Have you ever heard of a family mission statement? You probably have. Have you ever wondered why on earth having one is necessary? When I first hear “family mission statement” it seemed like some new age, unnecessary nonsense. (Not that I’m opposed to all things new age!) I couldn’t have been more wrong!
After digging a little deeper, I found them to actually be super useful. Not only a great idea, but one that can completely revolutionize the way a family functions and become the bedrock foundation for a healthy family.
If you find yourself struggling to find time with family because your family is over-committed and overwhelmed, then a family mission statement might be just what you’re looking for!
Any family can make use of a mission statement. Check out the reasons why I think every family should have one!
5 Reasons To Create a Family Mission Statement
There are lots of reasons to create a family mission statement. Here are the top 5 reasons that having a family mission statement is helpful and healthy for any family!
Protect your time.
A mission statement will help you determine what to say yes or no to. When you know clearly what it is that your family values, you can protect your time by saying no to the things that aren’t aligned with those things.
For example, determining that your family values and keeping those in mind will help if someone comes to you and asks you to participate in a time consuming endeavor. If the purpose of the project aligns with your values, or perhaps simply the act of volunteering service aligns with your values, you know that saying yes will be beneficial to your family.
If the purpose does not align with your family values, saying yes may simply be a strain on your family. It may very well keep you from being able to do the things you most value and create friction or tension, rather than togetherness and harmony.
Your family has a “Northern Star.”
A mission statement outlines what is important to your family. This can be very helpful when you start to compare your family to others.
These days, it’s very easy to compare our family to another and think to ourselves, “They’re more _____ than we are,” and feel bad. The worst thing about that is many times, whatever you fill in that blank with isn’t even something we care about!
For example, if I weren’t clear on what was important to my family, I might look at a family with a huge, beautiful home and feel bad. I might think, “They have such a beautiful home. Mine is so small. I wish I could give my kids their own rooms and a huge playroom.”
However, if I know that having a huge home would be nice but would ultimately be out of alignment with my values, it would be a lot easier to appreciate their home as their home. I would be able to avoid the jealousy or feeling of failure if that’s not even something I really want!
What I really may be feeling is that I wish my kids had space to play, or that I wish we were that financially secure. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve those two things besides a large home. Without the clarity of my family mission statement, that might not be so clear to me.
Streamlines family decision making.
Decision making in a family can be difficult. With a family mission statement, it doesn’t have to be! The mission statement gets it clear what the family values and priorities are. When making decisions about things like vacations, gifts, or expenses you can use your mission statement to help you decide.
By having the priorities aligned, everyone in the family is on the same page. This reduces arguments and disagreements. For example, if you’re deciding where to go on vacation and your family places value on togetherness and financial responsibility, it really narrows down the options.
In that situation, you’re not going to choose a vacation that would have everyone split up all week doing their own thing. You also would rule out anything that has excessive costs that would be financially irresponsible. See? So much easier!
Gives kids clarity in a chaotic world.
Life is chaos. For kids, this is especially true. They have friends from different cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, cities, and upbringings. They have lots of conflicting information thrown at them daily. As they try to find their way in the world, they’re prone to “try out” all different thought processes to figure out where they fit.
With a family mission statement, kids are clear on what is valued in their family. I mean, sure, the general raising of our kids also makes that clear. But how often do we have conversations about those things when they don’t come up that often?
When we actively talk about and pursue things that align with our mission statement, kids get a sense of what’s important. Even more important is that they will immediately recognize things that are out of alignment with that and will be less likely to “test out” those ideals.
Additionally, a family mission statement can help kids create their own personal mission statement to guide them through life. It will get them thinking, as they grow up, about what’s important to them, what they want to be important to potential partners, and how they want to raise their own kids.
Encourages desired traits and thoughts in children.
As I mentioned above, without a mission statement we might not talk and teach enough about things that are important. We sort of just wait until things come up that address those ideals and discuss them at that point. A mission statement provides the opportunity to actively encourage specific, important character traits and ideals.
For example, if compassion is one of your important values, you will actively pursue activities as a family that grow and encourage compassionate behavior. Perhaps you even look for opportunities to demonstrate compassion in front of your children or provide compassionate responses themselves. Ultimately, children in a family that do this would grow up to be compassionate people.
If this wasn’t part of your mission statement, they might still be compassionate people, of course. However, they’re more likely to actively pursue and think about compassionate behavior with it being a central focus in their childhood.
My family has recently created a mission statement (which I’ll talk about in a post in the near future) and I love it. It feels like a thread that pulls us all together as one cohesive unit. Whenever something comes up that we’re not sure about, we need to look no farther than our family mission statement. It is our guiding light and makes the chaos of everyday life just a little less stressful.
In a future post, I’ll be outlining exactly how to go about creating your very own family mission statement!