What’s the motto with you?

In the early, emotional, confusing, chaotic weeks of life with Norah A. Babysaurus, I bought and started reading Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living by Tsh Oxenreider, desperately seeking some way to bring peace and order back to our lives.

Oh, how I laugh at that me.

Because her methodology for simple living is based on living with intention — that is to say, everything you say, do, or add to your home is focused on bringing you closer to a core set of principles and goals — Oxenreider suggests that you develop a family purpose statement that clearly identifies those core values. Makes sense.

So when Keith and I finally had our very first baby-free outing to celebrate our eighth anniversary (eighth!) in July, we used it as an opportunity to talk about what kind of family/life we want to build. After eight years of marriage, Keith and I are completely on the same page when it comes to our core values. Neither of us was surprised that it turned out to be an easy conversation, but I’m glad we took the time to have it. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned after eight years and a baby, it’s that it is better to know absolutely what’s on another person’s mind than it is to make assumptions.

At the end of our discussion, we were left with a hodge-podgey list of adjectives and ideals ready for me (the wordsmith) to condense into a tangible thing.

The concept of a purpose statement was a good first step at tying together our thoughts, feelings, and vision, but we wanted something even shorter and sweeter, something easy to remember, something that could live at the very heart of our home. Something that I could hand letter on canvas board and hang on the wall. Something that I wouldn’t have the urge to revise for style and mechanics every six months.

Something like a motto.

I picked at it on and off for several weeks. And then the Olympics came along and we were obsessed and then I had it! The whole point of having a family motto was to have a few timeless words that would inspire each of us to work toward the ideal that we had envisioned together, like Olympic athletes striving for the gold. Faster, higher, stronger. After a little concentration and creative license with comparatives, our family motto was formed, ready to be inscribed on canvas and prominently displayed — which I finally got around to starting (and finishing) a whole week ago.

Kinder, Curiouser, Creativer

There it is. So what does it mean?

Kinder: We try to cultivate a loving, open, and supportive environment for friends and family. We believe in the power of treating others — people, pets, and planet — as we would choose to be treated.

Curiouser: We encourage self-directed learning and exploration. When we have questions, we search for the answers. Each of us deserves the opportunity to learn for ourselves.

Creativer: We believe that creative thinking and reasoning is as important as analytical thinking and reasoning. We are happiest when we’re free to make, invent, and innovate.

Kinder, curiouser, creativer.

It’s now hanging on our living room wall where we can see it every day: when we leave, when we come home, when we’re editing photos, crocheting, feeding Norah A. Babysaurus, or watching a movie. Ready to guide us to a more peaceful, orderly life.