Writing a Family Mission Statement

You are a miracle… Now what?

Will Durant is quoted as saying, “If we have never been amazed by the very fact that we exist, we are squandering the greatest fact of all.”  Joe Van Deuren

Statistically, the probability of us being born exactly as we are is about 1 in 400,000,000,000,000,000 (400 quad-trillion — can you believe it?)

You are here by a miracle! You are unique. Your mate is just as unique and now you have a family that is just as much of a miracle. You and your children are very special and you are here for a purpose. All of this raises the question, “Now what?” What will you do with your unique presence in this world? Why are you a family? Some families answer these questions by creating a Family Mission Statement.

Every business has a vision — where they want to be in five or 20 years and what their ultimate goals are. What about your family? Families are not businesses, they aren't manufacturing anything, but their purpose is far more valuable. What is your family vision? How will your miraculous presence make a difference in the world? Are you willing to let your life and that of your children be directed by coincidence, happenstance, luck or just hoping for the best?

The values, trends and the media in society would be very happy to influence our famllies to an end that may not fit our personal idea of a good life. Do we really want our children’s peers dictating who they become or anyone else scripting their future? A family vision or mission statement, directed by our own core values will allow us to follow the path of our unique purpose in life.

For a family to make a difference in the world, they should begin with having a vision — seeing the big picture. Families should answer the questions, “Where do we aim to be? What is our purpose?”

This may seem overwhelming and the answer we first come up with might be vague, so begin with clarifying your values and what is most important to you. Ask yourself:

  • What roles does each member of the family play or would roles would each member like to play — parent, sibling, child, employer, spouse, caretaker? How would each member like to act and react in the role where he or she is?
  • What is both my and our life purpose, and how do we want to contribute to others as a family?
  • What does our family value the most — education, faith, creativity, fun, kindness, honesty? There could be a list of 20 or more values that are important to your family.

A mission statement answers the questions of what we do; what makes us different; how we will be true to our values and where we want to go, along with how we want to get there. It fills in the blank for this statement; “In our family….”

Complete these sentences with your family's core values and vision to help find your unique purpose. Chart the course of your family into making a difference that only you can make, because you and your family are very special.

In our family we serve each other by…
In our family we are known for…
In our family we value (top 4 priorities)…
In our family we like to ….
In our family we serve others by…
In our family we (fill in the blank)…

Remember that creating a family mission statement is not about trying to impress others. We should make our family statement without worrying what others will think or if they will approve. No one is in control of our family except us. We are on a mission as individuals and as a family — a family that came about in a one in a 400 quad-trillion or more chance.

Identifying that mission/purpose will help you and your family reach both personal and family goals and enjoy the best life ever. These other benefits may be a part of your vision:

  • Create a close family bond — a team like feeling.
  • Make parenting decisions easier and easier for children to understand.
  • Children will have their choices guided by family ideals and not someone you do not know.
  • Your family will have an identity; children will feel a part of something important and special (“In our family we…”).

Now, take all of what you value and combine it with how you want to be remembered, what is important to your family, and the difference that your family would like to make in the world and write a mission statement. It can be written anyway that you would like. Your family document may be a:

  • quote
  • song
  • poem
  • strong phrase
  • paragraph
  • it may be 3 words or it may be 100.

Remember, though, that the best mission statements are short and memorable. Be sure to collaborate with the entire family —even the children. Take your time. Do not rush through it.

When it is complete and everyone is happy with it, hang it up in a prominent place in the house for all to see and use in their day to day life.

As the kids get older or life circumstances change, you may need to re-visit the statement and rewrite it so that it fits your present circumstances. This should be done sparingly though. This statement is your Family Constitution. Your “In our family…” document reflects all that you believe in and want for the well-being of everyone in your family. It will serve as a guide for the entire family to achieve the vision — making a difference in the world in your own special one in 400 quad-trillion way!

Joe Van Deuren is the founder of Balanced Life Skills, a dojo in Annapolis that is dedicated to creating a culture of peace through the study of martial arts, performing arts and visual arts. We invite students of any age to join us for physically and intellectually challenging classes that will empower you to make the world a better place. Visit us at www.BalancedLifeSkills.com - Let's work together.


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