Our neighbors across the street just had their second baby. Whenever my kids see them outside they want to run over to “visit” with the little baby boy. I was talking with his mom about how things were going as they adjusted from one child to two. She said that she felt like she was saying over and over “Love is patient, love is kind” to help both her 20-month daughter and herself figure out their new family dynamic. As soon as I heard that, I immediately knew we would be adopting it as a new mantra in our house.
How perfect is that phrase anyway, especially with kids. “Love is patient, love is kind.” How many times to I ask one of them to be patient or kind? How many times do I need to remind myself to be patient or exhibit greater kindness than I might feel like giving? I wanted to plaster this lovely little phrase on my living room wall so that no one can escape its presence. “Love is patient, love is kind.” Words to live by to be sure.It got me thinking about other mantras that moms have, also known as “momisms.” Some of us may even be able to list off a few that our moms told us as we were growing up. Others, myself included, may be surprised to hear them coming out of our own mouths.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
“God gave you a brain, use it.”
“Who raised you anyway?”
“What’s the magic word?”
“That wasn’t a question.” …and so many more!
Some of these mantras are funny; others are sarcastic; others are downright desperate. While I know that I have said some pretty ridiculous things that my kids may or may not remember, I do hope that I can instill some solid mantras into our family life that will not only help them down the road, it will benefit all of us in the here and now.
A mantra, for those unfamiliar, is basically a word or phrase that is repeated to help a person focus, calm down, find peace and pray. Different religions use mantras in slightly different ways. Though it’s not always the first form of prayer you might think about when you consider Catholic prayer, mantras are very much an acceptable way to pray and focus your day. The phrase “Love is patient, love is kind,” which is straight out of Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:4) is a great mantra to help keep your thoughts, words, attitudes and actions centered on God’s love. The Church is full of these phrases that can help us through difficult times, rejoice in wonderful times and persevere in everyday, ordinary times. These are also great to put up on a chalkboard sign, on a post-it note in the bathroom, or to embroider on just about anything. You can fill your home with them in as many creative ways as you can think of.
Here is just a small sampling:
Jesus I trust in You (St. Faustina)
Totus Tuus (Papal Motto of St. John Paul II literally meaning”All thine”)
Mary, mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now (Bl. Mother Teresa)
Behold the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done unto me according to thy word (Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
My Lord and my God (Optional prayer during the Consecration of the Eucharist at Mass)
Blessed be the name of the Lord (Psalm 113:2)
What are some of your favorite mantras or prayers that help get you through the day? How do you incorporate them into your home and everyday conversation? What do you hope your kids will remember you saying?
Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro