The second seminar by Jodie Palmer was about mission statements. Because we recently wrote our own family charter (a new expanded incarnation of it), we are naturally interested in learning more about how to actually use and implement it! I LOVED this class! I learned so much more about mission statements than I ever imagined!
- If you can’t articulate it, you really don’t know it.I have found this statement so true in our lives. I have found that people don’t trust homeschooling parents who can’t articulate why and how they homeschool. For years I knew the reasons inside my own head, but I had not written them down or articulated them. So, naturally when people asked me and I floundered a little, it planted seeds of doubt! Since that time I have found my voice about homeschool, and partly because I started blogging about it. I want to be sure that I find my voice for every thing I do, so that I can instill confidence in others and in myself.
“It is not enough to do your best; you must know what to do, and then do your best.” ~W. Edwards Deming
- Family culture is what influences the relationships, accomplishment of goals and the creation of character. This is another statement that I just loved!! We all know this deep down, but sometimes its nice to see it in black and white! We are trying to create a culture in our family that will allow our girls to excel at what ever they chose as educational goals (ultimately careers), in creating their own families and in their relationship with God.
Creating a family Mission Statement creates a way for each family member to assess and measure their progress. Again, this is a point that I love. One thing that our family has done for the past two years is “map out our lives.” Jodie called this “creating a vision of the future.” Once a year we have sat down with our girls and mapped out what they would like their lives to be like. We talk about missions, college, marriage, etc. Things that we can predict (like serving a mission at 21, unless they marry first) are the things we start with. Then we map out what it would take to finish college before that time, what it will take to be prepared for college before that, etc. Jodie added to that by asking us to have the children write “future” stories, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now, etc. She said to chose a tradition that you know your family will be participating in and have them envision and record how they see things at that time. Encourage them to talk about what skills they have gained by that time, if they’ll be married, what career they will have, etc. People with a vision of the future will make better choices in their present if they know it will change that vision!
Family Mission Statements do not need to be complicated, they just need to be true.Do not go find a mission statement on the internet and then hand it to your kids and say, “this is our mission statement, follow it!” That will not fly! Mission Statements need to be owned. Each person in the family needs to have a say (yes, even your 4 & 17 year olds!) Our girls were present and participated in the entire process of developing our MS and we knew our girls owned it when they immediately started implementing the concepts. (Star diving into Shakespeare and Xuxu volunteering to speak in church!)
Don’t forget the binding power in tradition! I did not really grow up with any traditions, and I have actively tried to change that in our home. I am working on an entire post about traditions, so I’ll leave it at that!
And last, but not least, How to USE a FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT:
- Use it to help the family set goals based on your core values
- Use it when making big decisions, “does this decision fit with our MS?” (We just went through a decision making process which ultimately hinged on our MS values!)
- Use it to regain focus whenever the need arises
- Use it to help you remember your passion
- Use it to support effective discipline
- Use it as a teaching opportunity (How many FHE lessons can you draw out of your MS?)
- RECITE it EVERY DAY!
- Share your vision often (with family and others!)
Questions to consider when developing a family mission statement:
- What makes you happy? What are those things in life that put a smile on your face and get you through your difficult days?
- What makes us fulfilled? What are those things in life that bring us the most satisfaction and leave us with the feeling of completeness?
- What do we want for ourselves and for our family? What are our hopes, dreams, aspirations not only for our family, but for ourselves as well?
- What is most important to you about your family?
- What are your collective goals?
- When do you feel most connected to one another?
- How would you like to relate to one another?
- Describe your family’s strengths.
- Describe your family in 5 years… 10 years… 15 years.
- What do you value? (For example, relationships, faith, independence, wealth, hard work, generosity.)
Questions from the FRANKLIN COVEY Family Mission Statement Creator
- We are at our best when…
- We are at our worst when…
- What do we really love to do together?
- As a family, what can we better do to help each other?
- As a family, what can we contribute to others, or how can we help others outside our family?
- Are there things we should be doing or changing as a family, even though we’ve dismissed such thoughts many times? What are these things?
- Imagine a party celebrating our family 20 years from now. What do we want people to honestly say about our family? People view our family as:
- If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be?
- What are the principles we want our family to operate on? (Such as trust, honesty, kindness, service, etc.)
- Let’s think of balance as a state of fulfillment and renewal in each of the four dimensions: physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. What are the most important things we can do in each of these areas that will have the greatest positive impact in our family and help us achieve a sense of balance? Physical: Spiritual: Mental: Social/Emotional:
- Imagine its ten years in the future. Envision where we want each member of our family to be. What have we accomplished, how do we see ourselves? Who will you be in 10 years?
Core Value Activity
Create a “value box” and gather all your core values over the course of some time (week to month). When you’re ready to do your family brainstorm, get out all your core values. Decrease them by two, then decrease by two again until you have one final core value. Keep track of your final 4-6 subsequent core values. Use Formula #1 to develop your mission statement using these core values.
#1 To (insert core value) by or through (insert three or four subsequent values).
example: To encourage others to become like Christ through loving relationships, healthy lifestyles, and stimulating experiences.
#2 To ____________________. (Do something)
In such a way that __________________. (Quality or actions)
so that _________________________. (Results or Benefits)
Fun ideas to teach/reinforce the family statement:
- Write a Family Standard
- Habits of the Home list (How we treat each other, what we do/do not do!)
- Have the kids create art work about the mission statement
- Create a family cheer
- Family moto
- Choose a single word that stands for your family
- Create a family flag