Family crests, family ancestry, or Justin Bieber….you decide!

My daughter heard me talking the other day about family motto’s.  I was chosen as Lou  Loves Learning’s Face Book Fan Friday and I was answering some questions about my personality, who inspires me, and my goals.  Of course she, being the kid who loves music and wishes the ipod could be permanently glued to her hand,  quickly focused on the songs I noted as our family motto.  She is no stranger to “We Are Family” but she was wondering why I was telling someone, and what it had to do with us…oh, and “whats a family motto mommy?!” 

She was curious and had many questions for me.  Do we have more mottos?  Do we need them?  Are they important?  What are they?  Who makes them up?  What was yours as a kid mommy?  Did grandma have one?  All of these questions, not so many answers…lol! 

Basically, I made it up kid.  We’ll not really.  I have always felt the song accurately described me, us, my family growing up, how I feel about many of my friends, our family now.  Just didn’t tell anyone, or make it official.  I am not alone I am sure, a million other people feel the same way too…lol!  However, my kids know these songs, know that I love to play them, and so in turn they do too!  Oh, so is this is how these things (motto’s) are passed along?!  I’m not really sure. 

Well, it got me thinking.  Do other families have mottos?  If so, what are they?  Are they discussed.  Do the kids know about them?  I don’t think I had an official family motto growing up (other than – mom is always right!).  Not aware of any of my friends having one either.  Then I started wondering if maybe they were subtle.  An unwritten rule.  Something an outsider wouldn’t know or wasn’t told.  Were the kids in the loop?  Did they even know?  I’m still wondering…and curious.  I need to ask my mom, sibling, and my friends to see what they say.

Wondering, I googled family mottos and wouldn’t you know it…lots of people have them (or so it appears!).  Sayings, quotes, songs, coats of arms, inside jokes, lots of things really.  Who knew?!  Not me.  Hmmm….do their kids know?! 

Having had some time to reflect on it, I think family motto’s are cool.  A way to bring people together.  Good for kids…gives them a common bond and something to hang onto…even when I am gone.  So I need to make sure my kids know about ours.  Its important to me…..and one day hopefully it will have meaning and be important to them!  I can only hope:)

And while I am sitting here typing, my daughter just asked me WHY don’t we have Justin Bieber’s – “Never Say Never” as our family motto?  I guess it means she “gets it”.  Yikes.  So, it looks like we’ll be adding one more….she’s lucky I am on the Bieber bandwagon, but that’s another whole post…..maybe someday soon!

In the meantime, we will be having fun singing and dancing….hope you do the same!


What do you think about family motto’s?  Do you have one?  What is it?  Do your kids know?  Do you think a motto is important?  How did you choose?  Did you have one growing up?

About Rita Brennan Freay

The journey of a 1000 miles always ends with a dirty diaper. Headmaster of a self inflicted international preschool & visitor center compassionately changing kids lives, one diaper at a time.
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29 Responses to Family crests, family ancestry, or Justin Bieber….you decide!

  1. I think we all have mottos or sayings that represent what we stand for as a family. Many of these were passed down from my mother and I would guess though I don’t know ( my mom died early) that they were passed down from her parents.


  2. Lovely post Rita and glad that being my Facebook Fan of the week inspired! We didn’t have anything like that growing up really but also being a music loving family we have songs that mean something to all of us. For me and my husband the main one is Lou Reed’s Perfect Day which we danced to at our wedding. We have many others but I like the idea of a motto – I may just have to think of one for us.
    Louise Edington
    Finding YOUR Freedom

  3. Hi Rita,
    What a wonderful post! Touches everyone some way. Whether or not we officially recognize them, we ALL have personal traditions. And if we belong to a group, we participate in that group’s traditions, too. They’re part of our personal and group identity. They remind us who we are and keep us strong. What else could a family want? As for me, my wife and I have always assured each other, “Hey, I love you, even though you’re my last chance!” No traditional songs, though.

