Back when I was 23 years old, I dated this wickedly handsome, outrageously funny, cool dude who had carried larger-than-life sideburns and a beautiful master plan.
His presence radiated positivity and light. His words oozed confidence, sprinkled with a dash of mystery. He wore an army-green military jacket with the words faith, spirit, and discipline embossed in shades of red, black, and gold.
A circular patch stood out on his chest which read, “TCB,” accompanied by a sharp, white lightning bolt that hung right in the center.
No, this was not a dream. And, no, I was not secretly in love with Elvis.
This was the beginning of a kick-ass mantra that has stood the test of time with me and my husband for almost 20 years now.
We may all remember the catchy phrase, TCB, that Elvis Presley used a great deal, mainly with his friends in what is known as the Memphis Mafia. The group used the famous acronym, which means “taking care of business.”
As parents, we are constantly guiding our children so they know what to do and how to be in life. We remind our little ones to pick up their toys, treat others with respect, and be thoughtful and kind. We model how to be friendly, honest, loyal, open-minded, trustworthy, empathetic, and to take responsibility for our actions.
We also want to see follow-through, courage, and determination even when life throws curve balls and gets difficult. We wholeheartedly hope that our influence will benefit in years to come.
But, let’s face it. Sometimes it takes more than just telling someone for it to stick. Even though we mean well, our well-intentioned directives can sometimes sound a bit preachy or like a broken record.
Surprisingly so, a catchy phrase can act as a powerful bridge for inspiration, motivation, and connection.
TCB, as simple as it sounds, is an incredible motivator and tool. It’s easy to remember and young children can say it without skipping a beat. You can even add your own tone and cadence to it. You can make it be super unique and your own.
When my firstborn was little, TCB was embedded into our nightly bedtime routine for a job well done after brushing teeth, picking out three books, and saying prayers.
After a kiss good night and turning out the light, my husband would softly say, “TCB,” and my daughter would lovingly say it back and then drift off to dreamland with a smile.
Since then, and two kids later, those three little letters have been interwoven into every fabric of our daily lives; after a job well done or trying their best at something, as well as doing something helpful for the family. My husband even wrote a song, titled, “TCB,” where you’ll find my three daughters singing and dancing with joy as soon as they hear the tune.
TCB is sometimes said before a task is completed as a reminder to always do our best.
Here are four reasons why I appreciate motivational mantras and believe they are beneficial for families:
1. They reiterate our belief system and values, which put children in the driver’s seat of their actions.
2. They act as tools that ignite a sense of identity as children try to figure out who they are in this world.
3. They instill a sense of accomplishment and encourage good behavior and choices.
4. They can strengthen bonds and unity between siblings. (The best is when my daughters happily shout “TCB” to each other after a big win or something they overcame).
If you want to create a motivational mantra of your own, sit down with your family and explain what a mantra is and its purpose. Keep it simple so that younger children can understand the concept.
Ask for adjectives each person would use to help motivate and what values/beliefs are important to each member of the family. Mantras should be short, like “Be Brave,” “Just do it,” or “Keep Going.”
Write the suggestions down and ask all the family members for feedback and then, take a vote.
Motivational mantras should feel fun, lighthearted, and induce smiles!
Although I was never a huge fan of Elvis, I certainly pay homage to his mantra. He certainly knew what he was doing.
Thank you, Elvis. TCB!
(If you already have a motivational mantra or have an idea for one, please include it in the comments. I’d love for you to share!)