A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. Therefore, a family mission statement is a summary of the goals and values of a family. It encapsulates the rights, roles and responsibilities of each family member in addition to the family as a whole. Important features of a family mission statement include
- brevity: the statement should be precise and concise, getting the basic points across without using too many words
- values: principles, ethics & standards of parent & child behavior; the important things in life
- goal: purpose, objective, aim or desired result
“A family mission statement sums up what we believe and how we choose to live, giving clarity to children and parents alike.” – Wendy Speake
When life gets crazy, a family mission statement can act as an anchor that reminds a family where their focus should be. According to the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, a feeling of “connectedness” with parents was the primary factor that helped protect teens from becoming involved in any high-risk behavior (including drug and alcohol use and sexual activity). A family mission statement can help foster a feeling of connectedness between members, decreasing the liklihood of behavioral problems from kids and marital problems between parents.
Our children and adolescents are listening, especially if we practice what we preach. Drafting a family mission statement can give parents an opportunity to explain and explore values with their children and the best way to do so is for all members to collaborate, from the youngest to the oldest.
Creating a family mission statement is easier said than done and it’s likely the process will take a significant amount of time. If necessary, dedicate a a couple weeks or even a month to having family discussions, jotting down notes, making a draft and finalizing the statement.
The following steps may assist you in drafting your own family mission statement.
- Have a special family meeting with in depth discussion
- Questions to ask include
- What do we value most?
- What do we need to be doing in order to be our
- best selves?
- What do we stand for?
- What do we want our family to do?
- Questions to ask include
- Make a list of values and ideas that are important to your family
- each member should participate in this process
- examples include
- Condense list into roughly 10 or fewer ideas that are most significant
- Write out your statement, proofread & make final edits
- Finalize and hang family mission statement in a prominent place in the house
- Refer to statement daily & redraft if/when appropriate (rarely and with reservation)
Each step could take place on a different day during a different family meeting, or the whole process can take place in one day. It’s up to you; but remember, take as much time as you need because (hopefully) your family will look to the statement for years to come.
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