“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.”
Today I received a box of hankerchiefs. I was going to do a post about them, but then I realized that the reason I ordered these hankerchiefs was because of our family mission statement, and I don’t think I’ve ever formally talked about it before.
The idea of having a family mission statement started last year when I read Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. Honestly, this book should be a yearly read for me as I think I only gleaned about 15% of the meat of it during the first go-through. One thing I did take away, however, was the family mission statement, and we immediately began working on one.
The purpose is much like why every organization should have a mission statement:
“The mission statement should guide the actions of an organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides “the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.” It is like a goal for what a company wants to do for the world.”
Thanks, Wikipedia. In all seriousness, though, why wouldn’t a family want to have a statement that guided their actions and defined their collective goal? I’m not saying there are no successful families without mission statements (there are!) but it sure is nice to be able to have a grounding manifesto in those instances where you’re having to make a tough decision, trying to recover from an emotionally-charged situation, or reassessing priorities.
So, for a couple sessions, Devin and I sat down to write out fundamental beliefs and driving forces in our lives, then compared notes to see what patterns we detected. Devin and I have very different approaches and strengths, so it was a really great exercise to engage in and talk through. Out of our notes we decided that we’d go with an acronym of our last name, which I mildly protested about (CHEESY MUCH) but in the end was actually a great decision. It’s way easier to remember that way! Plus it’s kind-of fun and personalized.
As we approach a year with a family mission statement, I have to say I’m sold on it. There were quite a few months that it slipped off our radar (I had it written and posted on the fridge but then it got wet and had to toss it), and I plan to frame it and post it somewhere soon (GET ON THAT, SELF). I’m sure throughout the years it will morph and change as any good mission statement does, but for now it is serving us well and challenging us daily.