I have a quick question for you – what’s your family’s mission? Have you ever considered it? It’s kind of a deep loaded question, huh?
While I was in the planning stages for The Motherhood Podcast, Jeff was actually working on a new project too. We were discussing mission statements and what the vision would be for our new ventures. We knew that without a clear vision, without clear direction – it would be difficult for us to stay the course, stay true to our mission, define our purpose, and get where we wanted to go. And in that conversation, we started looking at different companies’ mission statements. We had this revelation – we’ve got to write our family’s mission statement! It’s something we had wanted to do, especially since having kids, but we hadn’t ever actually sat down to put pen to paper.
I mean, if businesses find it useful to have a Mission Statement, why shouldn’t we be just as intentional in our family? ur family is a higher priority to us than our businesses, and we care more about the direction in which our family is going. We want to ensure that our family is on the same page about what our values are and what we stand for. However, we had never actually discussed it and put that mission – those core values – that vision – into writing. So we did it!
I want to share our mission statement writing process with you, and then give you a framework to write your family’s mission statement!
Do you remember mad libs? Did anyone else get as much of a kick out of those when you were a kid as I did? It was little book of stories with fill-in-the-blanks. It would tell you to plug in a verb or noun or adjective, and then at the end you’d have some silly story! Well, your family mission statement will require a bit more intentionality, but I’ve basically created a mad-libs form for you guys to start with. You can print it out and then plug in those verbs, and nouns, and adjectives that are important to your family – those values that fit within your family’s mission. I’ve also included a bunch of ideas on different values and goals that you can use to get going. It shouldn’t take long and you can continue to tweak and adjust your family’s mission statement over time as your family evolves.
Feel free to use it to inspire your family’s mission statement- take some or take it all – whatever works for you. Your family’s mission statement will be your idea of your family’s vision – it should lay out your family’s purpose, goals, and values. You can call it a mission statement or a vision statement – whichever your family prefers. I love the idea of having a shared and unified vision for your family – a common direction and goal you’re all moving toward daily so everyone understands what you stand for and where you are headed. But I also love a good mission statement – the idea of my family being on mission fires me up! So whatever you want to call it – it’s completely up to you! I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. Download the worksheet below to get started!
In the book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Stephen Covey writes that “A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members (and I think that’s key) of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”
What are some reasons we should have family vision statements?
Well, it helps to form our kids’ and our family’s identities. You can use the mission statement to start a conversation about what sets your family apart. What does it mean to be a part of your family? Without a vision that comes from us – the parents – our kids are more likely to find their vision (their identity and values) elsewhere. Maybe it’s from society, pop culture, or social media. If we’re not the ones setting goals, values, boundaries, purpose – they’re going to find it somewhere, right? And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids necessarily learning boundaries or values from Johnny in algebra.
Having a shared vision, one that’s agreed upon through a collaborative process by everyone in the family, deepens the bonds between you and your family. It can create a tighter knit circle. I think a family mission statement can also set standards for the kind of behavior that’s expected in your family. You better believe the Grosser Family Vision Statement addresses kindness, gentleness, and the way we communicate and treat each other. We’re expected to be generous with each other. We’re expected to encourage each other. We all know this because we’ve all agreed it’s important enough to include in our family’s mission.
So before you sit your family down and start to go through the steps of writing a family vision statement, you first have to start with adjusting or setting your expectation for how this is all gonna go down. I want you to remember that this is going to be a process, and that there’s so much value in the actual process. The value isn’t only in the final version of your mission statement, but it’s in getting everyone together and getting everyone’s input. Take turns to speak and listen. Encourage every family member to participate. Remind everyone that this is a brainstorming session, and there aren’t any bad suggestions or ideas. It’s also really important to listen to each other – because we might gain insight about our spouse and children. For example, your husband or children might have really strong views on certain family values that you didn’t even know about! This is a great opportunity to explore those together.
I want to encourage my other type-A moms out there – those of you listening who struggle a bit with surrendering a little control. I say this from experience, friends – this is a time for you to practice surrendering a bit. Your family’s vision statement is a group project and might not look and sound exactly like it would have if you had sat down and written it yourself, but remember that’s part of the beauty of it. It represents your entire family and everyone’s ideas should be considered and included. So think of your job through this process to be the coach or the guide, getting everyone to participate and stay on track.
Alrighty, let’s jump into the nitty gritty – here are the 5 steps to writing your family’s vision statement:
1. Meet together and brainstorm
When you and your family pick a time to sit down and put this mission statement together – make it fun! You can do it on a road trip to your family vacation. Maybe you make s’mores together out by the campfire (or we make them on the grill) and talk it over. You could make some popcorn, put some fun music on, let everyone get in their pjs and sit on your bed to write it! You know what excites your family – you know what’s more appropriate age-wise. You know what they think is cool and what they think is corny. So, you choose what you think would be best. If you have younger kids, you don’t even need to do this all in one sitting. You can do two, 15-minute meetings – one to brainstorm and one to put it all together – be patient with the process. My encouragement is to try not to make this a chore – this should be fun!
