Photo by benjamin-manley

In 2003 when our kids were 9, 7, and 5 years old, we created a creed of sorts called, The Spear Family Oath. The words were written on fabric that was wound around a frame made from branches. Guess we were going for the rustic, outdoorsy, nature vibe.

A Spear Kid…

Is as honest as the day is long
Admits when he or she is wrong
Respects the creatures of creation
Views T.V. in moderation
Is never cruel, rude, or mean
Plays the game fair and clean
Does his or her best at school
Following the golden rule
Always respects the rights of others
Including even sisters and brothers!

After fifteen years and three moves, the oath still hangs on our wall. The other day I took the time to read the words and let them sink in. I stood in awe over how much our kids remain true to their pledges. Not only do they still embrace the promises they signed off on as young kiddos, but they continue to carry them forward as young adults, modeling a kind and wholehearted way of living for others.

Looking back, I believe I might have fared better had I signed an oath for myself. Peace may have found me sooner if I had something tangible to look at on the days when fear, frustration, doubt, anger, worry wiggled their way into my heart space. I’ve modeled some outrageous behavior over the years. But, grace—and an ever-flowing river of love that covers a multitude of sin.

Which is why I was thrilled when I stumbled upon Brené Brown’s, The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto, written in her fantastic book, Daring Greatly. Her manifesto contains the unspoken truths my husband and I still carry in our hearts as we do our best to live them out for our children. I’ve decided it’s never too late to ink a creed, so I am giving my children a copy of the manifesto for Christmas.

Maybe you’d like to implement something similar with your children and family as well? Taking such a wholehearted approach with our kiddos for their lives and ours, no matter the age and stage, is a gift that transcends generations.

Let me know if you have already done something similar in your family. I love hearing about the heartfelt practices of others.

You are amazing, Mommas!




Feature Photo by Benjamin Manley

Shelby is a sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and pro-LOVE, Jesus adoring mom of 3 Millennials writing stuff & doing life with her hubby of 25 years. You can read her stories around the web and in print at Guideposts. Shelby is currently working on her first book.