To promote unity and focus on a mutual philosophy, many families adopt mottos or slogans as a guiding principle. The motto can be serious or humorous as long as it represents a belief or sentiment agreed upon by the majority of the family.
Modern Family Mottos
Today, family mottos are frequently adapted to promote civility, strength in the face of adversity and basic morals and values that help adults and children make good decisions when faced with difficult choices. Good family mottos should be powerful, brief and clear.
The slogans are usually short and to the point so young children can remember and understand them as well as use them to encourage good behavior and choices. For instance, if your family believes in the power of determination and patience, you might consider mottos like, "Nothing Good Happens Fast," "Onward and Upward" or "Quitters Never Win." To personalize the motto, you can simply go with a phrase like, "Smiths Are Not Quitters" or "Thompsons Try and Try Again." Before sitting down with your family to come up with one that everyone deems ideal, consider some example mottos to help steer you in the right direction.
Family Motto Examples
Some family mottos:
- United and growing
- Drawing from our past as we strive towards our future
- Looking to the future
- It's a family affair!
- Don't forget to remember
- Our children: We give them roots so they can take flight
- Love is the main ingredient
- Family always
- The legacy never ends
- New vines from strong roots
- Rooted and grounded in love
- In touch with history and our destiny
- United we stand
- Looking into the past to enrich our future
- Proud of our roots
- Making great memories
- Celebrating our heritage, building our future
- Hoping, inspiring, believing
- Celebrating our roots
- Always there to always care
Choosing a Motto
If your family doesn't have a motto or wants to change an old one to something more reflective of current morals and attitudes, you can make the process fun and structure it to include all the family members old enough to read and write. Include younger family members by making them part of a 'team' with a family member who is old enough to write.
- Gather writing paper, pens or pencils and a dry erase board or chalkboard.
- Schedule a meeting that everyone can attend: parents, children, stepchildren and grandparents who live with their children or reside nearby.
- Explain what a family motto is and its purpose. Keep it simple so the younger children can easily grasp the concept.
- Give examples of commercial mottos like, "Just do it," "Have it your way" or sports team slogans like, "Commitment to excellence" or "Just win, baby."
- Ask what adjectives each person would choose to describe the family, how he thinks others see the family, and what the family's goals and beliefs are.
- Write the suggestions on the board and ask for feedback. Be careful not to make fun of suggestions or let others comment in a chiding manner.
- Distribute the paper and writing instruments to everyone and ask them to write down a family motto suggestion using some of the adjectives on the board.
- Discuss slogans that are too wordy and how to shorten and strengthen them.
- When you have narrowed the selections to two or three slogans, conduct a family vote to determine the winner. If necessary, hold several meetings to give everyone a chance to develop some mottos on their own to submit for review before voting.
- Once the family selects a motto, print out a few copies of it using large, bold lettering and post it around the house.
- Use the slogan as often as possible in applicable situations.
- Agree to meet once or twice a year with the family to discuss the slogan and entertain suggestions for revisions.
Find a book or website with famous quotations that cover topics like morality, truth, self-reliance, good will and humanitarian values, which reflect American family values. Incorporate the words and thoughts of these into personalized statements that reflect your family's personality. Keep in mind that family mottos can be light and self-deprecating, as long as they accurately reflect how the majority of the family members perceive the family unit and suggest an attitude of good will and kindness.