Ride for the Brand


Congregation, colony, brood, army, mob, crowd, clique, network, club, circle, team, party, group, troop, flock, gang, band, clan, herd, pack, tribe, kin, kinfolk, ohana, família.
All different names for the same thing; the collection of intertwined individuals with whom you surround yourself. Ie; familyWhatever you call it, however it’s formed, the collection of individuals with which we surround ourselves is the most influential and beautiful part of our lives.
Think about that. In a world so massive, with every possible reason to feel small and insignificant, it’s our families who offer us that significance and motivation which give our lives meaning. And family doesn’t necessarily have to be the traditional nuclear family we often imagine. Families come in all kinds of kinds. There’s no size requirement; some are big, some are small, some extended, some distant. Families don’t have race or gender or age or even species requirements. There aren’t rules or regulations on how or why families are created. Families can be the product of ancestry or location or law or necessity…or just plain happy coincidence. Whether it be platonic or romantic or a mixture of both, love is the single universal and defining attribute of a family. Families are bound by love, inspired by love, and made whole by love.
Five or six years ago I was introduced to the “Code of the West”, a list of ten principles to live by, derived from the (mostly unspoken) values of true American Cowboys:
1) Live each day with courage.
2) Take pride in your work.
3) Always finish what you start.
4) Do what has to be done.
5) Be tough, but fair.
6) When you make a promise, keep it.
7) Ride for the brand.
8) Talk less and say more.
9) Remember that some things
aren’t for sale.
10) Know where to draw the line.
While there’s merit in each, one of them speaks to me louder than the rest: RIDE FOR THE BRAND. As I understand it, a brand is the unifying symbol of a family. A brand indicates loyalty, signifying what we stand for and who we stand with. Our brand demands a responsibility to uphold and protect our family. It’s the acknowledgment that our actions are representations of our family, and their actions are representations of us. And, in riding for our brand, it’s our duty to show up, stand up, represent, contribute, campaign, and sacrifice for our family and our brand. That’s not to say we don’t treat others with respect, it’s just to say, that above all else, we honor and keep our brand and, in turn, our brand does the same for us.
I find that bond to be so special, so spiritual, and so infinite. I tear up at the very thought of it.
Families are imperfect and, in riding for the brand, we will all face our own battles and tough choices, but it’s those imperfections and trials which add strength and character to our bonds.  Most importantly, in families and in life, loyalty and love transcend all else.

5 thoughts on “Ride for the Brand

  1. Pingback: Ride for the Brand — Hannah Jane Nancarrow | The Nancarrow Project

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