For many of you, developing a family mission statement may have been on your “to-do” list for a long time, but you have never gotten around to it. Or, maybe the idea is new and a bit daunting.
Here are some sabotaging beliefs and myths that real people have said about mission statement development.
1. “My children are too young to get involved yet.” Or, as one mom put it, “I don’t want my four-year-old influencing our mission statement.”
Even though children might not be able to articulate it, it matters a lot how their family “feels” to them. The family is a child’s world, and they can, even at very young ages, make valuable contributions to the discussion of what matters to the family.
If children are too young to participate, it’s never too early to begin consciously creating the culture of your home through the development of a family mission statement. Their contribution might merely be participating in the daily reciting of the mission statement.
In our home, we have a disabled, non-verbal four-year-old, a very busy two-year-old, and a five-month-old. Our children were too young to have participated in the actual development of our family mission statement. But they very actively participate in the daily reciting of our mission statement. Our two-year-old loves to say the first line, “The Joyful Palmers are a team! Yeah!” Our disabled daughter engages with a huge smile, and the five-month-old soaks in the feeling of it all.
When children are a little older, they can contribute by drawing their ideas of what matters to the family and how they would like the family to feel.
2. My children are too old. I don’t think my children would accept it.
Older children may very well reject something that might challenge the current family status quo or come down from the “powers that be.” Working with older children requires that we pay special attention to “doing the dance” of inspiring.
Primarily, a family mission statement should never come down as an edict from parents. No matter how fabulous your mission statement might sound, it must be created as a family to have any real investment by everybody.
Consider engaging your older youth and young adults in a way that gives an air of anticipation and excitement to the development of this statement. Be prepared to invest in this process. For example, consider taking a unique family retreat, or maybe your children would respond with some private, preparatory, one-on-one talking.
Never create it yourself and then announce it to the family as the new thing. Make it fun; involve food and activities that your family enjoys.
3. I’m not creative enough.
Mission statements don’t require creativity; they require truth.
4. A mission statement must be short; we can’t fit all that’s important to us in a brief statement.
Here’s an example of a family mission statement that is not short.
Habits of Our Home
We obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
We love, honor, and pray for each other.
We tell the truth.
We consider one another’s interests ahead of our own.
We do not hurt each other with unkind words or deeds.
We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
When someone is sad, we comfort him.
When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
When we have something beautiful to share, we share it.
We take good care of everything God has given us.
We do not create unnecessary work for others.
When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
When we open something, we close it.
When we turn something on, we turn it off.
When we don’t know what to do, we ask.
When we take something out, we put it away.
When we make a mess, we clean it up.
We arrive on time.
We do what we say.
We finish what we start.
We say please and thank you.
When we go out, we act as if we are in this house.
When necessary, we accept discipline and instruction.
5. A mission statement needs to be long.
Here is an example of a short and sweet family mission statement.
Our Family Mission
To encourage others to become like Christ through loving relationships,
healthy lifestyles, and stimulating experiences.
6. I’m not sure we need a family mission statement. We seem to be doing just fine without one.
That’s a fair evaluation if “just fine” is your standard.
Assignment #2: What roadblocks, if any, have been keeping your family from creating your family mission statement? Are these roadblocks real or excuses? If they are real, write them down. Now begin considering solutions to these roadblocks. If you need help, reach out to your spouse or a friend to help you start seeing opportunities and solutions.
You can access Part 1 and Assignment 1 HERE.