Emotional Intelligence

Last night I saw the Diane Keaton movie, Darling Companion, which will open April 20th.  

It’s a dog lover’s movie. And that’s not me. The movie is also a valentine to the older, sensitive male, played by Richard Jenkins.

Kevin Kline plays a know-it-all doctor who lacks the Jenkins character’s smooth ease with people. (Jenkins is, also, according to Dianne Wiest’s character, a “generous lover.” I love Wiest’s and Jenkins’ sexy-ness!)

At one point, Kline is chastised for his lack of emotional intelligence. And I think emotional intelligence is underrated.

My daughters and I are still reaping the rewards of a girl empowerment weekend, where we were able to talk freely about our feelings. We learned how to navigate conflict — an awesome learning experience through the Girls Leadership Institute.

A February opinion piece in the New York Times, Building Self-Control, the American Way by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, offered this: “programs to enhance social and emotional development accelerate school achievement.”

So emotional intelligence helps with school intelligence. I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of helping our kids handle their emotions — it’s just smart to be aware of and articulate our feelings well.

In the Times article, the authors prescribe imaginative play, aerobic exercise, and studying language as tools to help children succeed emotionally and intellectually.

As for ageing adults, like Kevin Kline’s character, how do they (we) become more emotionally intelligent? In Darling Companion, the advice was to:

  • value our pets more than our cell phones;
  • define ourselves in ways beyond our work;
  • get lost in nature;
  • and be open to prophetic wisdom from people we consider marginal or flaky.

This Month's Book Club Picks

For book club we are reading Diane Keaton’s Then Again.

I can’t find the passage but at one point she says we mustn’t blame mothers for all of our adult unhappiness. Mothers do their best. I agree. The book is a collage of memories, a collage like the kind Diane’s mother created –  scrapbooks and journals.

I am having trouble staying focused on my reading. Fortunately, occasionally, the choices from my work book club and my other book club coincide, like when we read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls in both.

At my work book club, we are reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Catch-22 and for Mother-Daughter Book Club, we are reading the Robin Benway’s The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June. The girls and I recommended that book; we’ve already read it. Very funny. (But if you don’t like it, don’t blame me, a mother.) Phew. I have one less book to read.

I’d like to blog more on this topic, but yes, you guessed it, I have to get back to the Diane Keaton memoir. Book club is Tuesday night and I have hundreds of pages to go. I might just skip ahead to the Warren Beatty part.


Same Outfit/Different Day

This is my fourth day in a row wearing a khaki skirt and a blue shirt. No one has noticed. I did tell my workmate Darcy. She was surprised I had so many khaki skirts. “Blue shirts,” she said, “that’s understandable.” (Or was it the other way around?) Next week, I’m thinking of wearing only black skirts or pants and white shirts.

I wish I had Diane Keaton’s style, that classy thrift-store chic.

At the beginning of the week, I thought, If I wore a uniform, I wouldn’t have to decide what to wear in the morning. That’s why I started this Same Outfit/Different Day. I got tired of being creative in my wardrobe.

I took this picture just now in our 14th floor Ladies Women’s Room. I heard you look thinner if you turn sideways and point your front foot. I was very embarrassed to be taking a picture of myself, and I hoped that no one walked into the Women’s Room while I was doing this.

By the way, the shirt is a hand-me-up from my son. A neighbor gave my 14-year old a  lot of clothes. He didn’t like this shirt so I took it. The shoes are from a thrift store. The skirt is old, from Macy’s. I love the pearls, a Christmas gift years ago from my father and his lady friend (whom I consider my step mother). I guess I have a Diane Keaton upscale thrift-store chic too.