Intrapersonal emotional intelligence skills can be gained through 4-H

Through its various delivery models, the 4-H program is uniquely positioned to support youth to continually develop their intrapersonal skills throughout their years of participation.

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a relatively new concept developed by clinical psychologist Daniel Goleman. Goleman believes emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of success than intellectual intelligence. This is the second article in a series that will explore how 4-H can further support youth in developing their emotional intelligence. Other articles in this series include: Fostering interpersonal emotional intelligence skills through 4-H.

To function successfully in life it is importance to understand oneself. By helping youth to develop their emotional intelligence intrapersonal skills, 4-H can help participants increase their future potential. Volunteers can help each 4-H youth explore their intrapersonal skill of self-regard by encouraging each individual to share her/his special talents: everyone has something they do well. What ability does each member have that he or she is proud of? What is something that she or he can show others in the group how to do?

Another vital emotional intelligence skill, which youth can develop through 4-H, is independence. Adults can help 4-H youth develop independence by guiding them as they learn to plan and make important decisions for themselves. It is crucial to encourage and help youth learn from their decisions whether they result in success or failure. Giving youth opportunities to handle age-appropriate responsibilities also fosters independence.

When 4-H youth work to reach their goals and overcome their fears of failure or embarrassment, it takes courage. By using this courage and working toward their goals, youth in 4-H are developing intrapersonal self-actualization. An important role volunteers can play is encouraging youth to use their imagination to establish a dream and reassuring them as they work to attain it.

No matter what delivery model it utilizes, the 4-H program is uniquely positioned to support youth to continually develop their intrapersonal skills throughout their years of participation. Parents and other adults working with youth who are interested in learning more about developing EQ can view the Emotional Intelligence Activities series available through the University of Illinois 4-H. For more information about resources available through Michigan 4-H Youth Development, contact your local Michigan State University Extension county office.