Enthusiasm Was Contagious

Enthusiasm was contagious.


Typically, each Biodesign class session began with a lesson plan. However, students were encouraged to bring in photos, articles, quotes, or questions, all of which could send us off on a merry chase looking for truth, beauty and goodness. Here is an example. I wrote the piece on enthusiasm several weeks ago, but lacked the photo to complement it.  Evidently I was waiting for Ilani Ellermeier to provide the “perfect pic.” Thanks Ilani, for sharing your “Goddess within.”

The English language is a complex mélange consisting of probably over 500,000 words, including slang, scientific, technical and adopted foreign words and phrases.  My all-time favorite word is of Greek origin and hopefully represents the essence of The Biodesign Class.  I can only imagine that the Greek (or Greeks) that coined it must have experienced an epiphany or overwhelming sense of joy and blurted out, “entheos,” literally translated, “God is within.”  The English version is enthusiasm.  The Christian perspective could be described as being, “filled with the Holy Spirit,” but, as a state of being, the word transcends all religions.  Students who were not self-identified Christians were equally capable of experiencing “enthusiasm.”  A quick look at a thesaurus reveals why.

Enthusiasm: noun Definition: keen interest, excitement.

Synonyms: activity, ardency, ardor, avidity, conviction, craze, dash, devotion, eagerness, earnestness, ecstasy, emotion, energy, exhilaration, fad, fanaticism, feeling, fervor, fever, fieriness, fire, flame, flare, frenzy, fury, gaiety, glow, go*, heat, hilarity, hobby, impetuosity, intensity, interest, joy, joyfulness, keenness, life, mania, mirth, nerve, oomph, orgasm, passion, pep, rapture, red heat, relish, snap, spirit, transport, vehemence, verve, vim, vivacity, warmth, zeal, zealousness, zest, élan.

Opinions of the Biodesign class vary widely, depending on the personal experience of student or chaperone.  There were times of fear, doubt, anger or frustration, but I don’t recall hearing (or feeling) the words dull or boring.

The antonyms of enthusiasm can be revealing as well.  The small number of students who dropped the class probably did so because of one or more of the following:

Aloofness, apathy, coldness, coolness, doubt, indifference, lethargy, pessimism, weariness.

There were many times when I felt like a “cheater teacher.”  There were teachers, in all areas of high school curriculum, who are capable of generating great enthusiasm, in choral and instrumental music, the class room, gym, computer lab, industrial arts and athletic field.  Taking students to Yosemite, Grand Canyon and the Mendocino Coast was usually all that was necessary to generate mountains, canyons and oceans of enthusiasm.

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