The Family Motto

It has become quite the customary thing for farms to be given a distinguishing name. It adds much to the interest of a farm home, especially as the name usually calls attention to some feature of the place that marks it as different from the farms surrounding it.

Naming the home place is an old, old custom, but the people who lived at such places used to have a family motto, also. Families as well as farms have distinguishing traits of character, and there is always some of these on which a family prides itself. Only the other day I heard a man say, “My father’s word was as good as his note and he brought us children up that way.”

Why not have a family motto expressing something for which we, as a family, stand?

Such a motto would be a help in keeping the family up to standard by giving the members a cause for pride in it and what it represents; it might even be a  help in raising the standard of family life and honor.

If the motto of a family were, “My word is my bond,” do you not think the children of that family would be proud to keep their word and feel disgraced if they failed to do so?

Suppose the motto were, “Ever ready,” would not the members of that family try to be on the alert for whatever came?

Perhaps it would be possible to cure a family weakness by choosing a motto representing its opposite as an ideal for the family to strive toward. We might keep our choice a family secret until we had proven ourselves and could face the world with it.

Tho, in these days, we would not put the motto upon our shield as did the knights of old, but we could use it in many ways. If carried only in our hearts, it would draw the family closer together.

Let’s have a family motto as well as a farm name!

From “As a Farm Woman Thinks (12)”  by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in The Missouri Ruralist, August 15, 1922

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