When I put something in my home, I like it to be meaningful, lovely or useful. About two years ago, I felt a real need for our family to have a family motto; a phrase, sentence or word that would help direct my boys each day and guide our lives as adults as well. After much prayer and deliberation we decided on 4 succinct phrases to sum up what we believe is the purpose of our lives and united them with our family name at the top.
Do Hard Things. We are here to push ourselves, grow, and reach our potential…physically, intellectually, and spiritually; the only way to make this happen is by doing hard things.
Put Others First. There is a lot to this one, but to sum it up, it means to put others’ needs before our own. We think of others before ourselves in our home, school, church, community, nation and world.
Live With Gratitude. We are blessed beyond measure. We will not waste time thinking about the things we don’t have, but will live gratefully every day and remember to express our gratitude, verbally and written, to those who sacrifice their time, means or comfort for us.
Follow Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate example. We will do all we can to pattern our lives after the one He led.
The motto is simple but is so powerful for our family. Every family would surely choose something different but equally inspiring for them. A friend of mine chose a short phrase, “Have I done any good in the world today?” from a popular hymn. It encompassed their mission as a family. Anything, as long as it’s meaningful for you, is right.
Once we had our motto, I wanted to display it prominently in our home so we could see and say it every day. I knew I wanted it to look like subway art, so I made a little drawing of what I was hoping for, then I sent it to an artist on Etsy. After she created it with the dimensions 18 x 56 (awesome because it is big enough to make an impact but fits anywhere and is especially great for filling dead wall space), I printed it at Canvas On Demand because they do custom canvas sizes, and they did an awesome job. I had a Groupon so it wasn’t even too pricey.
As you can probably tell, we LOVE it. Before the boys go to school each morning, we gather round and each of us put our hands in to the middle, one by one, like a team cheer as we say the motto together. At the end we yell, “Gooooooo Romneys!” Cheezy, I know, but they love it (all 4 of them) and I love hearing their high little voices reciting the qualities of the men we hope they will one day become.
If you don’t have a motto, start thinking!
Tips on creating your own family motto.
Decide what matters most to your family. Make it something that will direct your lives, and involve your children as you debate what is most important to you.
Create easy phrases. Long paragraphs are interesting and all inclusive, but they are easy to forget. Make it succinct and meaningful.
Wait a bit. We created ours when our oldest was eight. I was glad we waited a bit because as the kids get older, real life seems to come into focus, your children’s personalities develop and you exit the hazy baby/toddler world. I was glad we gave it a few years but happy we didn’t wait too long.
Design your look. I have learned, when using artists or people on Etsy, if you know what you want, sketch it out and send them a picture. This is what I did and I ended up with exactly what I wanted. So much better than trying to describe it over email.
Send it to Printable Wisdom. Ashley at Printable Wisdom does beautiful work. For only $12 she will make your motto into a work of art that you will love forever. $12! For her custom listing, click here. I will definitely be using her for other custom needs! She quickly creates JPEG files that you can then upload to your favorite printer and get them in any size you wish.
Print at Canvas on Demand. If you decide not to frame it and want it on canvas, I would recommend Canvas on Demand. They offer custom sizes and did a great job with my motto. It turned out beautifully. Wait for a sale or Groupon as they happen often on the site. The normal price for a canvas as large as mine is $175. I waited for a Groupon and the total cost for my family motto was about $100. So worth it!!
Do you have a family motto? What is it?
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We don't have a family motto but I think it's a great idea! It's something your kids will see and think about.. and when faced with big decisions they'll probably ask, "does it follow what I stand for, does it follow my family motto?"
The canvas print is absolutely beautiful!
What a GREAT idea!! I love it!
Love it! Your motto is awesome. Thanks so much for mentioning my Etsy shop! 🙂
Thanks Dani! We love it. Get thinking!
Thanks Ashley. I love your stuff too and can't wait to use you for a custom printable!!
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Thank you for this!!! We are coming up with our family motto tonight . . . and in preparation, I stumbled across your blog post on pinterest. We think alike! Your family motto is similar to one I had imagined for our family. Thank you for writing this up!!!
P.S. I was thinking your blog name sounded familiar! I loved your segment on Studio 5 about welcoming new neighbors! I will definitely use those ideas.