Mission Possible, Your Family
A family mission statement is a description of a family’s reason for existing. It explains your family’s purpose, goals, and standards. Your family mission statement should be a unified expression of all the members of your family.
Sharing a vision bonds people. So why should mission statements be just for businesses? They can strengthen a family in the same way as and for the same reasons that they work in commerce. A family’s sense of unity and purpose is strengthened when each member knows that the others are committed to the same success and growth.
To create a family mission statement, call a family meeting. Make it feel special by implementing new traditions like matching pajamas, exceptional treats, or an unusual dinner or family game night after. This family meeting should feel different from other family meetings.
Your First Family Meeting
At your first meeting, establish guidelines. Everyone should have the chance to be heard, and everyone should actively listen. Someone should act as the notetaker so that the important thoughts and concepts are captured.
The meeting should begin with the family brainstorming ideas for the mission statement and the notetaker recording them. Set a time limit. Once the time has expired, ask each member if he has had a chance to contribute his thoughts. Then work on formulating your statement based on everyone’s contributions. Decide on a maximum of ten big ideas to include in your statement. Keep it as short as possible while still including all that is really important to your family.
You may need to set more than one meeting, especially if your family includes younger children. That’s okay as long as you don’t wait too long in between meetings.
Your mission statement should establish the family culture that you are trying to create. How should family members treat one another? How are goals respected and supported? What principle do you value the most? What roles will each family member have? What traditions are important? What are the unique gifts of each family member? What are you trying to avoid? What kind of family do you want to be? What are your core values?
Be Proud of Your Family Mission
Once you’ve written your family mission statement, hang it in a prominent place in your home. This way, your family will always be reminded of your goals for your family. Each family member should refer to the mission statement often.
Don’t forget to update your family mission annually. Schedule a family meeting on January 1 each year to review and improve your mission statement. It is a great way to remember your purpose, set new goals, and start the new year fresh.
A family mission statement strengthens your relationship with your family by establishing a clear description of your family’s purpose.
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About this week’s author, Joryn Jenkins.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.