We want to give you a step-by-step guide for creating a unique family mission statement that will help your family thrive. Every high functioning organization has a guiding mission, your family shouldn't be any different.
Why you need a family mission statement
We're used to thinking of family as a collection of individuals pursuing their own separate dreams under the same roof. This mindset produces tension among family members when inevitably, one person's pursuit of happiness infringes on another's. It keeps us from establishing deeper family connections, and leaves us chasing every childhood whim and activity, even if it means spending 95% of our time apart from one another.
At Dwell Well Family, we look at family differently. We believe family is the most important team we're members of, and as parents, we're the head coach(es) of that team. A good team doesn't neglect the individual talents or training needs of its members, but it considers and cultivates them, so each member can play their unique and essential roll in accomplishing the team's mission.
For a sports team, this mission might be winning championships, for a company, it might be serving more customers. In a family, our mission unites us and guides us towards a common purpose. We all grow up believing a certain narrative about our lives, our purpose and place in the world. Whether we come by this narrative through happenstance or by an intentionally crafted family culture, we're all formed by the story we believe. Why not set your children on the path they should go, instead of letting the world decide for them?
Your family's mission can be the guiding narrative for your children's choices, but what's more, it can help you as a parent. Deciding whether to take on another activity? Consult the mission statement. Considering a big move or career change? Ditto. Teaching your kids hard lessons? Gently point them to the bigger why behind your discipline with your mission statement.
Prepare for the meeting
Convinced yet? Maybe so, but if you're like us, you're overwhelmed thinking about where to start. What does a mission statement even look like? We've got you covered with a step-by-step plan to create your family mission statement below.
First things first, make sure both parents work on this together! If you're a single parent, this process will one-hundred percent serve your family too. If you have older children or very involved extended family, you can consider bringing them to the planning table as well, it's totally up to you!
Now, grab a couple pieces of paper, one for each parent/person working on the mission statement, and some pencils. To make this even easier on you, we've created a free family mission statement worksheet. Click the image below, plug in your info, and and we'll email it to you right away.
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Make a list of your top 10 values
If you want your family mission statement to work, it needs to fit your family, not ours, not your sister's, not anybody else's. The first step towards this is to understand your family's guiding values. Values are things like faith, stewardship, generosity, and fun.
We all have different values, because we're all unique. For this step, each parent should list their top 10 values on a separate piece of paper. If you need help, consult the family mission statement worksheet, we've included a list of common values for you there.
List each family member's gifts, talents and interests
Now together, make a list of each family member's gifts, talents, and interests. For instance, one person might have organizational skills, another is creative and so on. The more things you can think of, the better. We're going to use this to find common threads in the next step.
Find the common threads
Look at your individual lists of values along with the list of your family's gifts, talents, and interests. What are the common threads? This part can be tricky at first, but think outside the box. It's so fun in the end to see how God places each of us in families both to balance each other out and to work together towards a common mission.
Once you've found the common threads, rewrite your values. If you're working with a co-parent decide on the 10 most important values between the two of you. Keep this list for later. If you can't decide on 10, don't worry, we have 11. One of us (ahem* Aubrey) is far wordier than the other.
Create a mission statement
Now it's time to create that mission statement. To start, use the template below.
The (Insert your family name) family exists to....and then fill in a sentence of two about your overall purpose. This purpose should reflect your top ten values. For example, our mission statement is: "The Golbek family exists to partner with God in spreading His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven." And then we go on to say, "We will do this by living into the following values," and we list our top values.
You could use this template or you could make it super simple with something like, "The Smith family serves others in love." The options are endless, which is why we found it helpful to use the template.
If you're working on this with a partner, try coming up with a mission statement individually at first. Then come together to compare notes and combine the best of both into one killer family mission statement! Ka-Zah! Now you're ready to put that statement into action.
First, just to review....
Steps to create a family mission statement
- Make a list of each parent's top 10 values
- Make a list of each family member's gifts and talents
- Look for common threads among values, gifts, and talents
- Each parent create a mission statement separately using the format, "the (last name) family exists to..."
- Compare mission statements and come up with one together
How to Use Your Family Mission Statement
Alright, now that you have your family mission statement, how do you use it? Better yet, how do you talk about it with your kids? We've created a series of posts to walk you through the entire process. When your'e ready, check out:
Don't have time to do it all right now? Pin this post for later, and you can pick up where you left off.
Want to learn more about doing family differently?
We've read A LOT of parenting books. After all, what're new parents to do with 3 kids under 5 and zero child-rearing experience? If we could recommend just two of those books it'd be the ones below.
These are not "how-to discipline" books, but big-picture family culture books that give space for individual parenting styles. We hope you'll give them a read!
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