Committee for Children Blog

2018 Midterm Election Lesson: Adults Should Model Social-Emotional Skills

Adults can help foster a more peaceful society using social-emotional skills like empathy, and by supporting children.

[Editor’s note: Committee for Children Executive Director Joan Cole Duffell wrote post-election thoughts after the 2016 US election that are highly relevant after the 2018 midterm election results. Adults can relate better using social-emotional learning that we teach children.]

Midterm elections this month showed a split among parties and people.

Some parents and teachers are elated at the outcome, while others are feeling afraid for themselves and the children in their care. Regardless of political choice, it’s every parent’s, every educator’s–indeed, every adult’s–job to make sure our kids feel safe and secure.

Over the past couple of years, America’s children have seen adults doing things that social-emotional programs specifically teach them NOT to do: bullying, ridiculing, and threatening.

This is why we at Committee for Children, along with many of our partners and colleagues in education, have devoted our careers to social-emotional learning (SEL). We have the privilege of coming to work each day in pursuit of teaching our children the skills, attitudes, and competencies to stand in the shoes of others, exercise empathy, speak out against bullying, make responsible, caring choices, solve problems peacefully, and, as they grow up, become the architects of a better world. We hold steadfast in our belief that social-emotional learning is how we impart these skills to our kids. Social-emotional learning is how we become the change we want to see in this world, and teaching our kids to practice social-emotional skills is the most hopeful work we can do. One of the many things that makes this country amazing is our ability to, as Austin SEL educator Keeth Matheny teaches, “disagree without being disagreeable.”

In the months to come, let’s all model, practice and grow the social-emotional movement. It’s our greatest source of hope for a better world.