Take the Survey! What Character Traits Do You Most Want to Instill in Your Child?

Word cloud of character traits popular with the GeekMoms. Graph by Ariane Coffin using Wordle.
Word cloud of character traits popular with the GeekMoms. Graph by Ariane Coffin using Wordle.

When we were expecting our first child, my husband and I attended a childbirth class at the local hospital. One particular exercise they made us do in class really stuck with me. The nurse passed around a worksheet to each attendee, which contained a list of character traits, then ask everyone to fill out which traits they would most like to instill in their child.

It was an exercise for expectant parents to communicate with their partners what core values they would like to see in their homes. My husband and I had similar results, with character traits akin to our rebellious streak. What really surprised me, when the nurse asked us to read our selections aloud, was how many couples valued the exact opposite from our responses. Character traits I had snickered and scoffed at while doing the exercise, such as obedient and loyal, came up more than once.

It was the first time I felt “different” from other parents, a feeling that grew to become the core of my geekmom identity. Since then I have frequently pondered: As a general rule, would geeks really answer the test differently than non-geeks?

Time to answer that question! I formulated my own survey, which I hope you will take and share with your geek and non-geek friends alike. Take the survey here! There’s a few extra questions about your geek status, age, and gender, so I can further divide the data into possible trends. I’m curious to see if a pattern will emerge between geek and non-geeks, parents of young kids vs parents of grown kids, and women vs men. Let’s get some data, wooh!

As a test run, I asked the GeekMoms to take the test. Here are our results…

Popular character traits. Graph by Ariane Coffin.
Popular character traits. Graph by Ariane Coffin.

Out of 47 available character traits, 25 were selected at least once. Creative was the most popular choice, with 9 votes, followed by humorous with 8 votes and curious with 7 votes.

The fourth place, with 5 votes each, is split between compassionate, considerate, and adventurous. Sharing the fifth place are open-minded, and resilient. In the sixth place are responsible, kind, confident, hard-working, and respectful. Seventh place are capable, optimistic, knowledgeable, trustworthy, book-smart, and honest.

Finally, with only one vote each are witty, wise, determined, generous, independent, and realistic.

Even if it’s an anonymous test, I had fun seeing the results roll in. I wasn’t sure if I’d see much overlap between our selections, and was pleased to see some definite favorites.

Much to my puzzlement, one GeekMom selected both optimistic and realistic. When I was designing the list, I definitively pictured optimistic and realistic as opposites. I never imagined one person could think they would complement each other! However, now that I think about it, I guess it makes sense. You’d want your kids to see the bright side of things, while remaining attached to reality. I get that!

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Ariane is a programmer married to another programmer. Together they have two little girls who don't stand a chance against their nerdy lineage. Ariane can also be found writing about STEM travel at Geekling's Guide to the Galaxy.