Each school year, our family chooses a motto to focus on. Here’s our (much needed) goal for 2020!
I usually get really excited about the beginning of the school year. As a former teacher, I love school and I get a little giddy when I start to see large bins of pencils and crayons front and center in the grocery store, begging families everywhere to bring them home and place them in brand new backpacks.
This year has felt weird though. Anyone else?
We never really finished last school year: the kids never really got to say goodbye to their teachers or feel closure.
Then we had the longest-shortest summer of all time: long because we’ve been out of school since March, but short because it never really felt like summer began in some ways…no trips to the splash pad or big backyard barbecues with neighbors.
Don’t get me wrong, we still had lots of good adventures. Our #WanderWednesday outings pretty much saved me this year.
I didn’t know what fall would bring, and I worked really hard to focus on creating a summer our family would remember in happy ways, and not just as “that year where we just had to stay home all the time.”
But as back-to-school time crept closer, my anxiety levels crept upward. Although most people where we live are going back to school in person, we opted to start the year virtually to protect my husband’s high-risk brother (who lives with us).
My boys weren’t thrilled about this. They understood and accepted our reasons, but it was hard for them to see all their friends going back to school while they are staying home.
Knowing this school year was undoubtedly going to be a challenging one, I really wanted to get our family off on the right foot.
Here’s what we did:
Our back to school tradition
The weekend before school starts, we have the tradition of holding a special back-to-school dinner. I try to keep things simple…just a few simple decorations and a menu that I know my kids will love (this year we grilled burgers).
While we eat our celebratory meal, my husband and I introduce our family’s motto for the year.
Our family motto for this school year
This year, as I contemplated the crazy year we’ve had (we started in January with cancer…and it’s just gotten more exciting ever since with a raging pandemic), I knew I wanted our motto to focus on having a positive attitude.
After much pondering (and a fair amount of Googling), I ultimately came up with this:
It’s a simple message, and it’s one I know we will need this school year.
When we introduced this motto to our boys, we talked about how life is always going to have challenges, but we have the power to choose how we react to those challenges.
We can get angry or complain about all the things that are hard and unfair, or we can choose to focus on the good.
We can throw a pity party, or we can spend our energy on controlling what is within our control and seeing the blessings that exist in the midst of the trials.
Because there is always good.
We talked about how a rose bush has both flowers and thorns. Will we complain about the thorns? Or will we appreciate the beauty of the flowers?
To be perfectly honest, this motto is just as much for me as it is for my kids (maybe even more so for me).
Despite my best efforts and the idealism of our motto, I’ve done my fair share of complaining, fist-shaking, and crying during our first two weeks of school. Let’s just say online learning has not been a smooth transition.
Still, I’m grateful for the sign that hangs in my kitchen, reminding me to look for the good. I’ve needed that reminder so much during the past weeks.
Do you have a family motto? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
If you don’t have one but want to start the tradition, feel free to borrow ours! Here’s a free printable of the “Look for the Good” poster I made for our family.
The world desperately needs hope right now…may this be a small way to help.
Here’s to more joy and optimism this year!
Does your family have a motto? Tell me about it in the comments below!