All About Family Mottos, Mantras, and More

By Breanne Ballard

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Have you heard about families that have mottos and mission statements and thought, “Isn’t that a corporate thing?” Maybe you’ve also wondered if having these would be good for your family. Keep reading and I’ll give you the inside scoop on family mottos, mantras, and mission statements, so you can use them to help lead your family.

Family mottos, mantras, mission statements, slogans, etc. are words, phrases, or larger statements that convey the core values and guiding principles that your family needs in order to be successful and obtain the vision you have as a unit for your family.

Does that sound like something your family could use? Let’s dig deeper into how you can use this in your family.

What is the difference between family mottos, mantras, mission statements, and slogans?

First let’s start by defining all of these different types of statements so we know what we’re talking about, right?

Motto

a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit, purpose, or guiding principles of a person, organization, city, etc.,

“We can do hard things”

“Make the most of every moment”

“Be amazing”

Mantra

From Sanskrit words meaning “mind-vehicle”. The idea of a mantra is to help your mind remember and refocus on our own thoughts to better ones

“We are powerful.”

“We strengthen each other to help us grow better.”

Mission Statement

A written statement that sets out a family’s purposes and goals

Image a more in-depth statement from the mottos and mantras above.

Slogan

A distinctive cry, phrase, or motto of any party, group, manufacturer, or person; catchword or catch phrase.

“Just do it”

“Get to it”

Definitions adapted from those found on dictionary.com

As you can see, they are all very similar, especially in their purpose. The idea of all of them is to clearly communicate the values and guiding principles of the family. A motto does this in a short, simple word or phrase. A mantra does this on a deeper, more spiritual level. (Although more often mantra and motto is used interchangeably.)  Mission statements are longer, and more comprehensive a statement than the others. Slogans are catchy and fun.

Every family can benefit from a collection of all of these types of statements. So, let’s explore why and how you should adopt one for your family.

Why should I create a family motto, mantra, or mission statement?

Having and using these types of statements in your home is a good way to create family vision and unity. When your family knows what is expected of them as a family then it’s easier to make the necessary choices it takes to achieve that goal. It helps a family move forward together as a team.

The oft quoted Cheshire Cat from the book Alice in Wonderland applies here. Alice asks the cat, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cat tells Alice that it depends on where Alice wants to get to. She replies that she doesn’t care where she goes, to which the Cheshire Cat says, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

As a leader in your family, you do care what direction your family takes. You care what core values that your family adopts. When you create family mission statements, mottos, and mantras you give your family that clear vision of where your family wants to go and what it takes to get there. You give them direction.

A good family motto is one that is the best reflection of what your family values most.

Every family has its own unique identity. Your family motto is not going to be the same as another family’s, because every family is different. Every family has a different family dynamic, belief or value system, culture, interests, etc. That’s why family mottos are so fun, they’re appreciated the most by the family that they come from.

There are many places on the internet that you can go to get ideas of family mottos. If you need a little inspiration for where to start with your family I would recommend doing a Google search. But remember, this is a place to start. Be sure that whatever you choose, take the time to fully customize it to your family.

For example, I like the motto “We can do hard things.” The times that  personally, and as a family, that we have needed a motto are during tough times. The moments where we need some grit to pull through a difficult situation. Our family is a Christian family, so I wanted our family motto to reflect our belief in Jesus Christ. I found a talk given by one of our church leaders who had changed the phrase to, “In the strength of the Lord, I can do all things.” I loved this modification and this is the one that we chose for our family motto.

Remember that mottos and mission statements do not necessarily reflect things that your family is already good at doing. If your family struggles with something in particular, or you have a family history of a negative quality that you do not want to continue with your own family, put wording in your mission statement that reflects what you would like to see if your family instead.

Mottos don’t always have to be serious either. A motto can be phrased more like a slogan that gets the same message across in a way that is lighter and catchier.

How do you write a family motto, mantra, or mission statement?

Start by reflecting on the vision you would like to see for your family. Imagine what you would like to see your family doing or being like in five, ten, or fourty plus years from now. Definitely include your partner or spouse in these discussions so that you can work together to create this vision. 

Once you have gathered your thoughts together, I suggest taking these thoughts to a family meeting including your children so that you can gather their input as well. Remember, this is a family effort so, in order for this to be successful, it’s most likely to happen when everyone is on board. This is trickier to do with younger children, who may not understand what this is all about but the more they feel like they’re part of it the easier it will be to get them to follow along.

Turn this vision and ideas into statements that can be remembered easily. Try to be concise and creative.

What this looks like in my family.

When my husband and I decided to create a motto and mission statement for our family I liked the idea of specifically defining what it means to be a Ballard. Our vision is a spiritual one. We believe that it is possible for our family to be together as a family in heaven. It is our goal that all the members of our family do what they need to get there. We chose a scripture from the Book of Mormon that reflected that belief and that vision. We liked the word “rejoice” in that scripture and decided to use it as an acronym for the characteristics and values we had chosen that we wanted in our family.

Our mission statement ended up being this. 

Ballards are:

  • Respectful
  • Enlightened
  • Joyful
  • Obedient
  • Industrious
  • Charitable
  • Enduring

 

I know, it’s kind of a mouthful. Especially since, at the time my kids were so young. They could barely say the words, much less understand what they meant, but we decided it was worth it because we wanted it to be timeless and consistent in our family. That way it would get really settled in their brains during the time that they are in our home.

As they have grown, we’ve been able to talk about those words, what they mean, and what they look like in real life. These words especially come in handy when I need to make some corrections in their behavior. It’s nice to be able to ask them if what they are doing in the moment is respectful, obedient, charitable, industrious, etc. That way they can recognize that what they are doing is not a behavior that is helpful to get us to our family goals.

I’ve already mentioned our family motto. We feel like this statement is a comprehensive way of stating where we go to get the ability we need to make this mission statement happen. 

All of us have this memorized and we repeat them often during family meetings or devotionals. The more we can find to talk about them during everyday life the better! What good is a mission statement or motto if my kids can’t use them to guide their daily life?!

Again, use this example as inspiration for your own family or feel free to do something completely different! Find what works best for your family’s needs!

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