Thursday, July 15, 2010

What’s Your EQ?

by Andy Hanson

The cover story of the October 2, 1995, Time Magazine asks “What’s Your EQ?” and goes on to suggest that “emotional intelligence may be the best predictor of success in life”. What is “EQ, is it important, and if so, is it possible for teachers and parents to make a positive difference in the EQ’s of our students.

Psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer describe EQ using words such as “understanding one’s own feelings, empathy for the feelings of others and ‘the regulation of emotion in a way that enhances living’ ”. Self-awareness is the most crucial ability because it is a prerequisite for self-control. Self-control can prevent an emotional response which may short-circuit the intellect and make it difficult if not impossible for us to solve problems or work effectively with others.

EQ is important because working together is the most efficient way of solving problems. The top performers in the scientific, administrative, and political world are people who are good collaborators. Personnel executives claim that “IQ gets you hired, but EQ gets you promoted”. EQ deficiencies may be the reason more than half of all marriages end in divorce. Daniel Goleman, a Harvard psychology Ph.D. believes that “when it comes to predicting people’s success, brainpower as measured by IQ and standardized achievement tests may actually matter less than the qualities of mind once thought of as ‘character’ ”.

According to Goleman, “the brain’s prefrontal circuitry, which regulates how we act on what we feel, probably does not mature until mid-adolescence”. That means that if school communities work together, we can make an important difference in the lives of the children who attend our schools. Parents can talk to their children about their emotional outbursts and why they happen. Teachers and principal can work to reduce students’ frustration and take the time to discuss how to avoid behaviors that jeopardize friendship, group harmony, and cooperation. All of us can model the “fruits of the spirit”, and in worship emphasize the compassion of Christ in his dealings with sinners.