Things weren't turning out the way I planned.
When my husband and I first got married, we talked about many wonderful ideals for our family. We wanted a welcoming home with an open-door policy, a family that loves and serves God together, a simple life that prioritizes relationships.
Years later, the values, beliefs, and expectations we had for our family were getting lost in the shuffle of our modern-day suburban life. We found ourselves in a rut of just surviving, getting through the week. Our schedule was jammed with sports and other commitments. We realized it was time to take control of our family.
“How can we live intentionally?” <<Click to Tweet
It was time to come up with a plan. In order to do that successfully we needed to:
- Develop a family mission statement (aka, statement of purpose).
- Determine family culture.
- Involve the kids.
- Cast a vision for our marriage and children as individuals.
What is a mission statement?
Business and ministries often have mission statements to guide the efforts of their employees or volunteers. It is their reason for existing, a statement of values, telling others why they’re doing what they’re doing. For example our mission statement here at Circles of Faith is:
Circles of Faith fosters community among Christian women of all faith traditions and backgrounds through the exchange of stories, reviews, event, and ministry highlights.
Mission statements aren’t just for organizations; they are for individuals, marriages, and families too. << Click to Tweet
They provide you with a sense of purpose and help you maintain focus. Here, I’ll be talking specifically about the family mission statement. However, many of these ideas can be applied to your specific situation.
According to Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,
“A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”
A mission statement answers questions like: Is church attendance important? Will we make sacrifices to tithe and be generous? What kind of language is acceptable or encouraged with one another? Is teamwork the ideal?
It can be short and sweet such as, “Do all things in excellence,” or longer with bullet points providing details. Every family’s statement of purpose will look different.
What does a family mission statement provide?
- Clarity – Clear ideals, guides the choices you make, and sets out standards by which each family member can evaluate their behavior.
- Passion – Meaning and identity for all family members. It declares they are a part of something bigger than just themselves.
- Unity – A strong family bond. Families work well together when they have a common a goal.
Where do you start?
Creating your family’s statement of purpose requires dedicated time.
It can be worked on in small increments each day for a week while on vacation, throughout a long weekend with concentrated effort, or even 2-3 hours at a time on Saturday mornings over the course of a month.
A family mission statement can be created solely by the parents or with the help of the children depending on their age. My husband and I chose to create a draft of our mission statement before we invited our kids into the process. We wanted to establish the things that were important to us before our little ones became a part of the conversation.
What you will need:
- Dedicated time with your spouse (see above)
- Mission Statement Discussion Sheet (FREE download)
- Oversized sheets of paper and neutral colored markers (not red, black, or green) to record your responses to the questions below
- Pen and paper for taking notes and fine tuning your statement
- Cup of coffee or tea and soothing music (optional)
Independently list the following:
(Record the first thoughts that come to mind. No censoring or editing.)
- 5 things you are most passionate about.
- 5 of your core values.
- What would your life look like when you are living by your core values?
- What would your family become in order for you to declare it a success?
- What are the things you would dare to accomplish if you knew you could not fail?
When you are done, talk about your answers with one another. You may recognize that some of your answers are not the same. Find the connections and common ground. Take time to discuss and explore the potential of answers that are different, but complementary.
After my husband and I spent time doing this exercise, we had what we needed to craft our mission statement. However, we wanted to take the idea of living on a mission a bit further.
So the next step was to talk about culture and the atmosphere we want to create in our home…
I will be back in May to talk about family culture and why it is important. I’ll have another free download to help you get the conversation started and fine-tune what you come up with.
Do you have a personal, marriage, or family mission statement? I’d love to hear it. Have you written a blog post about? I’d love to read it and pin it to my Family Mission Statements board on Pinterest.
How to Develop Your Family Mission Statement by Covey, Stephen R.
Writing a Mission Statement – Focus on the Family Creating a Positive Family Culture: How and Why to Create a Family Mission Statement – The Art of Manliness
Kimberly Amici is an enthusiastic and dedicated founding member of the Circles of Faith team. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is a writer and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended.