Creating a mission statement for our families may not have been the first thing on our mind as we just try to get through our days being sure the kids get to where they need to go and dinner is served at a reasonable hour.
Imagine however that at your place of employment that you were expected to just “do” and you did not know what the goal was, or that your goal was simply to collect a paycheck at the end of the week. At some point you no doubt would be looking for more. More satisfaction, more purpose, responsibility and in general an understanding of why am I doing this?
Every family to be strong enough to get through the confusing / difficult times or even to make good decisions in the good time, needs to know why they do what they do. Knowing that greater purpose, helps our children too, to make decisions based on values and purpose. In our 30 minute presentation we will discuss the why and how to create a family mission statement. You will be moved to clarify the “why” your family exists and what is important to you that you would like to pass on to your children.
Join us at Balanced Life Skills at 5:30 PM on Wednesday April 16 in the Media Room
Why does our family exist? Have you ever considered the question, Why have a family?…. What is our family all about?…. What do you really want to do and be as a family?… What are the principles that our family lives by?
Any successful business use a mission statement as a “constitution” of sorts to guide their decision making process and their operating procedures while they manufacture widgets. They find that having this kind of unified standards and guidance helpful in keeping everyone on the team headed in the same direction, and to employ individuals who share the same values. They are only manufacturing things! Families are having and molding children.
A mission statement for a family defines this families purpose, goals and standards. The mission statement describes our reason for being. It is our vision for this small unit with thought given to what the unit will produce. The family with a mission statement, that they refer to often – knows where they are going and makes decisions based on an end result.
Too many children today though have no clear direction that is articulated beyond – do well in school so you can go to a good college. Is that really the whole goal in life, to be able to say, “I went to a great college.”? When there is no bigger picture for our children, they will look for it elsewhere. Unfortunately the media is there to tell them what are good values, what ‘everyone’ is doing, and what behaviors are acceptable. It becomes very easy to get swept away with trends, fads and the values of others out of control. That really is not what we want for our children.
If our children are not grounded with a greater purpose, they may feel like they only have to hold it together, keep it functioning from day to day. How much better for them to learn that they can live with and for something bigger than just themselves. In our work to create a culture of peace, I believe that we need to define our mission or purpose and then live by it, for our children to feel safe and secure.
Having a purpose in life, a mission, something bigger than yourself and your personal needs is valuable in several ways. In Ohio there is a Leadership Development Institute who defines the value of writing a mission statement this way:
It forces you to think deeply about your life, clarify the purpose of your life, and identify what is really important to you.
It forces you to clarify and express succinctly your deepest values and aspirations.
It imprints your values and purposes firmly in your mind so they become a part of you rather than something you only think about occasionally.
Integrating your personal mission statement into your weekly planning, gives you a way to keep your vision constantly before you.
Can you see how a mission statement is different than just having some goals for the year? In fact your goals could and should support your life mission, whereas just having goals not tied to a mission, would make it very easy to just throw them away without any deep thought.
Most of all a mission statement should inspire you! Have you created one for yourself or how about a family mission statement? I believe that a mission statement is the beginning of keeping a family operating as a unit, on the same page, one that has a purpose – beyond the narcissistic ways we see so many operating today. Share your statement with us on Facebook. Like Balanced Life Skills while you are there.
Each one of our students who are 9 years old and above have been asked to create for themselves a mission statement. We have talked about why that is important and how what you choose to do should always support your mission. When we live our mission, we are going to live more fulfilled lives. Remember that everyone’s mission statement is their own personal statement. It can be long, short, a poem, a quote, a picture – anything that you want it to be that tells the story of .
I have created my own mission statement to set the example for all of our students.
My mission is: Teach Peace
My vision is:To help students and parents to understand the framework, technique and application for creating peaceful families and community.
This is my personal mission and vision. I fulfill this in many ways including, through teaching at Balanced Life Skills, teaching at the community college, doing programs at individual schools, working on programs such as Kids at Hope, Youth Suicide Awareness, Jane not Plain and doing personal one on one coaching of kids and families. There is more too, but when things come up, I have to ask myself, Does this activity contribute to teaching peace?
Imagine if every family had a mission statement that they spoke about with their children – so everyone was headed in the same direction. They would know the why we are doing this or that activity, why we are making these choices or sacrifices. How strong would the family be then? Having peace in our relationships and family is vital to our feeling fulfilled and successful.
If someone were to ask you what your personal goals are would you be able to tell them? Even more than that, have you written your goals down so that you can review them regularly? Doing so will have an impact on your ability to stay true to yourself, your values, morals and ethics.
We all know that a goal is only a goal if you have written it down and hopefully told others that you are working to accomplish your goals. Otherwise it is just a dream, something in your head that you think about from time to time. But when you write it down, carry it with you, read and think about it in the morning when you start the day and reflect on them at the end of the day – then they are real goals.
If you know your goal is to have a certain GPA, to be on a particular sports team, to reach certain education level, it will be much easier to resist negative peer pressure and keep your eye on your study habits and physical habits of eating and exercise. Steven Covey called it “begin with the end in mind”.
Take the time to write down your long term goals, and take it one step further and write out a mission statement for yourself. A mission statement is simply a bit of writing stating the values you want to live by, what you believe in and your goals for living your life. Here is one link I found that will give you some steps to writing your own personal mission statement.
Your writing of goals and a mission statement does not have to be long or real wordy. It can be as long or short as you feel like making it. It may change as you grow and that is OK, just be sure it reflects who you are in your quest to live your life with integrity.