Learn how to use a simple family motto or slogan to help manage behavior, inspire unity, reinforce family values, and choose what matters.
Crafting a Family Motto
Several years ago, my oldest son and I were walking in the forest after a string of rainy days. Everything was lush green and there were hundreds of fantastic mushrooms, molds, and lichens growing on trees, logs, and the forest floor.
Fascinated by their unusual colors and spongy textures, he wanted to learn more about them…with his feet! Just as he was about to kick a uniquely tall yellow mushroom, I gently pulled him back, crouched down and told him, “Enjoy, don’t destroy.”
That afternoon, those three words accidentally became our family motto!
Related: 10 Ways to Make Kids Laugh
What is a Family Motto?
A family motto is a short phrase or slogan that generalizes your family’s beliefs and values. Whether they rhyme or not, the words of a family motto should prioritize mutual respect, thought before action, empathy, kindness, and relationships. Some family mottos may be silly, while others may be inspired by a religious text or favorite author.
A strong family motto unifies your family and helps kids understand how to treat others and the environment around them. Read more about the importance of establishing a good motto here.
How Do You Use a Family Motto?
Simply put, you repeat it (or think it) over and over again!
Sometimes I remind my children of our family motto as a question. For example, when I caught my boys coloring on the bedroom door with markers I asked, “Are you enjoying our home or destroying it?” My youngest considered the question and replied in his funny three-year-old way, “Destroying it, Mommy.”
“Well, what should we do to solve this problem?”
“I’ll get wipes, Mommy.”
Awesome—the problem was solved by him without nagging, harping, or barking orders on my behalf. He learned that their actions were inappropriate and an important family value was reinforced; treat all property with respect.
And then there are the whining days. Oh, the whining days! The days the kids are tired, cranky, and impossible to please! On those days, when I’m frustrated with their choices and want to raise my voice, I take a deep breath and remind myself:
Enjoy, don’t destroy.
Then there are those days when nothing goes right. Spilled juice on a freshly mopped floor. Low fuel in the tank of the car with no gas station in sight! Like, when you are already running late, but a small child tugs on your leg because he needs help with his shoes. You could just pick him up and go, or take the time to help him tie those shoes.
In these frustrating moments, we have a choice; destroy confidence and relationships or enjoy every bit of the mess!
Our family motto has taught our boys that our family is a family who cares about and appreciates each other and those around us. Three simple words, with incredible depth and importance, guide our daily thoughts, actions, and choices.
Enjoy, don’t destroy.
More Examples of Family Slogans
Still searching for just the right motto for your family? Here are some more ideas:
- Live simply, love abundantly
- Don’t worry be happy
- Go Team [last name]
- Do your very best
- Spread your love like fire
- Be kind every time
- Always there to always care
- The [last name] family never gives up
- We’re always better together
- Work hard, play harder
- Outdoor play, every day (this is another one of ours)
- In our family, we do [dinner, hugs, forgiveness, etc.]
- Be thankful every day
- Everything is awesome
- Families share, families care
- Nourish your body, soul, and relationships
- Make great memories
- These are the good old days
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Photo Credit: © Halfpoint | Adobe Stock
This post was originally published in August 2012.