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Someone Else’s Shoes

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A while back I reviewed Gratitude Attitude, a new CD coming out in August that I think is a great way to help kids develop Emotional Intelligence.

Now I’ve got a new CD to add to our playlist.  Someone Else’s Shoes – The Best Foot Forward Children’s Music Series from Recess Music is my latest complimentary CD to review in exchange for my honest opinion and review.  It’s from the same people who produced Gratitude Attitude.

There were a lot of songs on “Someone Else’s Shoes” that I absolutely loved: “There’s No Such Thing As Normal!” by Dan Dan Doodlebug, “Be Nice To Old People” by Jamie Broza , and  “Just the Way You Are”, by  Kelsey Friday & The Rest of the Week are all top favorites.

A couple of the songs near the beginning of the CD struck me as being best suited for the under 5 years-old-set.  I’m pretty sure that if you played “You Hurt My Feelings” by Troubador to a third grade classroom the eight-year-olds would mock you.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a good song, it’s just very earnest.

But the fact that I was thinking about using this CD in a classroom setting at all, is one of the reasons I really liked it.  Yes, it’s great for home use, but it could also be good for school.

When I was a teacher in California my district did not provide Para educators to supervise recess. This meant that the teachers had to take turns for yard duty. If it rained, everyone was stuck indoors, teachers too.

Probably any CD in the “Best Foot Forward” series would be a really great soundtrack to rainy day recess.  You could also play this music when kids were practicing cursive.

Both “Someone Else’s Shoes” and “Gratitude Attitude” offer really positive messages to kids and family.  That’s a shot in the arm that we can all use.

E.I. versus I.Q.

How to get along with your fellow humans can be the hardest thing to teach.

How to get along with your fellow humans can be the hardest thing to teach.

When I was a teacher at the San Carlos Charter Learning Center, our school spent two years studying Social Emotional Learning (SEL).  Parents and teachers read, reread, and discussed Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence; Why it can matter more than I.Q.”  We also brought in experts to train us how to teach SEL better.

Am I an expert at E.I. versus I.Q.?  No way!  But I do think about it a lot.

What I’ve learned as a parent is that it’s really hard to teach kids how to handle somebody “pushing your buttons”.  Some people naturally handle this better than others, I think.  Other’s need help learning effective strategies for dealing with interpersonal stress.

Kindness, one of the most important things to teach.

Kindness, one of the most important things to teach.

A book that has got me thinking about E.I. all over again with new meaning, is Dale Carnegie’s classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.  I’ve been reading it on my Kindle.

What Carnegie was describing seems to be SEL at its best.  (Click here for the summary on Wikipedia.)

Right now I’m thinking of ways to use Carnegie’s ideas in my own parenting.  I’d like for my children to do all that he suggests; begin in a friendly way, show genuine interest in other people, smile, see things from another person’s point of view, readily admit when they are wrong, and so much more.

That’s why we now have two mason jars on our kitchen table, and popcorn at the ready.

I'm going to catch my kids "being good".

I’m going to catch my kids “being good”.

This week, the SEL skill my family is focusing on is Kindness.  When I notice my kids being kind, I add some popcorn kernels to their jars.  When the jars are filled up, we are popping the corn and watching a movie together.

This popcorn trick is an old-standby a lot of teachers use in the classroom to encourage good behavior.  But I’m hoping it will work here at home too.

Stay tuned for more of our SEL journey this summer.  Each week we’ll be focusing on something new.

If you have any thoughts about Daniel Goleman or Dale Carnegie, please chime in.  I love discussion!