There are simple sayings that kids of any age can learn to help guide them through life and create a happy home. As a Christian mom I love that most of these are from biblical principles, but are smaller than most bible verses and therefore easy for my kids to remember.
A mantra is a statement repeated often to gain insight and teach a lesson. I call these my “momtras” — these are things mom says over and over again in the hopes they will sink into the hearts and minds of my children and they over time will begin to say these things to themselves.
True mantras are used in meditation to increase a person’s vibrational energy. These “momtras” are not used in that way but instead are thrown out as guidelines or rules.
Some of these we have hanging on the walls of our home to remind all of us of their lessons. Many of them are simply shared often through conversation as gentle reminders from my husband and I.
These momtras go above and beyond the general guidelines we all want for our kids – – be kind, learn lots, have fun, be honest, stay out of trouble. Those things are all a given. These momtras are more about life lessons.
Stay in your own lane
It’s hard to drive a car when you’re overly concerned with the other drivers on the road. Same thing in life. Stay in your own lane and stop being concerned with everyone else and what they are doing. This kind of goes along the lines of that famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Assume the best
It’s so easy for kids and adults alike to assume the worst about someone. For example it’s easy for a kid to assume a child took their toy to be mean,.. when maybe the child took the toy because they thought no one was playing with it or mistook it for their own. Or it’s easy for us to believe that person cut us off in traffic because they were rude, without even considering maybe they were in a rush to get to the hospital or some other tragic scene in their life.
Assume the best is about giving compassion and building empathy. This is something everyone can use more of and it can be turned into a game.
My kids and I now try to make up as many empathetic reasons as we can for why someone might do something that appears to be rude or mean. This is especially useful when building family relationships and getting siblings to understand each other’s actions.
Don’t get bitter get better
It was a hot sunny day and our oldest son just struck out… again. I could tell by the scowl on his face that he was really mad in the moment and turning sour. I walked over, smiled, told him he tried his best and reminded him to get better not bitter.
It’s easy to get bitter after failure. To crank up the internal dialogue and tell ourselves all the reasons why we are no good, or could have done better. But it’s healthier to just accept it for what it is, tell ourselves it is ok, and practice at getting better.
We say this phrase a lot in our home as it’s versatile for so many situations in childhood.
Tomorrow is a new day
There are always little things we can improve upon from day-to-day and some of that means letting things go. It’s important to teach kids that just because something feels awful today, doesn’t mean it will still be that way tomorrow.
Failure can be part of success
Some people take failure harder than others, but all-in-all no one wants to fail. No one likes to fail. In reality though, failure is usually a big part of success. Anyone who has had any kind of success in any way can tell you all of the times they screwed up and failed. The earlier our kids can see failure as stepping stones, the better adjusted they will be to experiment and grown in this world.
If you can’t change your situation you gotta change your attitude
I was a kid when I first heard this one. It was shared with me in class by a teacher whose name now escapes me. I remember thinking this was the most profound thing anyone had ever told my 9-year-old self. Up until then it had not even occurred to me that I was in control of any situation just by how I decided to view it. It’s a saying that has stuck with me my entire life and that I now gladly share with my kids – probably more than they would like to hear.
Love is truth
My oldest son was 7-years-old sitting at the dinner table, pouring his little heart out about a bully at school. Some kid that would make fun of him and tell him how he was disgusting, fat and other vulgar remarks that were simply not true. After he was done sharing I reached out for his hand. Among other things, I told him that only love is truth and anything spoken outside of love simply isn’t true. We talked about what that child might be going through, maybe he isn’t feeling loved, and he certainly wasn’t talking out of love to my son. That’s when I developed this “momtra” – love is truth and let love be your guide.
There is nothing boring only boring people
This is another phrase that has been with me since I was a kid. It’s a profound mantra that can shift a child’s perspective on boredom. As a young child this mantra pushed me to get curious in many situations and dig deeper in subjects that I otherwise might have dismissed. It helped me to develop a love for school subjects I otherwise didn’t care for such as history and math.
Everyone has struggles, it’s just that some are more visible than others
One of the best things we can do for our children is to help them develop empathy for others. When my kids were younger and we were at a store, they noticed a child with disabilities. This child had special needs and it was the first time my children had seen anyone like that – it touched my heart the way they tenderly and curiously, yet cautiously checked out this new child. Later on the way to the car they asked about him. That’s when this momtra was born – “everyone has struggles, it’s just that some are more visible than others.”
That young boy had struggles that everyone could see. But it is no reason to pity him or look at him any differently, which is usually the inclination of most people, usually well-meaning. The reality though is that we all have struggles. It’s just that many of us have struggles no one else can readily see.
This means, be kind to everyone because we never know what struggles they might have or be going through.
Focus on your faith and not your fears
Life will throw us many challenges – in fact it is expected to be challenging. If you’re a Christian you know that the Christian-walk is not without challenges. Through these challenges it is only natural to experience fear. But fear cannot be present with faith. Fear is the opposite of faith.
In times of struggle, doubt, fear… I want to teach my kids (and remind myself) that through faith we can overcome any fear. If we are fearful we need to increase our faith, seek God more, pray more and listen more.