Vol. 5 Num 1028 Mon. April 23, 2007  

What's our EQ?

Every child born has, at the instant of birth, a higher potential intelligence than Leonardo Da Vinci ever used," the founder of The Institute for the Achievement of Human Potential at Pennsylvania, Glenn Doman, said after 40 years of study and research in the field of child brain development. In that case why doesn't every child come out with something more alluring than "Mona Lisa," or design something embryonic like "Helical Air Screw."

Harvard's visiting faculty member and the author of the highly renowned EQ book (Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ), Daniel Goleman, has pointed out that the best place for children to acquire EQ (emotional quotient) is at home.

After reading the book, I understood the first sentence my programming professor at university said to us on the very first day: "We can't teach programming at university This is a subject you should have already learned when you went to the park for a walk with your parents, or solved a puzzle with your mom in the living room, what we teach here is purely syntax (the grammar of the programming language), and brush up your analytical ability a little to ignite your talent."

Two factors identify a successful personality -- IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient). IQ is constant, and there is not much we can do about it. However, EQ can be manipulated, and depends a lot on the environment in which the children are brought up, on what their parents teach them about life, and so on.

A comparison between two individuals may give a bit better idea of the difference between the two quotients. First, a boy named Anwar (not real name). He finished university with the second highest score from the faculty, I know for a fact that he used to get the highest score in most of his subjects. However, even two years after graduation, he was not able to find a job.

The second one, named Raghu. He was one of the toppers as well, but probably not as good as Anwar (tenth in the faculty), but right after his graduation he got a PhD offer from one of the renowned professors of the same university, with a scholarship and a part-time job at the university.

They both had the same IQ level, that we can tell from their academic achievements, but what made one of them so successful and the other one not was their EQ. Skills like motivation, leadership, team-playing ability, professional attitude, confidence, all depend on EQ, and parents plays a big role in developing these skills.

Probably that is why western countries put so much emphasis on the newcomers. I was amused to know that in Australia every mother has to attend a special class when she is pregnant. There she is taught what to do with the baby, and how to raise it properly. There is constant research to improve, and make appropriate changes to, their course curriculum. Every teacher who conducts the teaching is an expert in the filed and has extensive training.

On the contrary, our parents do not get any chance to learn the ways of parenting, other than the advice from their elders. How many books do we have on child phycology or parenting, in Bangladesh? Probably there is only one bookshop that sells these books in Dhaka city, but they are all in English.

In addition, astonishingly no university has any course or degree in child development or child education. Instead, we have English literature as major in quite a few of the universities (I just don't understand why we need to study that). These problem are cannot be solved in one or two days. Hopefully, our government and policy makers are thinking about these issues.

For lack of knowledge, we are giving our children a horrible childhood. We make them sit for examinations from the very first grade of their school, and help them to lose interest in studies. We have an awesome primitive syllabus that has come from our grand-pa's generation.

Most of our children learn that two plus two is four, but they never get a chance to learn why or how, and we shamefully expect them to be creative! The whole education system in the school is designed in such a way that students memorising something, and successfully vomiting it on to a piece of paper are marked as the best pupils in the class. To most of the kids, school is not a fun place, but a place they have to be.

It is a shame that our eduction system does not take into account the emotional growth of the child, and the truth is that we cannot change this whole system overnight but, as parents, we can influence it in a greater manner.

Modern-day research scientifically proves that a baby's attitude, creativity, ethics, are influenced by the environment and, more importantly, by the parents. Therefore, it is actually the parents' duty to broaden their own knowledge about parenting and act accordingly, and it does make a huge difference to a child's future.

On the other hand, when we see somebody killing someone, being dishonest, or even being found with drugs it will be a disgrace to blame them only, in-fact his/her parents are responsible.