog lover’s movie. And that’s not me. The movie is also a valentine to the older, sensitive male, played by Richard Jenkins.

Kevin Kline plays a know-it-all doctor who lacks the Jenkins character’s smooth ease with people. (Jenkins is, also, according to Dianne Wiest’s character, a “generous lover.” I love Wiest’s and Jenkins’ sexy-ness!)

At one point, Kline is chastised for his lack of emotional intelligence. And I think emotional intelligence is underrated.

My daughters and I are still reaping the rewards of a girl empowerment weekend, where we were able to talk freely about our feelings. We learned how to navigate conflict — an awesome learning experience through the Girls Leadership Institute.

A February opinion piece in the New York Times, Building Self-Control, the American Way by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, offered this: “programs to enhance social and emotional development accelerate school achievement.”

So emotional intelligence helps with school intelligence. I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of helping our kids handle their emotions — it’s just smart to be aware of and articulate our feelings well.

In the Times article, the authors prescribe imaginative play, aerobic exercise, and studying language as tools to help children succeed emotionally and intellectually.

As for ageing adults, like Kevin Kline’s character, how do they (we) become more emotionally intelligent? In Darling Companion, the advice was to:

  • value our pets more than our cell phones;
  • define ourselves in ways beyond our work;
  • get lost in nature;
  • and be open to prophetic wisdom from people we consider marginal or flaky.

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