While we were raising our children we faced the usual challenges with sibling bickering, sloppiness with household chores, and working long hours on school assignments. We taught them how to build meaningful and lasting friendships, even how to cope with neighborhood bullies. There were many discussions about being dependable and faithful, and being kind to one another. Such words as love, diligence, kindness, and integrity were used a lot. Our intentions were to inspire good character without nagging or seeming to brainwash them. We honestly wanted our children to embrace good character. We prayed for wisdom.

During one of our “family council” getaways we fiddled around and designed a family crest. A cross, a bible, a world globe and wedding rings was a crude attempt to represent our four core values: a relationship with Christ Jesus, reading the Bible to know and obey God, serving God anywhere, and honoring marriage as a sacred, covenant relationship. Yet, we wanted a mission statement—a brand—to emphasize a core value: good, godly character.

After some discussion we decided on our family brand: Your character will feed your conduct no matter what the circumstances may be. The brand held several life goals for our children—diligence, excellence, integrity, and dependability in all of life. Whether in the classroom, work place, church, or community, good, godly character would serve them well. It is timeless. We printed our brand on cards and visibly placed them around our home … on the refrigerator, bathroom mirrors, bedroom doors. Sometimes they would find a card in their book bags or lunch boxes.

I can tell you that little brand made an impression on the lives of our children. Today they can still repeat that simple saying. It has even made a profound influence on their own families.