Emerson wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” The positive power of enthusiasm can provide the extra boost that turns adequate skill into awesome results.
Enthusiasm is expressing joy in each task while putting forth one’s best effort. The word comes from the Greek verb enthusiadzo meaning “to infuse with a divine spirit.”
Enthusiasm and smiling seem to go hand in hand, but which comes first? Recent studies indicate that smiling can actually improve your mood, which begs the question: do enthusiastic people smile often, or are people enthusiastic because they frequently smile? Either way, it makes the day more pleasant.
Sharing enthusiasm with our children has benefits that have been recognized for years. John Adams said, “I find by repeated experimentation and observation in my school, that human nature is more easily wrought upon and governed by promises and encouragement and praise than by punishment and threatening and blame.”
I Will Statements
- I will be an energy-giver.
- I will smile.
- I will treat every job as important.
- I will put my whole heart into what I do.
- I will not be discouraged by failure.
Weighing in at 50 tons and measuring nearly 50 feet, humpback whales do everything in a big way. These majestic sea mammals glide through the water at about 20 miles per hour and then flip up their tails, sending their bodies straight up through the surface of the water. This unexplained activity is called breaching. Many words can be used to describe breaching, but half-hearted is not among them. It takes all the whale’s strength and energy to lift its massive body out of the water. Whale watchers flock to see this enthusiastic display of behavior.
When we put everything we’ve got into the tasks we’re working on, we demonstrate enthusiasm.
Character Building Blocks
Enthusiasm can be as contagious as the common cold. Here are a few ideas for spreading enthusiasm with your family and friends.
Show genuine interest in your child’s art or homework by asking specific questions. Ask about color selection, technique, or the thought process used to develop an idea. Show support and encouragement by displaying the finished product in your home.
Help children see the positive in situations by viewing defeats as stepping stones to success. Thomas Edison was asked how he felt about inventing the light bulb after so many failed efforts. “None of my thousands of attempts could have been failures, or I never could have succeeded,” he said.
Encourage everyone in your home to approach dull, tedious tasks with enthusiasm. You might even devise a competition to see who can finish their chores with the most enthusiasm. Judging could be a challenge, but it will make doing the dishes much more fun.
- Enthusiasm Makes the Difference by Norman Vincent Peale offers anecdotes and advice for infusing our lives with positive energy.
- Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner will remind young readers that happiness is everywhere around us.