Fostering and recording meaningful family conversations is a part of my Mission Statement.
I strongly encourage your family to use the article below to inspire you to create a Family Mission Statement.
What values and behavior do you as individuals and a family represent?
Article Forwarded by Dave Savage www.MemoryKeepersVideo.com - Memory Keepers Video Services 404 323-8686 firstname.lastname@example.org Family Mission Statements identify the principles that are most important to you and your family.
Do you often wonder where the time has gone? Do you struggle to get home early enough to attend your child's school play? Do the days fly by without meaningful conversation with your partner or your children? Today's busy world is filled with endless choices and distractions. To have the family life we envision requires us to slow down long enough to gain insight about where we want to go and what may help us get there. It also requires a commitment to our families that's as deep as our commitment to our profession.
Our family has found that writing a family mission statement -- a shared vision of what we value and who we want to be as a family -- has helped us identify our most important priorities. Our mission statement has also helped us map our direction as a family and stay that course as we contemplate our life choices.
Putting it on paper We started this process three years ago when both our daughters, then ages 6 and 9, were in elementary school. Establishing priorities became more important as we tried to juggle school, professional, couple-related, family, religious and personal activities. While we often talked about our goals, we had never put them on paper. So we decided to write a family mission statement. During several short family meetings, the four of us talked about what was most important in our lives and what we wanted to accomplish. Each person's contribution held equal weight. For example, Jessica, who was then 9 years old, wanted to plant and tend a rose garden, become a better ice skater and do well in school. For our 6-year-old kindergartner, Julie, it was important to be a good student and make new friends. Karen and I wanted to make a positive contribution as volunteers in our community.
After much discussion, we developed a short mission statement -- "be thankful for what we have and what we can give to others" -- and 10 family priorities. Some of the priorities were individual goals; others were collective. For example, one of the most important priorities we identified was to spend time together and build each other's self-esteem. Another was to spend quality time with our family. Others ranged from recycling to saving 15 percent of our earnings to doing community volunteer work. The process of writing the mission statement required careful listening, clarification and sometimes compromise.
We've framed our family mission statement and keep it in a visible place on our kitchen counter. Each year, we review what we have accomplished, reassess our priorities and revise our mission statement. We don't always achieve everything we put down on paper. However, the process has helped us clarify what we want to focus on each year. As Jessica and Julie have grown older, they have become more involved in the process.
Everyone's family life is unique and very personal and so is a family mission statement. It doesn't have to be -- and shouldn't be -- an imposing document. There are many creative ways to express your ideas. (One family we read about wrote a song.) If you want some other ideas and step-by-step directions for writing a family mission statement, we encourage you to read Stephen R. Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (New York: Golden Books; 1997). It's a rich and uplifting book. Take a few moments with your family and find out what each of you feels is really important in life. When you're honest and open to the process of creating a family mission statement, you'll find it to be an extremely rewarding experience.
If you have questions or comments, or would like to share your mission statement, please e-mail us at email@example.com.
The Rivo family 1998-99 mission statement
Be thankful for what we have and what we can give to others.
Family priorities 1. Be together and help family members feel good about themselves. 2. Value and nurture family, friends and pets. 3. Enjoy and learn at school. 4. Make a positive contribution to community health. 5. Take care of our health. 6. Practice our Judaism and support Jewish causes. 7. Invest in the future financially, professionally and spiritually. 8. Perform mitzvot (good deeds) for the community. 9. Learn together through reading, school, our computer and classes. 10. Garden and support the environment. Dr. Rivo is medical director of AvMed Health Plan in Florida, a clinical professor of family medicine at the University of Miami, a senior fellow at the Center for the Health Professions at the University of California at San Francisco and medical editor of Family Practice Management. He and his family live in Miami.
Without a mission statement, businesses may become unpredictable, inefficient and unproductive in the long-run, but the same can hold true for children in a family missing a “family mission statement,” says psychologist Rob Heffer, who has been involved with child psychology for nearly 20 years.
He advises parents to take the time to think about all the areas of their child’s life and develop a mission statement. It can help parents be more involved with their children and prevent burnout from an overscheduled child.
The mission statement, he explains, would clearly state the parents’ hopes and expectations for their child in a number of areas such as family relationships, religious beliefs, relationships with others, education, sports and health, finances and community citizenship.
In addition, it allows parents to think about their roles in these areas, analyzing their own strengths and then prioritizing their types of involvement with their child, he adds.
When parents are able to prioritize these areas of life for themselves as well as for their children, he says, the chances are increased that their children will more likely experience successful living in a manner that balances their own needs with the needs of others. “If parents don’t have a clear idea about what they want for their child to gain in each area of life, then problems can arise,” Heffer explains. “There is a need for prioritizing.”
