The Heart of the Matter
This is a story of one of our participants who attended the Emotional Intelligence course at ROHEI in May 2016. She holds a senior position at a Polytechnic in Singapore, and her name will not be revealed, to protect her privacy. Her story shares how awareness of ourselves and others affect our closest relationships, and how emotional intelligence can help us understand and connect more deeply with those who matter to us.
She came home the night after finishing her course, and her 11-year old son was not at home. She went to the playground to look for him. She spent 20 minutes searching. She was tired, and it was hot, and when she finally spotted him she proceeded to give him the usual scolding. But something in her nudged her that today this interaction with her son could be different from how she used to deal with him. “I became more aware and noticed that he was looking around while I was reprimanding him,” she shared. Remembering what was shared during the lesson about being more socially aware and reading non-verbal cues, I realized that he was uncomfortable and decided to continue the scolding session at home instead.” She observed how relieved he was that at least he would not be scolded in public.
When they got home, she did not continue the scolding. Instead, they had a long talk about responsibility. She shared what she learned in the last two days, from the course. While listening to her son, she realized he always felt he was not good enough in whatever he did, despite being in the top two of his class. She would always encourage him but it suddenly occurred to her that all her praises must have been expected because after all she was his mom, and moms naturally speak and think well of their kids.
As they talked, she helped her son address his negative self-perceptions, and he learned to shift perspective towards a more positive and optimistic angle. “I also shared with him what Eng Eng (the ROHEI trainer) shared about walking facing the past or facing the future. My son understood the simple analogy, how focusing on the past causes you to walk backwards, with the high chance that you could trip, while looking forward enables you to see ahead, enabling you to hop over or kick away obstacles.”
Her conversation with her son lasted two and a half hours. It became an unexpected yet much needed heart-to-heart talk and it was refreshing for both of them. At the end of it he said to her, “Mummy, that course you attended must have been awesome. I feel really positive now. I think I know what I need to do.”
This meant a lot to her because she had just been through a divorce and her son was still struggling through the aftermath.
“He constantly uses the divorce as an excuse for his misbehavior,” She shared. “Last night was the first time in one and a half years that he did not say, ‘Mummy, please understand that I am still trying to come to terms with the divorce.’”
“I would like you to know how meaningful what you are doing is,” she told her trainers Eng Eng and Eric, “and I hope you continue to touch more lives.”