Zest is a strength of the mind and is also referred to as vitality. It is an approach to life that is filled with excitement and energy.
Actively participating, showing enthusiasm, approaching new situations with excitement and energy, and invigorating those around you positively affects you as a student and a person. Young children often naturally exhibit these character traits, and unfortunately wanes over time, but then increases later in life.
At the STEM Academy we make it a goal that we are not only helping students grow academically but we are connecting them with things they can have enthusiasm for. We strive to foster a love of learning, but just help students get smarter. Parents can help with this. Often we think that zest is related to being extraverted, and that this is a fixed disposition of each child, they are or they are not. Characterlab.org points out, “Zest is about exhibiting enthusiasm and feeling energized. But zest doesn’t need to be loud—the quiet, introverted artist can approach her latest project with zest, even if she is alone in her studio.” Teachers and parents can observe zest in several ways that include,
- Actively participating by asking questions or listening closely
- Showing enthusiasm through smiles or excited comments
- Approaching new situations with excitement and energy
- Invigorating others around you
Zest is a character trait that can be nurtured and you can grow whether you tend toward extraversion or introversion.
I would like to encourage you to take some time and reflect about what you are enthusiastic about and share that with your child. I am excited about being in nature, and spending time with my family.
Over spring break I went hiking in the Smokey Mountains with my family and we played in a cold mountain stream for about an hour. My little daughters feet were nearly blue, but she loved making boats out of leaves and sending them over the rapids with her cousins. It excited me to share my love of nature and the outdoors with my family and I came back to the STEM Academy recharged and energized. Here is a link to Character Lab with additional readings and information about the character trait of zest. https://characterlab.org/tools/zest