What is your life motto?

As part of my last job, I was on the interview panel for potential staff joining our school. I worked with students to interview applicants and our section of the interview was always said to be the hardest.

As all new job applicants would do, they would swat up on the latest data, new buzz words and bring great case studies to talk about. But 30 minutes on Google can give you all that. We wanted to find out who they really were as a person. We asked questions about what books they liked and how they managed in their GCSE’s. But the best question always came at the end. With no prep time and only 30 seconds to answer we asked “what is your life motto?”

This was a question that allowed you to instantly see how people dealt with life. They either answered with confidence, talked complete rubbish while hoping you smiled or crashed and burned. This was a tough question. And the students that interviewed them knew just that. It was also a question that gave you instant access into who that person really was.

We all live with a life motto, whether we realise it or not. A motto is a phrase that encapsulates our beliefs. It is like a mission statement but without the life coach twist. A motto tells someone who you are.

Our family motto is:

“If you are going to have adventures, expect bruises. Bruises heal. Adventures last forever”.

It tells you a little about me, my thoughts, my parenting, my values. It tells you that I will create adventures for my family and for my kids. It tells you that I put great value on educating my children about hurts, wounds and failure – but more value on learning, memories and enjoyment. When I rock climb with my kids and they fall and they start to bleed, the motto is said with pride and passion. It no longer becomes about the pain or the blood; it becomes about “I’ll show my cuts to my friends when I get to school” and “will it scar dad? I want a scar.” Bruises heal. Adventures last forever.

The photo that accompanies this blog was taken in November. My kids were given the task to chose what to do on a Saturday morning. “Let’s walk up a hill” says one, “And watch a sunrise” the other added. “And eat chocolate pancakes”, “and drink hot chocolate”. So that is what we did. A great choice I felt. Would they remember another TV show or lie in? But they would remember a pancake cook-out on a hill while the sun rose. Children get their first lasting childhood memory somewhere between the ages of 3 yrs and 5 yrs. Make it count. Adventures last forever.

So it begs the question….what is your life motto?

Don’t think too long. Maybe write it down. Play around with it – does it tell people who you are? You can polish it later, just say what you feel.

It is not all that important to have a motto but it is fun. It is simple fun that suddenly becomes a serious act of condensing your life into a phrase.

You parent by your motto.

You choose friends by your motto.

You spend your time by your motto.

You choose your life by your motto.


Much love. Rob

Rob Harvie Written by:

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