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Lila-Mae White, MBA, CHE, PMP


Our Family Mantra

Posted 11/29/2022

A mantra is a repeated motivational word or phrase. An example is the Little Engine that Could saying “I think I can, I think I can” in the children’s story.

Ever since the Toad was wee, we have used the family mantra of “Don’t panic – think it through!” It started when his blankie or a favourite toy was not immediately found, and frantic panic and upset was setting in. I knew the mantra had stuck for him when I was driving around a bit lost in a different city and from the back of the vehicle, I heard him calmly repeat my words back to me. “Momma, don’t panic – just think it through.”

When the Toad got a bit older and was more articulate with his inner thoughts and feelings our conversation would sometimes turn to uncomfortable feelings like sadness, grief and worry. He has definitely inherited my predilection to duck, cover and shove those challenging feelings away. There are many benefits of being an older mom and wisdom from lived experience is one of them. So, I fessed up to trying that avoidance tactic and that it really did not work. This conversation and our shared commitment to trying to do it differently led to another family mantra – “Name it – Claim it – Reframe it!”. So now when discomfort comes along, we say those words and most times it takes some of the power and sting away from the experience. This can sound like “I am feeling sad. I will sit with sad for a while. Sad is reminding me of something important.”

Does your family use any mantras?