Emotional Intelligence: Self-Control and Empathy Objectives: •Understand the concept of “Self-Control” as it relates to our lives. • Understand the concept of “Empathy” and its importance in relating to others. Everybody Up! Let’s hear our I-POSSESS song/ cheer! Describe Self-Control Self-control is the ability to control your impulses or urges to do something. This is the most difficult of all areas for most people. It is something that you have to work at, especially when you are young. The period of adolescence is one of the toughest in your life. I hear adults say, “This is one of the happiest times of your life, and you should be enjoying it.” In some ways, that is true but it is also one of the most difficult times as well. Being a teenager is tough…period. You are going through hormones, decisions, peers and the struggles they are having, you are having to be there for your friends, you are trying to find your own identity, you are trying to get some freedom at home and you are trying to figure out who you go with, where you will go with your life, what you will do, and on and on and on and on. The real problem for you and me, as well, is the need to develop self- control. What it boils down to is being able to say to yourself that you will or will not do something. For example, you have the opportunity to take something without paying for it. What do you do? Or, you have the opportunity to do something that you know you can get away with and now you have to decide. What do you do? In fact, your whole life is filled with choices about what to do and every one of them involves self-control. How many examples can you think of where you have choices, and every time you have to exercise self-control as to what you do? At your tables, brainstorm for 2 minutes as many examples as you can. Group Role Play The scene is your classroom on a day when you have a substitute teacher. One person plays the teacher. Everyone else go out to the courtyard and comes in. Use three different scenarios: Everyone comes in not using self-control (talking, being disrespectful, etc.) Everyone comes in using self-control. Part of the group does not use self-control. What do the others do? Discussion How would Teen Leaders, knowing what we know, behave with a substitute? Think of our meeting and greeting skills, for example. How do you develop self-control? Most people don’t understand that you can’t just wake up some morning and say, “Well, I think I’ll have self-control today.” It is not that easy! You get self-control over time and you have to work at it or it won’t happen. You will also fail during this time of growing. The trick is NOT to get discouraged and quit. A life without self-control is a life out of control. Learning to say no and yes at the right times is something that all of us have to learn. When you don’t learn this, the consequences are bad. If you can’t control yourself, someone else will… and that’s not cool. Conclusion I value my freedom, and I would do whatever it took to keep it. If you really want to be free, you have to learn self-control. Empathy What does empathy mean? Empathy is the ability to feel what others feel. Empathy is the key to being human. For us to be part of the social community we have to be able to be in touch with other people and their feelings. How is empathy developed? Empathy is developed in people through their early learning experiences. We learn this through our own crying, hurting, sharing, being cared for and accepted, as well as having someone hold us and learning how to express our feelings. The difficult thing for many people is that when they go to school they are often made fun of and teased. When this happens, we can quickly end up feeling alone and uncared for. For many of us, school is a painful experience. We seem to be surrounded by people and sometimes by friends, but in reality, we can feel very alone. It is possible to learn how to express empathy during these early years of childhood and adolescence. One of the things we need to do is to learn to listen to others and learn how to understand someone’s feelings. Take time to try to understand and get in touch with what a person is feeling. Empathy is caring about and understanding what the other person is feeling. Can you see empathy? How can someone show empathy to someone else? How do you feel when someone shows you empathy? How do you feel when you show someone else empathy? What does empathy have to do with being a good leader? What does it do to a group when someone is upset and someone in the group makes mean or sarcastic remarks about that person or how the person is expressing feelings? When a group is able to express empathy to each other, how does this affect the group’s performance? Conclusion Empathy Stories We’ll listen to the stories. Discuss each one. Answer some questions: How did you feel? Did you connect with the character in the story? Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever known anyone that something like this happened to?