Recently I read an article* about the characteristics of grit and how important it is for success. In the article it says: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” Strength is a much touted personality trait that is a part of nearly every protagonist you read about these days. Sadly, grit seems to be a dying quality, but it can be taught… Seeing as we have Father’s Day this month I thought I’d examine some of the fathers who teach the essential characteristics found in grit…

*Forbes online leadership article: 5 Characteristics Of Grit — How Many Do You Have? By Margaret M. Perlis.

Creativity taught by Mr. Vulpin in Hundred Ghost Soup by Robert Chansky

When Jimo is adopted by two fox spirits he finds himself at the center of some plot that includes a construction site full of ghosts. As he works through the challenges Mr. Vulpin lays for him he’s forced to call on every bit of imagination until he concludes the Vulpins were the most unique of parents…

When Jimo is adopted by two fox spirits he finds himself at the center of some plot that includes a construction site full of ghosts. As he works through the challenges Mr. Vulpin lays for him he’s forced to call on every bit of imagination until he concludes the Vulpins were the most unique of parents…

Optimism taught by Mr. Song in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Laura Jean’s widowed father attempts to guide his girls through the traumas of being a teenager. With a positive air, he makes sure they gather for family time and bond together sharing the joys and the hardships.

Courage taught by Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Liesel’s foster-father teaches her to read, and defy the Nazi regime in his own quiet way. Despite her fears and everything she has to lose with such an example she can’t help but take action herself…

Follow Through taught by Ove in A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

The father figure himself is the protagonist and he has staunch principles, a strict routine, and a short fuse. When he finds himself in situations where he has to extend himself he takes that step regardless of his reluctance.

Resilience taught by Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

This dad gets into all sorts of trouble working for the Ministry of Magic and as a member of the Order of the Phoenix who loves Muggles. Nothing keeps this man down though and he bounces back in the epitome of toughness.

Dependableness taught by Pete Zinker in Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

The father in this middle grade story is the dependable acceptance that Beatrice needs for her upside down ways. Learning of her tough day he sweeps in with a treat to end the day right.

Conscientiousness taught by Issac in Bleed Through by Adriana Arrington

This stepfather isn’t sure that he wants his wife’s 25 year old son, Liam, around until his schizophrenia is under control. Yet he stays true to his convictions about how Liam should be treated even though it threatens his career and his marriage.

Endurance taught by Colonel de Luce in Flavia de Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley

We learn Flavia’s father has gone through the terrible trials of war and losing one’s spouse yet he soldiers on for his girls. A stiff upper lip is a requirement for an English gentleman after all.

Confidence taught by Daniel LeBlanc in All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure’s father spends long hours crafting elaborate models of Saint-Malo to teach her how to walk through the city without her eyesight. That nurtured the confidence she needed to survive once he was gone.

Excellence taught by Father in Prophet of the Badlands by Matthew S. Cox

Althea is chased across a desolate landscape certain that her sanctity for life is the oddity not the norm. Its only after a loving father and daughter takes her in and fights for her that she can accept such distinction as a good thing.

Courage, conscientiousness, dependableness, endurance, follow through, resilience, optimism, confidence, creativity, excellence these are the building blocks of grit. A father is the right man for the job of teaching these essential traits. May we find these and other positive characteristics in the dads and fathers populating our fictional worlds.

What did you learn from your own dad?