Family Covenant

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Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything.  

Alexander Hamilton


Back in 2011, when I started celebrating half brithdays as part of our family traditions, I wrote a post about family identity called Family, Inc.  It was a silly little post with cute pictures but it planted a seed about defining who we are as a family — and how to capture that.

Years later, I sat down with the girls to capture their thoughts.  I asked questions like, “Who are we?”  “What does our family do?”  “What makes us a family?”

I know – big questions.  But their answers were telling.

“We love each other.  We are silly.  We are kind.  We are dog people. We have dance parties.”

And then I added in some of my thoughts (and B’s):  We stick together.  We are honest.  We are loud.”

I think the list was written on the back of a napkin.  Literally.  But I typed it up and sent it over to my talented friend, Porter, who happens to be a gifted graphic artist.  (You can find more of her work here.)  She turned our little family identity into a beautiful work of art, stretched across a canvas.

But we weren’t done yet.  To make this really special, I asked each of our plan to add their handprint signature, making this art into our family covenant.


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We each took turns painting our hands with bright white paint.


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Me showing Pumpkin how to roll her handprint onto the canvas


Both girls loved painting their hands.  Because messes are fun!

Both girls loved painting their hands. Because messes are fun!


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The nearly finished product!

We will let the kids write their name on their handprints and then hang the canvas in a place of honor in our house.

Do I think it will keep my kids from fighting?  Nah.

My hope is that our family covenant will create a sense of identity for the kids and B and I.

My hope is that I will be reminded to be gentle, to be kind, to be honest, when my eyes land on those handprints.

Years from now, I hope our kids will have internalized enough of our covenant that it becomes the foundation for their individual identities.