Talk about BIG feelings, huh? These are three emotions I’m sure most of us can relate to. Some of us more than others. More recently, I can’t help but notice that these three feelings, when unchecked, can cause a world of hurt for us as people, and, well, as a global society. We must learn how to manage what I call “The Big Three” in my authors visits and workshops. Using personal and practical experience, along with therapy, I realized that if I can’t control The Big Three, well then they’re bound to control me. Now, before the adults in the room think this is just a lesson for the youth based on my book, I’m gonna need you to hit the breaks real quick. This message rings true for both adults and children. The truth is, children, bare a smaller load of the responsibility in understanding and controlling The Big Three. It’s the responsibility of adults to model emotional regulation, while at the same time, we must be willing to continue to learn and grow in our emotional intelligence throughout our lifetime.
See, as a teacher, I came to find early on that I was not emotionally competent and that maybe I needed some schooling myself. The idea of social and emotional learning flew in the face of who I was and where I came from. But my first year of teaching proved to be a great time of healing and growth for me. That year I learned the importance of being vulnerable to connect with my students. Sometimes being vulnerable backfired, but it was in those moments that I had to scramble frantically to find my inner compassion and manage a straight face. I kinda felt like keeping my face straight was the hardest part if I’m being honest. Now, My responses and reactions weren’t always perfect, but I found that I was able to make headway with even the most challenging students when I was mindful of how I was showing up for that child. When youth recognize that you’re willing to struggle together, you create space for and a sense of humanity that they may otherwise have never experienced. One of the many issues I advocated for while in the classroom was the dire need to support the social-emotional health of teachers. Simply put, I believe that if you’re gonna be teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) to the youth, you gotta be doin the social-emotional work yourself!
I have so much more to share, but I’ll leave it there. Until next time when I have another thought, poem, or short story to share. Be well, come up, and stay down.
(I am available for public speaking engagements both in person and virtual. My workshops and author visits are tailored to the age ranges from youth to adult.)