Social Emotional Learning. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s a major buzzword these days and for good reason. SEL includes learning about our feelings: how to recognize them, how to manage them, and how to notice them in others. A hugely important social and life skill, SEL is finally being recognized and addressed in schools.
In our family, we’ve made sure it’s a big part of our home teaching as well. My kids watched Daniel Tiger, and we fill our bookshelves with books about naming and recognizing feelings.
We talk a great game.
“All feelings are normal. All feelings are human. And all feelings belong and can be worked with.”
But as an adult, I’ve found the hardest part is practicing what we preach. I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to bottle up all “bad” feelings–sadness, anger, embarrassment–until I can be alone.
Crying in the bathroom anyone?
It’s a natural instinct and not necessarily a bad one. Clearly, we don’t want all our anger exploding all over our children. But what if our kids could watch us work through some of these feelings, could actually see their grown-ups process . . . say . . . sadness?
When my daughter was just under two, I broke down crying in front of her one day. It wasn’t anything dramatic that caused it. I was just overwhelmed. She stood close to me, looked at the tears on my face, and said “mama sad.”