“I wanted my kids to grow up in an “I love you” household. I wanted to make sure they knew they were loved every day and that we said it every day. So I made a chart that said “I love you.” 

I added other things to the chart. 

Every morning my family would visit the chart, checking off the boxes with a dry erase marker – Good morning, check...Brush teeth, check...Put dishes away, check...Feed animals, check...I LOVE YOU!...and that’s when they would all yell back, “I LOVE YOU TOO!” Check. (I LOVE lists!)

Starting the morning this way made sense with all of us doing our part and declaring our love. The daily routine felt comfortable, predictable and dependable. It made our mornings simple and familiar. It put my family at ease before we began the day. Everything just...clicked! That list served us well for many years until I realized I could do one better. 

I saw an opportunity to explicitly teach my children valuable life skills as their brains were taking shape so they could eventually think and act for themselves. I added an intention right below “I LOVE YOU!” A new idea was born. 

I choose to be helpful today. I choose to be kind today. I choose to be confident today. I would change it when I saw a new need arise in my family. This became our new way of life.

My family has collectively said intentions like these aloud over 5,000 times. We have talked about how each of them look, feel, and sound. We have talked about how much effort it takes for these traits to become instinctual. I cannot give them these skills, they have to be practiced to become learned. Our intentions bring action and my kids are on a path towards resiliency and competence as they navigate life with lots of support. We are thriving and finding meaning in our lives. Our family agrees on what is important – connection, communication and empowerment. We have committed to being great humans and doing family better by choosing to live life intentionally."

-Ashley Mansfield, Founder, Choose Intentionally