When you all get together, you’re going to want to choose someone to be the family’s recorder and write all the ideas down. You’re going to want to start talking and brainstorming about your family’s values and goals. In the Worksheet download above, there are tons of ideas to get the conversation started. You’ll want to have your recorder write down your family’s responses to these questions. The responses will serve as your framework for paring down your family’s most important values to included in your mission statement.
2. Make a list of your family’s values
After you’ve discussed some of these brainstorming questions and written down your family’s responses, you’ll want to start a list of family values. It shouldn’t be a list of what your family thinks should be important (you’re going to want to avoid being aspirational)- but the actual things that ARE important to YOUR family. The things that make you, you! The values that really resonate with everyone – those principles that feel in line with your family’s personality. For this list of values – just start with the words. Don’t worry about turning these into longer phrases or sentences right now – just assemble the words that came up during your family’s brainstorm. At this step, don’t worry about the length of your list. In fact, the more values you list at this step, the easier it’ll be to write your vision statement. You can take a look at your family’s responses to the brainstorming questions in step 1, and start writing down and adding values to your list – so values like kindness, patience, joy, peace, truthfulness, fun, integrity, adventure, and faith. Make sense?
3. Create 7-10 key phrases
So now its time to turn your big list of words – all those values and principles, into phrases and statements you’ll be able to plug into your vision statement. You’ll want to start this step by doing a once over for synonyms or words with similar meanings. For example, if you guys listed both “truth” and “honesty” as important values, work together to choose one or the other to avoid those kind of duplicates to help narrow down your core values.
Next, you’ll want to go through the list and put a star next to those values that everyone feels sure should make it to the final mission statement. Then, it’s just a game of elimination. Keep narrowing it down until you have about 10-15 values. Don’t get too bogged down in the numbers or structure. If there are 8 values you all strongly agree on, great – run with that for now! If there are 15 and you can’t agree on which ones to cut out – no worries! That’s awesome! You’ll make it work.
Once you’re down to about 10-15 core values, you’ll want to use those and your brainstorming responses to turn those values into 7-10 short phrases. I included a few ideas of what some of those phrases might sound like in the Worksheet download above. You can tweak and use these if they fit with your family’s values or just take a look for inspiration as you write your own.
4. Write out your family’s mission statement
Now the fun begins – its time to put it all together! Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by this part – you can keep your family’s mission statement short. In fact, the shorter it is, the easier it’ll be for your family to memorize over time which is awesome! Try to keep it under 100 words. If putting it all together as a whole family is a bit much, maybe there’s a great writer in the family whom you could delegate the job of coming up with the first draft. The format is completely up to your family – you can take your key phrases and compile them into a paragraph, you can do it in a bullet point list, and hey – maybe if creativity or music is one of your family values, you could even turn it into a song or rhyme! Just try to capture the spirit of your family. Mission statements don’t need to be boring. They can be funny, playful, or laid back- whatever you feel really fits your family.
5. Put it somewhere in your home where everyone will see if often
This is so key! Friends, this is the easiest step but it’s probably the most important! You’ve created this awesome family mission statement, and now you’ve gotta use it! It’s not gonna do you guys any good if no one ever sees it – if you don’t use it to reflect on, to teach from, to guide your family. So make it look good and put it somewhere in your home where everyone will see it often. You can do something simple on your computer – with a nice font and maybe even add a family photo or whatever and print it out. Stick it on your fridge or put it in a frame in your living room. Hang it on a wall in the bathroom where everyone sees it while they brush their teeth. You can get as fancy as you want – you could probably even go on etsy and turn it into a canvas or have it printed on wood or something. However you do it, you just want to have it around as a reminder of what you stand for. You can use it to help create family rules and set boundaries. Something you can refer back to when making all kinds of decisions – something to meditate on to remember your “why” – why does your family do what they do?! Keep it around to really help you live out your family’s mission.
Here’s a quick recap of the steps:
- Meet together and brainstorm
- Start asking your family questions to prompt discussions and explore what’s important to everyone
- Make a list of your family’s values
- Those words that represent your family’s principles
- Create 7-10 key phrases
- Create short statements about your core values
- Write Out Your Family’s Mission Statement
- Put it all together in paragraph or bullet point form
- Put it somewhere in your home where everyone will see if often
- Read it, discuss it, teach from it, use it!
Decide when your family meeting is going to be and don’t put it off! You’re going to find this so helpful in setting the tone in your home. Download the step-by-step worksheet above, and take some time to talk this over with your family, and be intentional about doing this! I cannot wait to see what you all come up with. Can you please share them with me?! You could put them on IG and tag me @themotherhood.podcast or DM me with them or even better, post them to our Facebook group, The Motherhood Village. You may just inspire another Mama to write their family’s mission statement!