  4. Growing up I didn’t have a family motto. I think their super cool though! I know when my husband and I start a family we will probably have a family motto. I’m all about bonding and creating something that we all just understand between “us.” Thanks for sharing this….it’s always great reading what people grew up. Love the new motto Never Say Never by Bieber :)

    Alara K. Castell
    Your Sassy Spiritual Guide

  5. Pat Zahn says:

    No family motto, no song, but for awhile my daughter and I had an “our song” – It was Smooth by Rob Thomas and Carlos Santana… No reason except that we just liked it and we’d dance to it together. We do have traditions that we maintain and I think that falls into the same category. If it were strictly up to me, our motto would be “Always be Honest.” Since I grew up with secrets, I don’t tolerate them as an adult. (Unless it’s what you’re getting me for my birthday…)

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      “Always be honest” one of the hardest virtues to live by! My daughter got an award last week for honesty at school…I hope I had something to do with that…lol! Now, she questions me questioning her….this should be fun! I don’t like secrets either…unless like you said its my birthday:) Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a cool concept – a motto or song for a family. I’m single and growing up we had no such thing, but I can see how it could unify and bring together everyone in a household. Sort of like your family mission statement – keeps everyone on the same track. If I ever do have a family one day – I’ll be creating one! Candy

  7. Love the idea of a family motto or a song as a family song. What is our motto? Things that comes to mind from childhood are “Carry On”. “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone,” If I had to think of a song “Hello Dolly” “Pack up your troubles in your old kitbag” “I could have danced all night.” Coming from three different cultures we used to sing a couple of french songs and one family favorite is La derniere valse. Funny now that I think about it all our songs are about dancing & music!
    Come to the ball….

    Jennifer Duchene
    Home Makeover Mixtress blending lifestyle laughter and Diva Dens

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Carry on is a good one…and something I think my mothers lived by…and instilled in us. I love that so many people are finding they are inspired by music they’ve heard in their childhood…it has such an impact on us….and can bring us back to that moment in time…which I love (and hate sometimes!). I will be at the ball…..with bells on…for sure!

  8. Another great post, Rita. I don’t think we had one growing up or while my children were growing up. If we did, I don’t think it was a positive one! I love the idea of a family motto that encourages children, inspires them and let’s them know they are special just being who they are.

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

  9. Yes, Rita we have a family motto that is now two generations old – here it is, one word, “Dignity”. That is our family motto and both my kids know what it means. I was taught at a young age that no matter what happens to me, no matter how embarrassed I may get or how much of a fool I make of myself, always conduct myself with decorum and classiness. Looking back on it, that was kind of rough and a high standard to hold myself to. Even though that is still our family motto, I have taught my kids to hold their head up high in the face of diversity and then come home and cry their eyes out to me if they need to. The difference is my parents didn’t teach me the last part – I added it.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      I love it! We also say put on a brave face but know its ok to be scared! I think your point of making sure they know is key:) Thanks for your input.

  10. Fiona Stolze says:

    This was such a lovely post to read. We never had this as I grew up because my parents divorced and split us kids up, so there was no feeling of unity anywhere. It’s a lovely idea though and I wish I had done this with my kids when they were younger. You’ve prompted me to have a good think about things and see if there are some things that we had that were ‘ourw’ as a family. Thanks for sharing this.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  11. We as a music loving family have always had songs that were ‘ours’ and whenever they came on the radio…no matter what we were doing, we had to stop and dance together. FUN! Since we Newton women all sport brown eyes…My Brown Eyed Girl was a given. Then came They Knock Me Down, And I Get Up Again….and of course Shania’s “I Feel Like a Woman” (great to see my hubbie singing and dancing to this one).

    I think the song or motto is such a wonderful way to have kids identify what their family believes.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins and memorable necklaces

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Yeah, songs work for me….and what you described sounds just like my family Darcie:) Love brown eyed girl too! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story.

  12. Hi Rita — We do not have a crest or official motto, but if we did it would be something along the lines of “always listen to Aunt Barb”
    So, I guess the song would be “Barbara Ann” by the Beach Boys, I think? since that is her full name.
    We defer to Barb on most decisions etc
    I am going to explore this with some friends, too.
    Thanks for starting an interesting discussion – Rachel

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Cool…I know that song:) It would be a good one….a classic. No pressure Aunt Barb! Love that this post is making people think about how they can create a motto and what it would mean for their families. Thanks for sharing Rachel.

