Family Mission Statements: Prioritizing Your Family's Values Share +

Posted by: coronadosafe 3 years, 6 months ago

Although most parents have unspoken goals for their children — financial, spiritual, physical, emotional — these big ideas seldom translate into reality accidentally. One way to prioritize what your family values is to write a family mission statement. This written declaration isn't a guarantee of family success, but it can help establish a family's identity even as it reinforces what is important. 

WHO THIS INVOLVES:

You and your spouse and your children. The leaders of the family both need to collaborate and create this together. It’s a joint project. Once the parents have a draft put together, plan a family dinner to discuss all together. 

HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?

It varies. For some couples who have already thought through some of this, it’ll just take a few hours of reaffirming their ideas. For others, it may take a few evening dates over the span of several weeks, going through the questions, writing a draft, whittling it down, and finalizing the result. Overall, this will probably take around 2-6 hours.

THE GOAL:

A timeless, easy-to-read family mission statement that applies to everyone in the family. 

QUESTIONS:

Plan an evening this week to sit down as a family and answer a few questions. These questions are not comprehensive — feel free to elaborate on your own, to skip some that don’t seem to apply, and to focus on what’s important for your family. Mostly, these are meant to serve as a springboard to get your thoughts flowing.

1. What are a few strengths of each member of our family?

2. Collectively, we are at our best when we are…

3. Collectively, we are at our worst when we are…

4. If we had a completely free day together as a family, how would we spend it?

5. What are practical ways we can serve each other?

6. What are practical ways we can serve others outside our family?

7. Name three things you think you could do better as a family.

8. What would people say today about our family as a whole?

9. What would we like people to say about our family as a whole in 30 years?

10. If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be?

11. What are the top four priorities we want our family to value?

12. What is the main purpose of our home?

13. What is the secondary purpose of our home?

14. What is one way we are unique as a family?

15.Where are you as a family in 10 years? What does your home look like?

APPLYING THE ANSWERS:

These are some heavy questions that could seem over-the-top about something as daily as grocery shopping or paying the bills. But here’s thepoint — unless there’s a motivating reason behind doing our day-to-day chores, we’ll lose heart, and we won’t care about our results.

When, as a family, we are convicted that our home is a tool by which we practice hospitality to others, it makes more sense to keep our home more “ready” to welcome friends. It’s a bit more motivating to keep it straightened.

If one of our main goals is to live simply and free from the burden of others, it makes sense that we live debt-free and not accumulate needless clutter. This greatly helps us make financial decisions — do we go in to debt to buy a plasma TV? Do we charge a luxury cruise vacation on our credit card, or do we save money and forego eating out for a few months, so that we can rent a lake house a few hours away and spend a quiet week together?

When we’ve made deliberate decisions about what we’re about as a family, certain choices become a no-brainer. Even fun. You’re at peace with the choices you make, because they align with your priorities, and they just make sense. 

So here’s what to do with your answers:

1. Look at your responses and see if there’s a theme. If you repeatedly talk about making a difference in your community, perhaps God has given you that passion collectively with your spouse. Or if your priorities seem to point to being good stewards of the environment, maybe a priority for you is to leave the earth better than you found it.

2. See if you and your spouse differ on any answers. That could be a big deal, or it could be nothing. Either way, it should spark some discussion between you two.

3. Highlight a few of your repeated themes, and find a few descriptive words to encompass them. For example, if your answers repeatedly deal with being frugal, with not living among clutter, and having plenty of free time as a family, perhaps one of your descriptive words is simplicity.

4. Tweak some of your answers to be more timeless. For example, if your answer to the question about one principle from which your family operates is “patience as we live through the baby and toddler years,” you could talk about whether patience is a theme that’s significant to both of you long-term. Perhaps one of your guiding principals is forbearace, which means patient endurance and self-control.

5. Start crafting a draft of your family mission statement by way of your answers to these questions. There’s no right or wrong way to write this, but try keeping it short, timeless, and applicable. If it’s too vague, it won’t really help in your day-to-day decision making. If it’s too specific, it may needlessly paint you into a corner you never intended. And if it’s too long, it’ll be difficult to remember.

You could try a skeleton like this:

We, the [family name], believe that our purpose as a family is to [general mission statement]. We will accomplish this by:

• valuing [principal] and [principal] as our main guiding principals
• making our home a place of [adjective], [adjective], and [adjective] • prioritizing [value or action] above lesser values
• interacting with each other in a spirit of [adjective]

Everything here — the questions, the outline, and everything in between, are just ideas to get you started. Be creative and original! Let your statement reflect who you are as a family. Most of all, let your statement be one that guides you as you make future decisions — let it serve you as a family. And if you’re really excited about your results, you can print and frame your statement for everyone to see daily!

Read the full article from The Art of Simple.