Professional Development

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The Role of Connection in the Lives of Kids, Adults and Society

I love books. I love hearing authors read from, talk about or—in the case of nonfiction—demonstrate the practices from their books. It's especially powerful!

So while presenting at the CASEL SEL Exchange in the fall, I was elated to be surprised by the gift of two books that highlight the important role of connections in the lives of kids, adults and society.

Every Monday Matters: How to Kick Your Week Off with Passion, Purpose, and Positivity by Matthew Emerzian

This book, written by Matt Emerzian—a friend of NAA, current Convention exhibitor and past keynote speaker—is billed as "your guide to self and social transformation." This idea was not new to me as I wrote a testimonial for it a year ago, but I wasn't prepared for my reaction on the plane home from the event after Matt gave me a signed copy. The book is genius in its ability to simplify the complex and make connections for readers. Not only that, it includes a (whole!) chapter on connections, along with:

• A 52-week journey to help you find purpose and ways to use your unique skills to change the world around you.
• Conversation starters to help you connect with others and grow through collaboration.
• Journal entry prompts to promote self-reflection and help you monitor your growth.

Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves and Our Society Thrive by Marc Brackett

While reading this book, written by Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and professor at the Yale Child Study Center, I found myself furiously scribbling notes in my journal. I was today years old when it clicked that—as the author of this book states—"emotions are information."

Despite what some people think and say, emotions do not need to be labeled as positive or negative, but rather assessed for their purpose and impact. Emotions at all ages inform learning, decision-making, relationships, and health, all of which are necessary for personal and professional development.

Simple quotes from the authors say it all about the importance of these topics and the two books:

"Connecting matters." —Matt Emerzian

"It's all connected." —Marc Brackett

How will you work to form deeper connections today?

Written by Heidi Ham, NAA's Vice President of Programs and Strategy.

Photo courtesy of Heidi Ham.