What is SEL and what does it mean to me?
Updated: Jun 22, 2019
Social Emotional Learning has become a buzzword these last few years, but what does it ACTUALLY mean? "Social and emotional learning involves the processes of developing competencies, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making." Those things seems like common knowledge, but there are many instances when a child is not learning these tools.
Growing up in a home environment where I did not learn these tools from my parents, I first-hand witnessed the ill-effects of not having these skills and the difficulties it caused. Throughout the later part of my childhood and into adolescence, I was faced with unhealthy regulation patterns, avoidance, and struggles within relationships and school. I did not have a healthy sense of self-awareness and was living in a constant state of trying to "make up" for what I felt I lacked, and do the things I knew I needed to, in order to please my father. After a few failed attempts at relationships, and a few more therapy sessions, I realized I needed to step back, and I mean WAY back. I went all the way back to the core values I learned as a child, and realized, a lot of the emotional learning wasn't actually taught to me. It was there I found research about this topic, tools to incorporate this topic, and how it was impacting our future generations, and let me tell you... it wasn't a pretty trajectory.
Working in foster care, it was made clear to me that if this skill set is not being implemented in a household, it's not being implemented at all. The children I worked with were violent, abusive, and emotionally wrecked. They were crying out for help, but no one was actually listening to how to help the root of what's going on. We are now faced with more school shootings per year than ever before, more cases of adolescent suicide, and disconnection between peers.
So what can we do to help? Why am I sharing all of this? My passion, my goal, and my work is focused on implementing these tools for our future generations in order to help foster better choices, actions, and connections. My name is Emily Claire, and I am starting this work here in Asheville, NC with workshops, talks, and blogging. My goal is to further implement SEL into not only the communities, but also the public school system. Please follow this blog as a way to understand how we can help our children be healthier, happier, and independent, successful people.