Creating a family mission statement is a worthwhile family activity that helps foster happy, healthy relationships with one another. By working through the process together as a family, you’ll have to define your values, priorties and expectations of one another, and come up with a plan to live your values and stay on track with family goals.
Embracing the Why’s in Life
I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had a bit of an independent, anti-authority streak.
If someone – a teacher, a boss, any authority figure, really – wanted me to do something that I thought was unreasonable, I always wanted to know why.
And if I didn’t like their answer? Well…let’s just say it didn’t result in a highly motivated me.
I think why is a great question to ask in our everyday lives, because it leads to curiosity, hypotheses and testing, and new discoveries.
Whenever I feel a twinge of annoyance that my 3-year-old is asking my “why” for the eighth time, I try to remember I want to encourage her to question things in life, always.
What is a Family Vision Statement? It’s all About Finding Your Family’s Why
If asking why is important in our-day-to-day lives, it’s especially important when it comes to the big decisions in our lives.
Companies have a mission statement to guide them in their day to day operations.
And plenty of adults I know have one too – especially those of us who are living intentional lives.
For example, I’ve long had an entrepreneurial streak, and have worked for myself for the past decade, because a lot of my whys revolve around owning my own time, and having “time freedom.”
While mission statements are common for companies, and lots of adults talk about their personal whys, there aren’t as many of us talking about finding our family’s whys.
Which is weird, because for many adults – those of us who are parents, especially – our family itself is the why. I know that’s the case for me and my husband!
While this is pretty intuitive as a parent, I encourage you to go deeper than this, and define your family’s why more specifically.
My Family’s Why = My Family’s Mission Statement
It wasn’t until my family delved into the work of writing our own family mission statement that I realized what a powerful tool it is.
Seriously, it’s a cheat code to a more harmonious and fun family life, and a life that’s filled with more meaning and action.
Indeed, a family mission statement is a great start around defining your family’s why.
Once you know your family’s mission statement and why – your purpose, your goals, and how you’re going to get there – it makes day-to-day decisions and even bigger life changing decisions around schooling, work, moving cities (or even countries) easier.
Why Create a Family Mission Statement?
Put simply, a family that knows its core values, lives its core values, and is intentional about living the life they want together is more likely to achieve that life.
By taking the time to create a family mission statement, your family is taking an important and intentional step towards creating the family life you want and living your family’s core values.
Key Components of a Great Family Mission Statement
Family mission statements should contain the following information:
- It outlines your goals and expectations of one another.
- It will clarify your family’s mission. By that I mean your family’s ideas of how to live a good life filled with purpose, whatever that means for your family.
- It defines your family’s values and the central beliefs you plan to live up to as family members.
- Every member of the family gets a chance to contribute and share their thoughts.
Some of the Benefits of Taking the Time to Create a Family Mission Statement
- Your family will increase each others’ sense of belonging and working together.
- You’ll each have clear ideas about how to move forward and live in a way that inspires and energizes each member of the family.
- Your family’s mission statement can serve as an easy-to-reference accountability tool to ensure you’re living up to what you said you would.
- You’ll teach your children they can leave intentional lives, and show them they have a lot of choice and agency in terms of how they act and the kind of life they want to create and live.
How to Create a Detailed Family Mission Statement
If you’re on board with the idea of creating your own family mission statement, the next step is to actually get at it.
Below, I’ve shared the process we used.
We were inspired to create a family mission statement when we started working through The Family Journal, which is available on Amazon.
Creating a family mission statement is actually the first of many exercises contained in The Family Journal, which also includes setting monthly and yearly goals for your family. It provides a great guide and some handy family mission statement examples to get going.
Our Family Mission Statement Example
For the record, our family mission statement is still a work in progress. As we practice living it, we end up making small tweaks here and there, but this is what we came up with:
In this family, we believe in abundance and a growth-mindset, and live intentionally knowing our choices shape our lives. We are brave, flexible, persistent, creative, and adventurous. Our family loves to have fun and laugh, and we value experiences and spending time together. We practice being kind to ourselves, each other, our community and the earth, and we actively care for our bodies, relationships, and the planet every day.
Of course, our family mission statement and family values will likely be completely different from what your family comes up with!
And that’s exactly how it should be.
Here’s the process we used to craft our family mission statement, with the help of The Family Journal as our guide. We hope you find it to be as useful an exercise as our family did, and I’d love it if you cared to share your family mission statements in the comments below this post.
Step 1 – Start with Parents
While every member of the family should have input, it’s natural that parents guide the process.
Decide together – or by yourself if you’re a solo parent – the most important values and beliefs of your family so you have a general idea of what the adults in the home value before bringing in the kids.
Step 2 – Schedule a Family Meeting that’s Free from Distraction
Once you’ve agreed as parents on the top line family values and beliefs, you can bring your kids into the discussion.
