My 5- year old grandson stomped into the house, irate, in no mood to talk. My efforts at distracting him, included cracking silly jokes to make him feel better. However, he continued to be mad. My final effort at a “Knock Knock” joke evoked a strong response- “Stop Nani! When I am mad, I don’t find it funny!”
I was bowled over. It's not always that we find a five-year old sort his feelings out accurately. He could even conclude that he did not appreciate a joke when he was annoyed. This, to me, was in itself a sophistication of thought. Emotional Intelligence at display. As an academic exercise, I figured that:
On a side note, according to Albert Meherabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, communication of feelings and emotions is made up of 7% of what is said, 38% tone of voice and 55% body language. This means that 93% of how a person is feeling is communicated non-verbally.
This also means that more times than not, non-verbal cues may give us more answers than articulated words.
I sat my grandson down on the steps and asked him if he would like to tell me what was making him so mad. As it turned out, my little guy was furious with his sister for abandoning him and going to play with her friend. He, unfortunately had no one to play with. That to him, was mighty unfair.
We talked and reasoned out a few things together:
As calm descended upon him we looked at other fun things to do. A bike ride? No. Too cold outside. Play a board game? Naah! Boring. Do a science emperiment? Maybe. What about baking? Yes! We donned our aprons and set out measuring, weighing, mixing, reading oven temperatures- me, subtly trying not to turn the exercise into a math and vocabulary lesson, but doing so nevertheless. Soon we had the smell of freshly baked cake wafting through the kitchen. The sister, who he was so peeved with a while ago, walked in: "Look Baji" he exclaimed, all anger forgotten, " I made a cake for you."
Wisdom lies in acknowledging the emotion that is negatively affecting you; it also lies in making peace with it and moving on.