As children we were taught by our parents what is right and wrong. When we lied, we were punished. Sometimes the punishment didn't fit the crime. Other times, the punishment was non-existent. Parenting is hard. I mean we don't get handed a textbook when the first defiant act comes our way, but we do the best we can. Right?
Matt and I talked about what kind of standards we wanted our children to have. We knew that our religion would back up what values we wanted to instill. The moral fiber of their lives would come not only from what we taught and gave as an example or the church teachings, but also what they considered important to themselves.
We decided that we wanted our children to be proud to be a Brower. Being a Brower meant that you worked hard, shared everything you owned and made other's welcomed into your midst. So I created a card: a family motto of sorts. I typed up our motto bordered around our family picture and magnetized it to the inside of the door.
This was to be a reminder as they walked out the door that they were loved, even after we kissed and hugged them. I created an emergency card with the same picture and the motto on front, and all their pertinent information on the back. The kids took this card to a sleepover or when Matt and I went on our anniversary trips. A copy of this card was given to the family who was taking care of them. If there was an emergency they would have the correct information.
The family motto: Be kind, loving and respectful to others. Go out and do good. Remember you are a Child of God and a Brower! This motto helped them while they were playing or at school. According to my oldest, "no one wanted to disappoint the family. We were Heavenly Father's children AND a Brower, so we tried to live up to that."
We wanted to remind them to be loving and compassionate to other people in their dealings each day. That was the point of our motto. Could we do better than that? Of course. We needed to be a good example for them, so that they knew we really meant what we were saying. As an adult it was hard for me to be what we were asking. I am not even close to perfection.
As I worked on myself it was easier for me to help my children. I knew it would be hard for my children, so they were given leeway to mess up. They are children, they make mistakes, they forget other people have feelings so we teach them and explain to them that we are all allowed to make mistakes so that they don't carry failure on their shoulders if they feel they are disappointing us.
Yes, they get disciplined if something goes too far, but then we teach again what the expectation is and that trust is an important issue between family.
My childhood family helped me to become who I am, I hope that I have done enough with and for my children to continue being the awesome people they are.
Q: Does your family have a motto, or is your child rearing a-wing-it type of deal? What is important for your children to carry forward from their childhood?