In the mid eighties, while exploring the power and wisdom of my own feelings and the subsequent physical and emotional healing, I wondered why I was never taught about my emotions as a child. I had been taught everything else, from reading and writing to geography, history, math, physics and chemistry - the list goes on. However, none of it taught me about myself!
Why is it necessary to learn about our emotions, relationships and love through trial and error? Does wisdom come with age, or can it be taught to children? With these questions in my head, I decided to dedicate the next few years to creating the foundations for a new kind of education system.
This process led me instead to the development of the Emotional Literacy (EL) program and campaign. Hand-in-hand with this came the first non-profit organization and media company for the promotion of EL. These ventures are dedicated to teaching children and their parents how to use the energy and information of their emotions, for healthier, happier and more successful lives. Thus Enchante entertainment and Feel were born. With the help of many friends - teachers, doctors, authors, artists and business leaders (who became known as the enchanted family) - we conjured a vision for a generation of children who are passionate, compassionate and empathic.
What is Emotional Literacy and why is it important?
EMOTIONAL LITERACY is the first step towards building your emotional intelligence. It is the ability to recognize, understand and appropriately express our emotions. It is an essential skill that we must work to develop.
Becoming emotionally literate is learning the alphabet, grammar and vocabulary of our emotional life. In a world where academic literacy is increasingly the norm and other literacy's, such as technological and computer, are expected, emotional literacy must become commonplace in order for human beings to grow, evolve and face the challenges of the future.
As we evolve and our cultures change, new forms of literacy are required to give us the proper tools to deal with a broad and ever-changing spectrum of issues.
Emotions are an integral part of human nature. Through them we respond to life in many different ways, such as with anger, happiness, fear, love and loneliness. Emotions influence our thoughts and actions; they inspire our needs; they affect our bodies and impact on our relationships. They are not enemies to be rebuffed, repressed or rejected but rather allies to be honored, understood and directed. Ignored, they become willful tyrants; respected, they are our cherished helpers.
A major contributing factor to many of the problems in modern society is unawareness of the key role played by emotions. Emotional Literacy is a positive preventive tool, which properly understood, can assist society in solving many of its ills. Once acquired, it gives us an alternative to violence, illness, drug abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and global societal conflicts.
The baby whose distress is responded to lovingly and promptly will learn confidence. A child who understands the important role of emotions will have a better foundation for a joyful, fulfilled and integrated life. Adults living in healthy relationships will serve as positive role models for their children. Older people who have learned to practice emotional literacy can complete their days with peace of mind.
Emotional Literacy is universally relevant. It can benefit every individual, every organization, and every profession. It has the capacity to transform each person and their relationships.
Emotional Literacy is a profound and beautiful language available to everyone that can be implemented rapidly, safely, and with lasting effect. Learning how to become emotionally literate is one of the best investments that human beings can make for themselves, their children, and the future.
Emotional Literacy is a key to taking advantage of all possibilities. It is basic to joy and enthusiasm for life and fundamental to your ability to love others.
Enchante Entertainment / KidsEQ.com
Focused initially on children’s emotional education, Ayman created Enchante Entertainment (www.kidseq.com), a media company dedicated to promoting Emotional literacy at home and for families. Enchante published a 21–book series on emotional literacy and a 6–book series on the magic of color. Enchante and its affiliates also created, produced and released two award-winning feature films and three television series for children. These were created in conjunction with media partners SONY, Warner Brothers and HBO, along with producers Norman Lear, actress Shelly Duvall and former Disney animator Jim George. In 2005, Enchante Entertainment assets were sold to Kidseq.com.
FEEL / sixseconds.org
In 1993 Ayman and his wife and partner Rowan Gabrielle founded FEEL, the Foundation for Education in Emotional Literacy (www.feel.org). FEEL was the first nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness for emotional literacy and its first newsletter - mailed to hundreds of thousands of school teachers, universities and psychologists. In 1997, FEEL merged with Josh Freedman and 6seconds, creating an umbrella organization dedicated to promoting the understanding and practice of emotional intelligence in schools, families, organizations and communities. In addition to its newsletter and online learning resource, 6seconds produces NexusEQ, the first global conference on learning and teaching emotional intelligence. Ayman is the initiator of the Emotional Literacy Campaign: a million signature campaign dedicated to raising awareness for the need of Emotional Literacy as an essential life-skill and a core part of every child's education- currently co-sponsored by FEEL/6seconds, KidsEQ and Wholelife. As a key to success, healthy relationships and well being, the project promotes an antidote to some of society’s ills, among these - violence, dysfunctional relationships and illness.
|The 1st Emotional Literacy
Award for FEEL : 1995
|Ayman with Liz Farrington||The Emotional Literacy Bus,
|The American Book Expo, 1994||Jay Shanker & Michael Lopez||Joe Geus|