He says children need parents who purposefully plan and prioritize, and to do this, parents need to consider what their dreams and expectations are for their children. They must consider what they want to teach their children, what experiences they want for their children and their own definitions of success.
To plan and prioritize, Heffer says parents must understand their own “family code.” A family code, he explains is a system of family definitions that form guidelines for a family’s behavior. It includes family beliefs and values, family traditions and family roles.
Based on this code, a family is then able to develop a mission statement outlining specific goals and objectives that flow from a clear sense of purpose and meaning, Heffer explains.
The prioritizing that comes with developing a mission statement, he says, also helps deal with overscheduling – a common phenomenon in which a child’s schedule is filled up with structured activities that occupy inordinate amounts of time, leaving little, if any, free time.
While exposing a child to a wide variety of experiences is important, he says parents’ attempts at raising a well-rounded individual need to be balanced with a realization of the importance of free, unstructured time for the child.
“A child who is constantly involved in all types of structured activities may not have the time to engage in important developmental activities such as self-reflection and self-evaluation,” Heffer explains.
Time constraint is a major factor that must be overcome, Heffer says. With more and more families having both parents working, time has become a precious resource and the competition for time has grown fiercer, he notes. A mission statement enables parents to determine what areas they can be involved in and the extent of their involvement.
“Parents need to know what’s going on with their child in all areas, including education,” Heffer says. A lack of parental supervision and monitoring is a strong predictor of a child’s conduct problems later in life, he adds.
Does your family have a financial mission statement? Wealthy families are encouraged to develop mission statements to help them decide how to distribute charitable funds and inheritances. Why not the rest of us? Family mission statements can guide families in making decisions, clarify what is most important to them and bring the family together toward a common purpose.
The purpose of a family mission statement, according to Daniel Akst (Bloomberg Wealth Manager, December 2002/January 2003), is to determine core values, decide the purposes of income and financial assets and face any hard truths that may be buried. Although sometimes difficult, the process allows families to begin dialogues around any issues that are related to money. Hopefully, the process allows all family members to understand and respect each other a little better.
Following are some questions that each family member should answer individually and then join in a family discussion. If you had $10,000 to spend, how would you spend it? What joint family goals would we like to achieve? What individual family member goals do we want to support? What tradeoffs of our current lifestyle might we forego for things that are more important? Do we have family financial obligations outside of our family unit with other relatives, in the community or where we worship?
The mission statement can be brief, such as a one- or two-sentence financial vision coupled with detailed steps on how to achieve the vision. But talk alone will not bring success. The family must identify and stick to a set of behaviors that may be different than current activities to achieve a new and more important goal. Plans are more likely to be successful if a timeline is set to alert and motivate the family. Last of all, these mission statements and plans should be evaluated and modified every few years - they are to be considered living documents. A mission statement might be: Our family wants to support the values and goals of each family member to the best of our ability. We want to educate each family member to the utmost so that they will be independent and financially secure in their lifetimes. We believe that it is up to us to contribute some amount of time, talent and money when possible to make our community better.
Consider one man who carried two mission statements - in the two inside breast pockets of his suit jacket. In the right pocket was his corporate mission statement: He was president and CEO of a highly profitable mid-sized company. In the left ("over my heart," he said) was his family mission statement.
The man explained how the family one came about. He said that he and his wife hd taken their three teenage and elementary-school-age children to a resort hotel for a long weekend, rented a conference room there (I was thinking it would have worked just as well on a camping trip), and held several two-hour sessions (interspersed by swimming and activities) where they hammered out a family mission statement. He said they'd started just talking about their family, their love for one another, and their desire to stay together and support one another, and how they could use what they had to help others. The dad had read them some corporate mission statements and asked if they thought one was needed in the family. At a second session they had each written down what was most important to them and, interestingly, a list of their favorite words. At a third session they'd each written up a simple personal mission statement - hopes and dreams for their individual lives. At a final session they pulled everything together and created a family mission statement. They had a big framed copy at their home, and each carried a laminated personal copy.
Here is a sampling of what some children and families who have tried this process have come up with:
FIFTEEN YEAR OLD'S MISSION STATEMENT: To be looked upon by others and by God with a smile always. To be filled with a joy that others can feel. To find this joy through service. To watch, to absorb, to learn, to find, to discover, to think carefully about school, career, and family goals, and then to reach them. To always look forward to the next day.
A portion of a collectively written family mission statement: Create together an identity-building, support-giving family institution that fosters and facilitates a maximum of broadening and contributing by its members; who have become strong, independent individuals, committed spouses, and parents beyond their parents.
