Creating a Family Mission Statement
The Boom family have had great fun working together to create our very own family statement – something that will capture who we are, and who we long to be as a family. Here are some notes that I gave at HEART on this subject.
Thanks to Stephen Covey for the inspiration on this topic from his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Familes.
A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all the family members of what your family is about and the principles you choose to govern your family life.
It’s deciding what kind of family you really want to be, and identifying the principles that will get you there. And that decision will give context to every other decision you need to make. It will become your destination. It will act like a huge, powerful magnet that draws you toward it and helps you stay on track. It gives you a compass. It gives the children a feeling of stability. Through a family mission statement, you can let your children know that you are totally committed to them, that you have been from the very moment of their birth or adoption.
All things are created twice – the house plans before the house building, writing the script before performing the play; writing the song before singing it; creating the flight plan before take-off; making a cake after reading the recipe.
Imagine Chris and me trying to build our house, without knowing what we want it to look like, or having no plans to follow. Disaster!!
Stephen Covey – said it was the best thing they ever did. Took them 8 months. They had 10 things that they decided they wanted to write into their mission statement:
The ability to work, to learn, to communicate; to solve problems; to repent; to forgive; to serve; to worship; to survive in the wilderness; to play and have fun.
HOW TO START: 1. You need pen, paper and popcorn!!! Make it fun. Start by talking with your children about some of the analogies – compass, magnet, flight plan, etc
EVERYONE’S ideas are important. Take time to listen. Don’t try to resolve everything that comes up. You are sowing seed. Don’t try to get the harvest just yet!
2. Ask someone to be the family scribe. Write all the ideas down; don’t evaluate them or judge them – that comes later.
Get everyone involved. This will happen as they listen carefully to others.
3. Ask questions and write up everybody’s comments.
What is our family about?
What is our marriage about? NB The marriage vows are our first mission statement!
What is the purpose of our family?
What embarrasses you about our family?
What do you feel proud of about our family?
What makes you feel comfortable here?
What makes you want to come home?
What do we want to be remembered by?
What kind of relationships do we want to have with each other?
How do we want to treat each other and speak to one another?
What are the unique gifts of each family member?
4. Ask for words that each person considers to be important and write them up.
5. Write a rough draft. This may be changed many times. Look at it, live with it, discuss it, make changes. Work with it until everyone says, ”This is our mission. We believe it. We buy into it. We are ready to commit to it.”
It may be set down in a song; points written starting with the first letters of your surname; poetry –anything!
Once it’s done, it should be the literal constitution of your family life.
For example – three different families’ mission statements:
To always be kind, respectful and supportive of each other,
To be honest and open with each other;
To keep a spiritual feeling in our home;
To love each other unconditionally;
To be responsible to live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life
To make this house a place we want to come home to.
To love each other…
To help each other….
To believe in each other…
To wisely use our time, talents and resources to bless others…
To worship together…
Our family mission is to:
Value honesty with ourselves and others.
Create an environment where each of us can find support and encouragement in achieving our lifes’ goal.
Respect and accept each person’s unique personality and talents.
Promote a loving, kind, and happy atmosphere.
Support family endeavours that better society.
Mantain patience through understanding.
Always resolve conflicts with each other rather than harbouring anger.
Promote the realization of life’s treasures.
Once you have a clear sense of shared values and vision, you can be very demanding when it comes to standards. It also creates powerful bonding between parents and children and husbands and wives.
One family created a tee shirt – garage attendant said, “Hey, you guys look like a team!” J
Three months later, the 3 year old got cancer and had a long challenge of chemo etc. Every time he had to have treatment, he asked to wear his t shirt. It soon became stained with vomit, blood and tears. But when he pulled through, the whole family wore their shirts in his honour.
For teenagers you have the potential for being the only solid thing in their lives. Even if they don’t take much notice of the words, they will sense a togetherness and a commitment.
THREE BIG NO-NOS
1. Don’t ‘announce’ it. It may be tempting for you and your husband to just work it out together and then announce it to the children, but don’t do it!! Everyone has to feel a sense of ownership.
2. Don’t rush it. The process is as important as the product. It will take time. If you have young children you will need to hold a series of short times together. Be patient. Take as long as you need.
3. Don’t ignore it. The actual writing of the statement is just the beginning. You must then translate it into the very fabric of your being, into the everyday moments of your everyday life. If your mission statement involves being a family of fun, make sure you plan for evenings with board games. If it is to be a family that reaches out to others, plan to help others. Eg The Phantom Family strikes again
Write it on your hearts. Learn it, memorize it, talk about it, review it, measure yourself against it regularly.
THE BOOM MISSION STATEMENT (still in progress!)
We want our home to be a home where we feel free to be ourselves, knowing we will always love, support and accept each other.
A place where each person knows they belong.
A home full of joy and laughter and fun.
A home we will always want to return to, and bring others to.
A place of warm hospitality.
A place where love is spoken.
A place of beauty.
A place to learn in and grow.
A home where we all grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
Gezellig ( a warm, cozy feeling, a sense of belonging)