Top 10 [Positive] Character Traits

If you’re a parent, there are often moments when you look at your lovely child bewildered and wondering, “What is going on with you?”

Today was one of those days. My little will be 4 in just a week’s time and we are super excited about all the fun planned for our family and friends on her special day. But, today, my normally happy child became inconsolable because she wanted a specific gift, not later, but RIGHT NOW!

I stared at her while she struggled to verbalize her frustration, and I admit that at first I was irritated by this unprovoked outburst. However, when she finally admitted her fear of not receiving the gift, I just held her close for a few minutes and then we walked into her bedroom to have the important chat about being thankful for our blessings. While there was nothing wrong with her desire to receive a birthday treat, there was a lesson that needed to be taught. A few more hugs later, a reminder of the joy in having her birthday soon, and we were moving on to lunch.

As I went into the kitchen and began preparing food, I began going through the list of character traits I already see in my daughter as well as reviewing the ones we, as her parents, need to reinforce. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, but even if we are sharing character lessons with our kids, we must continue to remind, reinforce, and re-teach the traits we long to see in our young charges to prepare them for the temptations and pressures of the world in which we live.

Which gave me today’s Tops Tuesday list. As a publisher of middle grade and young adult stories, we are currently accepting submissions, and as I read through manuscripts, I realize I am subconsciously looking for these Top 10 positive traits in the characters, just as I’m looking for them in my child. Whether they have to journey through a struggle or conflict to get to these traits, whether they are searching for missing clues, facing bullies, or learning how to accept who God made them to be, it’s my hope the characters our readers meet will encourage them to develop and embrace these same positive traits in their lives.

potatohead wm

Top 10 [Positive] Character Traits for Book Characters in MG/YA Fiction

1. Kindness
Kindness should not just be a noun, but it should, more importantly, be a verb. It’s easy to feel entitled and selfish in today’s society, but to show kindness is to exemplify Christ and his compassion for others.
(Luke 10:25-37)

2. Patience
The struggle is real in today’s bite-sized, right now mentality. But, to be patient is to be like Christ, and to show patience is to allow yourself and others to thrive, be authentic and to think about the outcome before damage can be done.
(Romans 8:25)

3. Gratitude
Today’s lesson for my daughter was a simple one: look around at all you have been blessed with and give thanks. There are many around the world and in our own backyard that have less and still find a way to be thankful. How can we be anything less than grateful for God’s provision to us each day?
(I Thessalonians 5:18)

4. Courage
There is much on the news and in the world that can shake us or cause us to be afraid. There are life events that leave us scarred and timid. But, God has called us to be strong and courageous and to take a stand for Him in all that we do and say.
(Deuteronomy 31:6)

5. Honesty
I would rather have someone speak truth than to have them crush my trust by speaking lies. To be able to speak honestly in love and to have integrity can be hard, and I pray that we can teach our youth not to sacrifice the truth of the Word for worldly gain.
(Proverbs 19:1)

6. Joy
While we have been taught that happiness can be fleeting, as believers in Christ, we know that the joy of Lord is our strength. Not all stories must have characters that are brooding, negative and unhappy. I enjoy a character that smiles or has a skip in their step because they are a light to those around them.
(Proverbs 17:22)

7. Adventurous
I love a good adventure story; enjoy reading about how a character overcomes obstacles on their journey. The truth is our day-to-day life can be an adventure with mountains to climb, forests to travel through, and villains to defeat. God created us for our own adventure, and He can open the doors for experiences we could never imagine.
(Isaiah 41:10)

8. Creativity
As human beings we all long to fit in, to be accepted, and to not stand out. Yet, it is those who dare to be authentic, original and inventive that we are drawn to and inspired by in our lives. Being creative does not mean you have to be weird, strange or different just for the sake of drawing attention. Being creative means to be whom God made you to be-a one-of-a kind individual with unique talents and skills.
(Romans 12:2)

9. Perseverance
Don’t Give Up. Don’t ever quit. It’s okay to know your weaknesses, to be sad, or to know what skills are not your best, but if God has put something in front of you, He has a plan to get you through it, and giving up should not be an option.
(I Corinthians 15:58)

10. Confidence
God didn’t make us to be wimpy and withdrawn. It’s good to be self-confident, to know who we are and be aware of our gifts, talents and skills as well as our quirks and fears. We shouldn’t be arrogant about it nor should we be self-serving. If we remember our strengths come from the Lord, we can speak and act with authority and conviction.
(Philippians 4:13)

What character traits do look for in your children? What traits are important that our youth learn? What types of characters would you like your middle grade and young adults to read about in their books? Thanks for sharing!

Lambie Love,