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by Dr Tarryn Mac Carthy and Dr Meg Dombroski

A few years ago, my kids and I created a Family Motto. One of my sweet cubs was facing a social challenge at school that was eating him up and breaking my heart. I knew he needed the autonomy to face the situation on his own. But how to guide him? I was reading a fabulous book at the time and found much inspiration from Glennon Doyle Melton and her beautiful story and also from Podcast celebrity, Rob Bell. I realized that having a motto to turn to would remind my son of his core values and serve him well when he faces a difficult decision.
As a team, we sat together and built on three statements that summed up what is most important to us. Our stated family values have guided us well. Our family motto has even helped me with my response to tricky situations especially as they relate to one of my bear cubs. In fact, it has become somewhat of a Mac Carthy Haka (a traditional war cry from the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand).

  • We can do difficult things

I love this one. We are strong. We can face adversity. Life will not always be easy, homework will not always be easy, facing fears and building greatness isnever easy. But we CAN do difficult things. And we have. We are proud to continue to face difficult things and we will always keep trying.

  • We belong to one another 

This one can mean so much. “We” is the five of us. We look out for each other, in the hallway at school, on the ski slopes, when practicing piano. We support and encourage and build each other up. “We” also means that we belong to each other within the community. We take care of our friends and family and help those in need. We belong to our friends at school and to our neighbors. On a more global stand, “We” belong to each other as a human race. What is more beautiful than recognizing that we are all responsible for each other and for our collective future? Every action we take affects others around us. We take responsibility for our actions. We belong to one another.

  • Love always wins

I believe it is Rob Bell who coined this term. I can think of no better way to say it. If ever faced with a decision or a choice, Love is always the right bet. There is never a regret if you act out of love. This might be love for someone else or love for yourself, but the answer is always love. How many times we act out of fear and in hind site we recognize that the loving action would have triumphed? This has been the single most valuable piece of the puzzle for the Mac Carthy family. This is the one motto I personally turn to when I am stumped.

We can do difficult things.
We belong to one another.
Love always wins.
Thank you, Glennon Doyle Melton. Our family motto works!
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