Full disclosure, I am a Beginnings teacher, not a mother — but I had the wonderful luck of being raised by an amazing one. My mother was kind, generous, personable and confident. When she passed away in 2007, I was 12 years old. Despite our tragically short time together, she was able to foster in me the elements of emotional intelligence that have allowed me to be a better adult, friend, sister, daughter and teacher. If nothing else, this loss demonstrates to me how influential the lessons she imparted in my early childhood truly are.
Articles about parenting flood the news outlets in the build up to Mother's Day. When I came across Esther Wojcicki’s article in TIME magazine about how she raised three successful children a couple weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting to see anything that had not been written before. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Esther’s recipe for raising successful (i.e. happy, empowered and passionate) children was ultimately grounded in the elements of emotional intelligence that I work so hard to teach my young students at Beginnings and which my mother also imparted in me.
Esther’s five ingredients of parenting success are trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. Though these ideas are simple in theory, the implementation of them is critical. My own mother taught me by example, but some may choose to teach these ideas in careful conversation and reflection. As a teacher at Beginnings, I read this article not as a guide to mothering, but rather as a guide to teaching. Her theory supports the begin to...ECSEL program in myriad ways, but her ultimate goal of “creating self-responsible people in a self-responsible world” was the real kicker. This principle should be the ultimate goal of all educators of children, parents and teachers alike, as we build the foundation of a more mindful, kind and empathetic generation. The cornerstone of the begin to...ECSEL program is all about meeting the children where they are while gently guiding them through the more complex workings of emotional being. With 30+ years of implementation and research, the Beginnings team has discovered that emotional intelligence contributes a great deal to success later in life, an outcome that my mother must have intuitively understood so many years ago.