Schedule a time to meet together, without distraction, and explain what you’re doing and why a family mission statement is important to your family life.
This is a great time to talk about broader concepts associated with intentional living, such as goal-setting and having a growth mindset, as well.
Step 3 – Lead a Guided Discussion until You All Agree on the Same Principles and Family Mission
Brainstorm Values and Beliefs
Share the top line values and beliefs you agreed upon as parents, and then ask your kids to brainstorm around those ideas, adding in more ideas to form the basis of your family mission statement.
Depending on how old your kids are, every family member should ideally list a few values and beliefs they hold important.
While older kids will get the concept of values and beliefs a little more readily, younger kids may need it simplified by asking questions such as “what’s the best part of being part of this family?” or “what are some things we do together that you really like?“
The results of this family meeting – a brainstormed list of values and beliefs that are unique to your family – will serve as the foundation from which your family vision statement can be written!
Examples of Core Values Family Members Might Include
- Abundance- Mindset
- Active and Healthy
- Stewardship for the World
- Live intentionally
- Self Compassion
- Service oriented
- Relationships first
Use Guiding Questions and Prompts to Find your Family’s Purpose and Family Values
Sometimes it can help to use guiding questions or conversation prompts to start talking. The ideas below might be useful and help define the values that will form the core of your family mission statement and your shared vision.
- What words would you use to describe our family?
- How do you feel when you’re at home and we’re spending time together as a family?
- How do you want other families to feel when they visit our home?
- When is our family the best? What are our strengths as a family?
- How should we talk to each other and act towards one another? How do you like to be treated by other family members?
- What are our responsibilities towards one another?
- What are some things we love to do together as a family? What’s really fun?
- How do we want to act to people who are outside our family? What can we offer or give to others?
- How do we want others to describe our family? What words would they use?
- Are there any big ideas that are really important to us?
- What are the most important things we value as a family?
Step 4 – Draft and Refine Your Family Mission Statement
At this point in the process, feel free to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and start writing. Start by writing a few sentences based on your answers in Steps 1 through 3, and use those sentences as a rough draft.
To refine the family mission statement based on your draft, discuss why the sentences you wrote are so important to you as a family. This will give you some ideas about what’s missing, what may be unnecessary, and any words or ideas that need to change before writing a final version of your family mission statement.
Step 5 – Discuss How You’ll Live Your Family’s Mission Statement in Everyday Family Life
Every point in your family mission statement should support the values and beliefs that you’ve established – that’s the most important part!
But it can really help to write out some examples, and phrase similar concepts using other words, especially for younger kids.
At this point in the process, take some time to write out what the mission statement will actually mean to your family when put into practice. In other words, how will you live the family mission statement, and put your family’s top priorities into practice.
Here are some ideas for leading this discussion:
- How do we spend money as a family to support our family’s purpose?
- How much time do we spend together as a family and what do we do in that time?
- What does our ideal family vacation look like?
- How important is education in our family? How important is achievement?
- What role do our friends play in our lives?
- How much time do we spend on activities outside the home and outside our family?
- What ways can we live up to our responsibilities to each other?
- Do we need to have set household chores and responsibilities?
- How do we want to talk to each other and treat each other?
- What do we do when we have conflict or feel frustrated? How do we speak to each other and solve our problems while sticking to our principles?
Here are some simple family mission statement examples in action, that can help help kids understand how a family mission statement could be put into action.
“We respect each other and treat each other how we want to be treated”
- Ever member of the family speaks to each other with kindness and gentleness, even when we’re frustrated or angry.
- As individuals, we respectful of each others’ things, and ask before borrowing or using each others toys or other things.
- We help each other out, and look for opportunities to be helpful.
- Everyone speaks kindly about each other.
- We each strive to be honest with one another, even if it feels hard or scary to share our feelings.
“We value spending time together, and having fun as a family”
- As a family, we like to use our money on doing fun things together, and try to have unique experiences at least once a month.
- We commit to spending one weekend day/ weekday evening together as a family, without planned activities with others.
- Everyone in our family gets to help plan our families activities, and choose fun things to do together.
“We believe in a growth mindset and living intentionally”
- In our family, mistakes are seen as a chance to learn, and we know practice helps us learn and grow.
- There are lots of things in life that we don’t know. We believe we are capable of learning if we work at it.
- We like to try hard things, and use different strategies until we succeed and learn.
A family vision is a unified expression of your family’s vision for life and relationships. It includes descriptions of each family member’s role in achieving that vision, and also some practical steps to get there. And it’s the go to resource when making decisions in family life, from big changes to the mundane day-to-day.
In this post, I shared how we came up with our own family mission statement. TBH, it’s still a work in progress, but I don’t mind that. If truth be told, if feels like a living document. I’m happy to make small changes as we realize what works and what doesn’t.
I hope our experience inspires your family to sit down and do the same.