Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. It has various components, shown in the figure below.
EI has gained in importance over the past few years for its contribution in several fields like working environment, leadership and relationships among individuals.
Moreover, the  fact that in our  fast paced highly technological world, children are spending too much  time behind computer screens and smartphones, chatting with friends and even strangers on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter etc, creating an even greater need, now more than ever, to develop EI, from an early age. This is also valid for society at large.
 Our traditional education system has always focused on academic results, leading to   elitism, and expecting our children to be among the best which is synonymous with success, power and money.  But is this enough? Or are there other factors that need to be taken into consideration for a holistic development and evolution of our children?  
We tend to believe that successful people are gifted from birth, however it has been noted that over time, natural talent seems to   emerge in some people and subside in others. EI, if instilled at an early stage, can positively affect the development of the children transforming them into better persons, showing respect for others’ opinions  and practising positive interaction.
As shown in the Figure above, Empathy plays a vital role as children must learn how to work together first, before focusing on achieving academic goals. This will help them later on in their adult life when they will have to work in team to devise strategies and plans with other co members.  
Some practical applications of EI on children are for example when street gangs substitute for families and school yard insults end up in stabbings at bus stations between gangs. These can be addressed by inculcating in our kids respect for others ‘opinion and the practice of positive interactions.  By applying characteristics of self awareness and self regulation since early childhood,  we will educate our children on how to respect differences  of opinions without resorting to personal attacks and how to accept others even when their attitudes, beliefs, values are different . The key to success is to establish an environment of trust and respect both in the classroom and at home.  However, parents and teachers should agree on the principle that both EI and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) are important.
It’s not enough to simply fill the brains of children with facts, figures and theories. Unlike our traditional educational system, EI helps children to face the tests of life and NOT a life of tests! There must also be an element of social and emotional learning (coined SEL) in their growth process, be it at school, with their teachers and friends and at home with their close relatives. By applying EI our children learn how to control their emotions, how to positively resolve conflicts and take responsible decisions.
Research has shown that promoting social and emotional learning among children has led to reduced violence and aggression, better academic results, and improved learning environment. These have a determining impact on their adult life in the future.
Our current education system needs to be reviewed to take into consideration the growing importance of EI and the benefits it will bring for our children, if it is correctly integrated in their educational program.  If we neglect this part then we’re acknowledging that a test score is more important to us than considering our child as a human being.
As previously mentioned social and emotional learning will only succeed if there is the joint participation of parents and teachers implying that both parties must be trained.
Ultimately children using their EI will be better prepared to face adult life when they will have to work in team towards a common goal, devise plans and strategies, handle disagreements and conflicts with their colleagues.
Imagine how much happier we would  be, how much more successful as individuals, and how civil as a society we would be, if we were more conscious of the importance of emotional intelligence and were more motivated in learning and applying it to our day to day activities? Research has shown that from kindergartens to business schools and to corporations across the country, people are taking seriously the idea that a little more time spent on the « touchy feely » skills so often derided may in fact pay rich dividends.
At Financial Toastmasters International we learn to develop our leadership and speaking skills in an atmosphere of trust and respect. People are assessed and judged in a positive manner, there are always constructive comments on how to improve our performance. There is also a good team spirit among the team members with a “will” to continuously improve the performance level. Each member has a mentor whose role is to help his/her mentee progress along the different levels. To conclude it can be said that it is never too late to learn EI and continuous learning and application of this concept will be beneficial to the individual and to society at large.