First receiving and then giving the gifts of joy, responsibility, and sensitivity and approaching the world with attitudes of serendipity, stewardship, and synergy.
A piece of a parenting mission statement: Help children to grow up and spin off into independent orbits, still feeling the gravity and light of parents with whom there is a consulting relationship in which advice is freely asked for, freely given, and used or unused without offense to parent or pressure to child.
Best-selling author Stephen Covey has been called the father of the mission statement. He has helped countless large corporations fashion the framed mission statements we so often see on the walls of corporate headquarters around the world. But Stephen's favorite missions statement is the one he and his wife Sandra and their children created for their family. It is beautiful in its simplicity:
The mission of our family is to create a nurturing place of order, truth, love, happiness, and relaxation, and to provide opportunities for each person to become responsibly interdependent, in order to achieve worthwhile purposes.
Stephen suggests three steps: STEP ONE: EXPLORE WHAT YOUR FAMILY IS ALL ABOUT
Ask and discuss: • What is the purpose of our family? • What are we all about in life? • What is our identity as a family? • What kind of a family do we want? Note: Questions 5 through 9 are geared to children. • What kind of a home do you want to invite friends to? • What is embarrassing to you? • What makes you feel comfortable at home? • What makes you want to come home? • What makes you feel drawn to us as parents so that you are open to our influence? How can we as parents be more open to your influence? • What are the things that are truly important to us as a family? • What are our family's highest priority goals? • What are our unique talents, gifts, and abilities? • What are the priorities we want our family to operate on (such values as trust, honesty, kindness, service)?
STEP 2: WRITE YOUR FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT Five guidelines: • Include the desired characteristics of the home and the desired effect of the mission statement on family members. • Write it as if it were timeless. • Deal with both ends and means. • Deal with the four basic needs: to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy. • Deal with all family roles.
STEP 3: STAY ON COURSE Ask yourself periodically: • How are we living in relationships to our family mission statement and destination? • What do we need to do to get back on course? • How can we keep ourselves actively working on our family mission statement as our family constitution?
Any family can create a family mission statement at any phase of their lives. An engaged or soon-to-be-married couple can write one projecting how they will treat each other and their children, how they will finance their family, and what they will give high priority to. Single parents can write one that solidifies relationships and shares responsibilities with children. Blended families can write one that sets goals and guidelines for relating to married children and grandchildren. Mission statements can include approaches to caring for elderly parents or financing children's college education.
The beauty of family mission statements is that they involve thought and prioritizing and communication. They focus family members on their positive interdependence and on their love for one another. Your first draft may not be a "keeper," but none of the time or thought spent on it is wasted, and this can be the beginning of a process that will eventually produce a document representing your deepest desires and hopes for your family.
This came from a good family development web site www.familynightlessons.com An Official Statement of Purpose
In business enterprises throughout the world, it’s a common policy to write a corporate statement of purpose or a Mission Statement. To be able to see and read the expressed purpose and mission of a company allows everyone to be on the same page and to keep the same goals in mind as they work. All corporate decisions can be made in light of the company’s carefully defined and written mission statement.
Likewise, each family has a general purpose or mission, whether it’s stated on paper or not. The process of actually defining and writing out an official Family Mission Statement can go a long way toward focusing a family’s sense of priorities and goals. Having a Mission Statement allows each member of the family to realize their family is an entity in itself, with clearly defined goals. It’s not just a group of individuals going their own separate ways, but it’s actually a group with an identity and purpose all its own. A Mission Statement can help balance the lives of the people involved, enabling them to clearly see a pattern for living out their commitments, relationships and work-related responsibilities.
Some families have strong religious beliefs that take center stage in their personal view of priorities and outreach to others. Others have a deep desire to touch their community and world in the areas of social welfare or volunteerism. Some families find their focus in maintaining tightly knit and supportive bonds between the individual members of the family, building a strong sense of love and fellowship within the four walls of their homes.
Whatever your family’s personal priorities, seeing them written down is an excellent way to keep on track as a group. The actual process of coming up with an official Family Mission Statement can sometimes be the most enlightening and beneficial aspect of this whole idea.
Writing Your Own Family Mission Statement
To start the process of coming up with a Family Mission Statement, you need to sit down and list your top priorities. If you are married or committed to someone, ask them to do this as well. Each write up your own separate list. Be as specific as you can. Take all the time you need to do this well. Be sure to take into account the general shape of your life, the activities and priorities that are part of who you are on a daily basis such as spouse, children, home, career, background, education, moral conscience, faith and creative pursuits.
