"wE" Pluribus Unum!
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Even though we’re still working on mastering the English language in our house, we’ve introduced our kids to an important Latin phrase: E Pluribus Unum. “Out of many, one.” America’s motto. It’s inscribed on our money and emblazoned on seals.
Sadly, given distressing events over recent months, our country doesn’t seem to be practicing what its motto preaches. When you watch the news, America seems more divided than ever; but dear Neighbor, don’t despair. While tackling the country’s problems is much bigger than any one of us can do individually, each one of us can make positive impacts on our homes and neighborhoods -- and ultimately on our shared goal of a unified citizenry. In other words, to practice E Pluribus Unum is to achieve E Pluribus Unum.
Over this past weekend, I applied the hypothesis, “what you look at is what you think about.” I started sketching our nation’s motto with washable Crayola markers on a good old 8.5’’x11’’. My daughter saw me doing this, and eager to practice her letters, she asked for a sheet so she could follow along. She started sounding out the words. She asked what they meant. I told her “E Pluribus Unum” was our country’s and our family’s motto -- what America and the Riner Team is all about. I noted that these words are in a special language called “Latin,” and its English translation is “Out of many, one.” I explained that this means even though we are all different and unique, we come together because we share common ideas and goals. In our family, we have a mom, a dad, a brother, and two sisters, but we are one Riner Team (For more on the family-team mentality, see #3 here). If your kid plays soccer, working together toward the “goal” is another way to further explain the concept.
My husband and I have been focusing on “we” words lately. We welcomed a new baby earlier this year, and we wanted to make sure that our big kids felt like they were just as important as they were before she was born -- and that they knew their baby sister was just as important as they were. We explain that the five of us each have different first names, but we all have the same last name. E Pluribus Unum moment.
My daughter wants to be a marine biologist (total Florida girl) and my son is all about construction. With one being all about the water and the other all about the land, we encourage their individual affections. At the same time, we’ve had a ball bridging their interests, teaching them about underwater marine construction. E Pluribus Unum moment.
Yesterday, we noticed some plants creeping into our treehouse, and my kids wanted to cut them. Since they’re not quite ready for handling super sharp scissors on their own, and the branches were quite tough to cut, I suggested we do it as a team. Hands together on the scissors. Squeeze together. Snap! E Pluribus Unum moment.
Americans are supposed to work together as a team, but this only happens when families choose to function as a team. Of course, these familial collaborations are not always perfect or smooth. On the kid level, we have our share of arguments and meltdowns. On the grown-up level, we have strained relationships and painful things to work through. But we don’t let that stop us from seeking unity.
Neighbor, will you join us in scribbling America's motto on a piece of paper, putting it on the kids’ bathroom mirror, and writing it on our hearts? It makes for a great toothbrush conversation, and who knows, your little one may get so into it that she wants to tape it above her bed (tip: painter’s tape won’t take the paint off your walls! And did you know it now even comes in pink? My girl’s favorite!).
Next time you read a story of another divisive event, remember this truth: the family is the cornerstone of society. When you edify your family, you ARE building up America. And the Primerrily Crew is with you on that mission. Let’s E Pluribus Unum!