I grew up to a lot of lectures.
Not that I was in trouble all the time; these lectures were well-rounded in purpose, size, length, and topic. But one thing they all had in common- they were all repeated.
I can still remember sitting at the dinner table in my teen years and hearing my dad rehearse the economics speech, or the politics speech, or the personal responsibility speech.
The lectures were impactful, but what I can still recall verbatim were his proverbs- little pithy sayings that really became our family mantras. Some of them I still repeat to my kids:
“Any job big or small, do it right or not at all.”
“You can’t push a rope.”
“Always ask yourself, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?'”
Some of them were so loaded with pessimism that I try to forget them:
“Anything worth having is too much trouble.”
“If you don’t know what to do, just take a bite and chew like hell.”
The value of these statements was that words were being imbedded into my mind and heart at such a young age and decades later I still remember them.
It is pretty amazing to consider the potential and the power behind our words. Especially as parents- we have the opportunity to lay foundational “mantras” into the hearts of our children that will be there for the rest of their lives. At critical crossroads, when life becomes most challenging, at moments when stress is high and their response is required- those words will have the opportunity to influence choices that will define their destiny.
The question Hannah and I stopped to ask ourselves was, “In those critical moments, what do we want our kids to hear us saying?”
we have the opportunity to lay foundational “mantras” into the hearts of our children that will be there for the rest of their lives.
This led us into a process of discovering and crafting those mantras we wanted to define our family. And it became more than just for our kids. We began to ask about the kind of culture we wanted to create in our marriage, our workplaces, our community, and our church.
What kind of legacy did we want to leave in our relationships?
In the end, we realized a common theme: it all came down to attitude.
Jesus was big on that. His teachings often revealed the true attitudes behind the decisions and fruit of life. Whereas we tend to make decisions and assessments based on the external dynamics surrounding us, He exposes that it is the inward attitudes and motivations which are worth evaluating. This is where God’s eyes are fixed, on the heart.
Our attitude drives our actions.
To be honest, our mantras are still a work in progress, and we hope to share more about the story behind each value in upcoming posts. For now, read them below and then ask yourself, “What attitudes are driving me?”
The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.