  13. I love it! When my kids question me on certain things, I say “What’s my job?” And they say “to keep us safe and healthy.” Not so much a motto but more a mantra. Collectively we call ourselves “The Goldberg Traveling Circus.” We have six year old boy/girl twins and three massive dogs so it’s always a production to do anything!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Love it…this made me laugh…I have a similar saying…and totally get the traveling circus….and it being a production. Going anywhere with 4 young kids is always an adventure for me too! I am so glad they are getting older and more self reliant – it makes a big difference…woo-hoo! Appreciate your stopping by, making me laugh, and telling your story.

  14. Molly Perry says:

    It seems like most families have an unwritten motto. One that defines their families values. Our family doesn’t have an official motto, but my husband has actually suggested it. He wants something up on the wall where we can all see it, read it and be it. I haven’t been opposed to it–we just haven’t done it. Maybe our motto should be the same as Nike–Just Do It! Your post will rekindle the discussion in our home.

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Just do it…I like that Molly:) I might have to think about adding that one….since in addition to Nike’s positive message – its something I find myself saying….way too often…lol!

  15. Donna McCord says:

    I really like the idea of having a family motto or something that is uniquely yours, that solidifies your feelings of closeness, understanding and fellowship. Looking at my mother, father, sisters, etc., we don’t have an actual motto that we can put on a sign, but we do have times when we acknowledge what makes our family special, how much we appreciate how we support one another and are there for each other no matter how far apart we are geographically. So maybe we should come up with a motto that we can all share and call our own! A lovely idea! We do have a coat of arms on my Mom’s Italian side of the family that she found when she was researching her book, and also one on my Dad’s Portugese side. As for my own family, my husband and daughter, we don’t have a motto either, but I am thinking it would be so much fun to come up with one together! Thank you for the inspiration, Rita! Looking forward to your next post!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Yes, they say it can be a phrase, a joke, a situation….brings you all together. I’m sure when you talk to your daughter and your husband, you will come up with something that fits you all…bringing a smile to your face & heart:) Have fun.

  16. I hadn’t ever really thought about a family motto. Maybe most families have “implied” mottos ie., “Mom is always right” (which she isn’t) which means the motto is at odds with experience. So I feel like it isn’t a motto per se that’s important so much as a motto that resonates as true and unifies the family, or an experience of family that supercedes a motto. I think the best mottos are ones that emerge naturally from the life of the family itself. Thanks for a thought-provoking topic, Rita!

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Funny Maridel, exactly, mom isn’t always right! I’m just not going to be the one to tell her…lol! I agree with you, as these mottos of ours (songs/sayings) have come to me/us over time naturally feeling like they truly represent us/family. Glad it got you thinking:) Thanks for stopping by.

  17. I don’t know that we had a motto per se, but we certainly had things where we’d say, “The Stone do such-and-such” or “That’s the way the Stones do it.” These are not all things I wanted to carry forward to my future–some ways of dealing with the world that were arrogant or too demanding. But other things that were family ways were values I’ve kept up with–giving to charity, helping others, living tolerance (not just talking about it). I think it’s a great thing to talk about with children.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    Balance, Boundaries, and New Life Directions Through Writing

  18. Irene Turner says:

    Hello Rita,
    No, I didn’t have one growing up, nor do I have one with my husband now. But I get it. I do believe that ritual, tradition are all good, a way of keeping one connected, in this case with family. It’s one of those things you know…we may not always “like” our family during certain periods in our life…but they are always our family, and in my experience most of the time we find our way back. And it’s things like mottos that help build that bridge.
    Great post

    • Rita Brennan Freay says:

      Thanks Irene….you are right about “liking” family and “somehow we always find our way back”. I love “mottos help build that bridge”……it reinforces my wanting us to have one…and for making sure my kids know what it is…in case it comes in handy crossing that bridge one day! Appreciate your comments:)

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