A mom shared with me the story of being at a restaurant with her six-year old child who has cerebral palsy. A nice woman came over to their table and give her child a balloon. With a huge smile and perfect eye contact, the child signed, 'Thank you'!
Not only is 'thank you' a word that does not represent a concrete object and requires that the child understand the situation and think abstractly; it also is a word that requires the child to think beyond the world of 'self' and to demonstrate feelings toward another person. Sign language allows a young child to develop and better understand the impact he has on others. When you teach a young child manners using ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry, he can begin to see the positive impact he has on others and begin to develop his emotional intelligence. When he hurts others, he realizes that it doesn't feel good, and he says he's 'sorry'; when he gives others a hug, or a ‘thank you’, he knows it makes them feel good and happy. These acts of personal engagement are important aspects of emotional intelligence. People with high emotional intelligence will find themselves at a great advantage in life.