Social emotional learning can be made into a deep and complicated subject. At it's root though it is not much more than the successful melding of one's heart and mind. Although much of Western thinking has sought to keep emotion and rational thought as separate, for much of Eastern philosophy these things are seen a one whole. The concept of the heart-mind that is central to this kind of thinking really resonates with me. Just as the heart and the brain completely rely on each other for healthy functioning in the body, one's thoughts and feelings must be interconnected for the healthy functioning of the individual.
Recently, I've been asking my high school students if their feelings are important and have received a wide variety of answers. Student responses typically vary largely by their gender, socio-economic and cultural differences. And while most could agree that there was some importance to their feelings, many reported not really paying attention to them. Often they merely act without recognizing the feelings that are most likely the cause of their behavior. Activities such as meditation, journaling or self-reflection on their emotions seem to be foreign to them for the most part. They report being too busy for such things.
I don't think that these kinds of responses are unique to them. American society stays busy working, schooling and playing. Often time management and decision-making skills are not a focus. To be the best version of ourselves, it is time to start paying attention to our heart-mind, that place in ourselves where we are aware of our feelings and can use that information to help direct our lives. We are not robots. We were given feelings for a reason. Recognizing the importance of social emotional learning and the heart-mind is the work of Social School and this blog. Stay posted for more opportunities to gain insight into your own heart-mind.