I'm a big believer in having a "family motto." Some kind of mantra that speaks for what our family is all about. Growing up our family went through several phases to come up with what stuck, "Broaden and Contribute." I know it seems like a small thing...just a few words stuck together, but that little phrase became a big part of what we thought about and who we have become. One year right after my sister and I left for college we got it made up all fancy for my parents for Christmas and it's been on our wall ever since:
Well, it's been a process for my own little family to come up with our own family motto too. When Dave and I were first married we had all kinds of different ideas. But after much deliberation and thought those ideas have evolved into something we all agree on (even the kids). And it is super simple. We purposely chose very elementary words because we want those words to be the seeds from which great things will come (we have big visions).
So what we came up with for our motto is "Learn, Work, Serve, Respect." One little blog post can't really do justice to explain the background behind why we chose each word, but believe me, this is quite thought-out. There are so many different levels and underlying messages behind each word, which we tend to talk about a bunch for FHE. (Dave even wants to change our awards to be just these four words but I'm not quite convinced yet since I just got done getting our original awards all dolled up and laminated.)
The only thing I felt was missing in our motto was somehow incorporating "LOVE" into the mix, because really, love is sort of the underlying theme through all of it. In deciding out how to display our motto in our home (I'm pretty choosy on what things we put up on our walls which I explained here), I tried to figure out how I could draw those words into a heart, or something that would show that love was part of the very fiber of the motto.
Well, my talented sister-in-law Kara came up with the answer for that one with her whiz-bang skills at adobe illustrator and I fell in love:(See how LOVE is incorporated in there? Thank you Kara!!)
So, after I had the basic model it took like six months to figure out how to hang it up and display it.
Wait, let me say that again, it took six months (although I don't need to remind Dave of that because I about drove him batty with all my deliberating). But I must emphasize this because, well, since it was such a huge pain let's just sit and oooo and ahhhhh over it for a minute and have a moment of silence.
There we go.
Now I feel much better.
I know it looks super simple, which is what we wanted, but sometimes super simple takes time to figure out.
This hangs above our fireplace smack-dab in the middle of where we live life every day, and I'm so thankful that it's there, reminding us of what we are...and what we want to become.
One of the things I grasped onto at our Motherhood Retreat a couple weeks ago was how important it is to create unity in a family. It led me to think of what ways we have unity in our home...things like family dinners, Family Home Evening, "Fasting Club" (more on that later) and other things to make us feel like we are together. It made me glad we have a family motto because I know it helps us feel united in a cause. One of the girls at the retreat has a little saying they stand up and say together in their family when they get together with actions and all. So, inspired by her idea (and much to Max's chagrin), I came home and taught the kids how to stand up and say the motto together before we start the "family business" of Family Home Evening each week (complete with our own actions we came up with together). I must say it's pretty darn cute. I'll have to record it before Max's eye-rolls become more evident.
So, there you go...that's why I love family mottos.