4-H helps youth become more adaptable

Adaptability is an important skill for all you to have and practice daily.

Change is inevitable in life and learning to adapt is a valuable lifelong skill for youth to develop. Adaptability is an emotional intelligences skill, also known as EQ. Clinical psychologist and author Daniel Goleman states that EQ might matter more than IQ when it comes to life successes.

Through 4-H projects, members have the opportunity to really test the assumptions they make. Volunteers can guide youth in adjusting plans as new information is gained. According to Michigan State University Extension, flexibility is an adaptability skill of emotional intelligence. Being flexible indicates that a person has the ability to adjust to changing circumstances. Through the course of a typical 4-H project year, members may experience many challenges; learning to be flexible helps youth deal with the challenges in a productive way. 4-H volunteers can help youth develop the skill of flexibility by helping them view the challenge as an opportunity.

The ability to make decisions and problem solve are valuable talents as well as important adaptability skills of emotional intelligence. While youth develop their growing proficiency at solving problems, volunteers can help by staying patient and providing guiding questions. It is important for adults not to solve problems for the 4-H members, but rather guide the youth as they work through the problem on their own. Helping members identify several solutions, and then weigh the advantages of each, is a role the volunteer can take in helping youth practice problem solving skills.

Through its various delivery models, Michigan 4-H continues to uniquely position support for youth to learn and develop their adaptability skills throughout their 4-H participation.

A series of Emotional Intelligence Activities is available, for parents or other adults working with youth through The University of Illinois 4-H for various age groups. For more information about resources available through Michigan 4-H Youth Development, contact your local MSU Extension county office.

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