After you’ve come up with your Personal Priority List look carefully at your results. If you’ve done this with a partner, come back together and discuss your results. This part of the process can be eye-opening. It’s important to be gracious with each other when any differences appear. Agree ahead of time that no matter how unusual one person’s priorities might seem to the other, no one will laugh, ridicule, argue or get angry. One man I spoke with in Portland, Oregon told me that when he and his wife sat down to write a Family Mission Statement, his number one priority was outreach to the community. On his wife’s Personal Priority List, that particular priority didn’t even show up. At that point they needed to exercise tremendous patience, graciousness and understanding with each other as they worked together to write a mission statement that would encompass both of their personal value systems.
The Family Mission Statement will generally be a compilation of your Personal Priority List, or if you did the exercise with a partner, the Personal Priority Lists you and your partner each came up with. The Family Mission Statement might not contain everything on both of your lists because some of your personal priorities will be just that—personal, only applicable to your individual life. But even then, you’ll want to make certain that your Family Mission Statement allows for the expression of the various individual priorities expressed by each of you.
If your children are very young, a Family Mission Statement can be written by the adults in the house working together without the children’s direct input. If you have teens or older children still at home, it would be beneficial to include them in the process of drafting the Family Mission Statement. If nothing else, before the Family Mission Statement is finalized, allow the children or teens to read it for themselves and make constructive comments or personal suggestions.
Family Mission Statements should be relatively short, no longer than one single-spaced typewritten page. The Statement can even be as short as a single sentence or a concise paragraph, quickly and easily summing up the family’s mission. Some families have chosen a favorite quotation or even an appropriate scripture verse for their Family Mission Statement. Your Family Mission Statement should sum up the basic tenets of your family, the beliefs and values that all decisions and rules should be based upon. The Mission Statement itself will not be a list of rules, but it will serve as a list of guiding principles. The assorted specific rules concerning conduct, chores, proper attitudes, etc., may develop out of the Family Mission Statement, but the Mission Statement itself isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts.
An example of a Mission Statement written for a country rather than a corporation or family, can be found in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. It says, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity . . . .
”The Preamble (Mission Statement) itself doesn’t contain the exact how-to’s of those topics mentioned (establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, etc.). The Preamble sets the tone and states the purpose for the Constitution that follows (the Constitution is then the list of the “rules” for the country that stem from the purpose described in the Preamble).
One family uses a favorite verse of scripture as their Family Mission Statement. It reads, “The most important commandment is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” All their major family decisions are based on whether or not they’re expressing love to God or to their fellow man. The statements concerning heart, soul, mind and strength encompass every area of possible priorities or decisions.
Another Family Mission Statement states, “We are a family who values relationships. We value family, friends and our community. We value the quality of our inner lives through personal growth, spiritual insight and character development. We value education and the pursuit of wisdom. We value time spent helping others. We value honesty, commitment and kindness. We value each member of our family and each member of society. We value and respect the differences between us. We value laughter. We value joy. We value love. We value life.”
Values and Topics
The following is a list of possible topics you may want to cover in some form on your Personal Priority List and/or Family Mission Statement. These topics are given in no particular order. Don’t feel that your family needs to include each and every topic on this list in your statement. Remember, this is a list of your top priorities in life. If you find it difficult to narrow down your focus, try to limit yourself to no more than ten topics on your list.
Family Community Loyalty Hobbies Spirituality Responsibility Education Compassion Friendship Faith Courage Moral Sense Attitudes Outdoor activities Justice Extended family Gratitude Career Environment Perseverance Contentment Honesty Love Entertainment Fun Creativity Nurturing Service Intimacy Empathy Connectedness Time Commitments
After a statement has been decided upon, your family can then decide as a group what to do with your statement. While the possible uses for the statement are varied, it’s important to make sure it’s not hidden away in a box or file somewhere and never glanced at again. That would defeat the whole purpose.
The Family Mission Statement can be printed onto small cards for each member to carry in their wallets as a reminder of the importance of their family and the values they’re attempting to live out in their lives.
The Mission Statement can also be done in calligraphy or painted, and then displayed in a frame in a prominent spot in the house.
It can be read aloud in the group as a way to start regular family meetings, or as a brief opening word before a meal.
Make your Family Mission Statement something to be proud of—make it beautiful, a work of art. If it’s displayed in a public spot in your home, it can even become a valuable conversation starter with visitors and extended family members.
Remember, the purpose of the Family Mission Statement is to provide a framework for identifying priorities in your life. As you make decisions in light of your priorities, you’ll find a clearer focus to your life and find that life takes on a new simplicity