A Family Mission Statement
Benefits of having a Family Mission Statement
Kochenderfer, Co-Founder and Senior Editor of
According to Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
"Every decision we make is
ultimately governed by some kind of interest or goal or objective or value or
principle, whether we know it or not. A Family Mission Statement is an
effort to bring to an explicit level what your goals and values are so that
people are on the same page."
process is as important as the final product, says Covey, since it is critical
that every member of the family feels they contributed to the development for
process involves a great deal of empathy, patience and time,
Covey said. But it's a fun process and
very powerful in getting everyone to emotionally connect to the values that are
produced. It's important to make sure
everyone feels their ideas are respected and honored.
an emotional buy-in and connection will create an almost self-governing
happens because] even though everyone is doing their own thing sometimes,
there's something at the bottom that unites us. The culture of the family is
very committed to a common vision and mission and set of
explains that it works especially well when a Family Mission Statement is
developed intergenerationally, so that the full family is using the same values
in their relationships and actions.
example Dr. Covey shared the Mission Statement that his family
create a nurturing place of faith, order, truth, love, happiness and relaxation
and to provide opportunity for every person to become responsibly independent
and effectively inter-dependent in order to serve worthy purposes in society
through understanding and living the Gospel of Jesus
The Main Elements of a
Covey's Mission Statement contains all the main elements of a good Mission
Statement. Those parts include:
of the home – nurturing, etc.
on individuals –independence and interdependence
to be a family of significance - service & contribution
of the power
process for developing a Mission Statement can begin as simply as holding weekly
family meetings and starting by asking open-ended questions. Parents should ask
their children questions such as:
"What kind of a home do you want to bring
your friends home to?"
"What type of family do you want?" and
"What's important to you?"
answers to these questions will start to form an outline of important values for
everyone in the family. Kids will gradually begin to see it taking shape and the
buy-in will become stronger.
parents have not been told how to listen. Most people listen within their own
frame of reference and are inwardly planning their reply.
It's better to restate the other
person's thought before you reply.
more they sense you are listening they will communicate more authentically. When
that happens there's a level of bonding that's almost
families can use a more visual approach, using poster paper to list values or
what makes them happy. Families with younger children might try creating a
poster using magazine pictures to represent what is important to
key is to not ignore the children's input and just present the Mission Statement
to them. They must feel they helped to produce it.
adds that you don't have to use the word values or mission statement. Some
families call it a motto, or a creedo, or come up with their own
of the benefits of the process is that everyone is involved and so a sense of
interdependency develops. "The more you can get kids to buy into
interdependency you have resolved 90% of the challenges and problems that come
into a family," says
Covey. "It creates a
friendship between siblings that is emotionally generating. They begin to think
of siblings as their best friend, and they support each
Using Your Family
the Mission Statement is generated, families must make an effort to follow it.
This requires a lot of long range planning and
key is to discuss them constantly (at least once a week) to see how well the
family is living up to it (even the parents),"
cautions Covey. "Everyone governs
themselves by the mission statement if they feel genuinely
also important for everyone in the family to prioritize and "put first things
first." The items that the family has come up with in their mission statement
and the goals that flow from them are the "first things."
people put 2nd things first – for instance, work, even though they say they
really value family," says
neglect health, neglect integrity (which should be first things.) They neglect
their deepest values all in the name of social pressure. The ability to say no
to the second things is the key to saying yes to the first things. You have to
have a burning sense of yes about the first things to keep them
why there must be an emotional engagement over time in developing the value
system of the family because those become first things. The family then gets
social courage when they live that way so it's not hard to say no. They can say
no pleasantly and cheerfully and smilingly. When someone hasn't decided what the
first things are they can't say no to social
family members must do long term planning so that family comes first. For
example, if health is a priority, schedule time to exercise with family. Use a
calendar so family comes first and mean it.
meetings must be priority too. Members have to get permission from the group and
must justify it to other members. Nothing should supersede the meeting; not
homework, friends, or phone calls, etc.
adds, "Little by little children grow up
thinking ‘family is where it's at.'"
Read more at: http://www.homeschool.com/articles/Stephen_Covey/