Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Family Mission: Impossible?

How does the family culture survive today's anti-family atmosphere?
Okay, maybe it sounds cheesy, I mean really, a mission statement?  I was doubtful, not being the touchy-feely type as my Dad would say :)  After some doubts, I can tell you that creating my own personal mission statement (at my husband's prodding) has been a real blessing in my life.  When I feel overwhelmed, when I begin to doubt myself and my direction, the mission statement becomes a reminder of the important, the needful.  My goal was to read it each morning - and while I certainly don't accomplish that, I do refer to it often, and it encourages and reminds me of the path.  After creating a personal statement, my husband initiated the beginnings of creating a family mission statement.  Why?  How often do we lament the lack of time?  I love Fr. Justin Mathews song "Eight a Dime"  from Confessing Between the Lines (great CD, highly recommend it, especially if you are a fan of indie music! And while I am at it, a plug for FOCUS North America, if you are looking for a genuine way to help, please consider donating, I know Fr. Justin and Mtr. Jodi personally, and they are sincere and genuine icons of Christ, looking to feed the hungry and clothe the naked). 
"Well, time ain't nothing like freezer jam, it don't keep, even canned
So let me give you two cents, you can't two step through life.
Or you'll be three short a nickel, and eight a dime, eight a dime,
and with that, there ain't nothin' that you can buy, certainly not more time."

We all have the same amount of time.  It is how we choose to spend it, and we can't buy more of it once it is spent.  How do we decide how to spend it?  Are we living purposefully?  Are we choosing the things that are important, not urgent?  For us, the family mission statement will serve as our guide, helping us to weed out the things that don't fall in line with what we believe.  How do we live in the world, while not being of the world?  The difference between a dream and a goal is a PLAN (Dave Ramsey).  If your dream is to have a family that works together toward a common goal, you need a plan!

How do you go about creating a family mission statement?  Well, I highly recommend Seven Habits for Highly Effective Families as a guide, as well as Margin for giving some help in learning how to prioritize the important and minimize the urgent.  Last year we sat down together and brainstormed ideas for what we wanted our family to be.  Even the youngest children are able to offer adjectives to describe the family.  We received ideas that ranged from "no yelling" and "fun" to "n*rf wars together".  We wrote every one's ideas down on a whiteboard, and talked about what each of them meant.  After the brainstorming session, I gathered all of the ideas and began to formulate a final product.  I looked at numerous suggested formats from Seven Habits, as well as Ann's wonderful "seven rungs of the ladder".  As I began to group the family's ideas into common areas, I decided to take the first letter of each of our names, and create a title phrase beginning with that letter, then expand upon it using all of the ideas we generated.  I was able to incorporate every one's suggestions, and created a rough draft.  We then sat down with the kids and went over it, looking for their suggestions within the statement, and asking them for their agreement.  We encouraged the older ones to memorize the 6 main principles, and the current "final" version is posted in a prominent place within our home.  While it will certainly evolve over the years, it serves as a reference.  When an activity presents itself, it is evaluated based on the principles of our mission.  When a conflict between children arises, we discuss whether the behavior fits within our agreed upon principles.  It is the plan, clearly laid out, to help us achieve our goals.

Jesus is Lord
We will remember that God is first in our lives and family.  We will pray together as a family, both at church and in our home.  We will always remember that we serve Him.

Atmosphere of Peace
We want to live in a home that is fun and happy, but also clean and orderly.  We want an environment that is welcoming to others, relaxed and full of laughter.

Joyful in all things
We offer daily thanks for the many blessings God has given us.  We celebrate every moment and promise to slow down and live in that moment fully.  We will have a joyful attitude in work as well as in play, showing our thanks to God by caring for the things He has given us.

Come Together
We take the time to be together, both at work and play.  We select activities that are conducive to our family goals, and avoid those which consume too much of our time.  We are purposeful in planning time to work, play, learn and travel together.

Love one another
We treat each other with love, remembering we are each icons of Christ.  We are respectful, honest and kind.  We remember that Christ is in us, and our actions should always reflect that.  We serve others as Christ served, both in our family and our community.

Encourage one another
We speak positively about each other, encouraging and helping to build each member of our family to be their best.  We defend and protect each other.

Does your family have a mission statement? How has it helped you to create a family culture?

NOTE: I wrote this over the weekend and auto scheduled it to post today, having no idea Ann's Walk with Him Wednesday challenge would pose the question of how to slow down and use time as a holy thing!  So, I am linking to her post, and am smiling at the happy circumstance :)


vicki said...

Anna, I loved you Holy Week box idea last year. I am lookg through your archives and cannot seem to locate the post in which you describe them. Could you direct me to it? THanks so much! In Christ, Vicki

Maria said...

This is something that's been in the back of my mind since I read Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life last year (was it you that recommended it?). Thank you for sharing your family's statement. It has so much that is inspiring.

Anna said...

vicki - forgive me - I pulled the post as I am preparing a workshop for the St. Emmelia conference which will feature the boxes. If you will leave me your email, I will be happy to send you the information, and I will put the post back up again in March.

vicki said...

Anna, I am looking forward to your presentation at the conference! My email is Thanks for sharing your ideas!
In Christ, Vicki

elizabeth said...

This can be a good exercise; I can see this; helps you think deliberately about one's priorities etc. thanks for this.

Craig said...

I know it’s Sunday morning – a long time since “Walking With Him Wednesday”. But it took a long time to get through the “Multitude Monday” posts – and still didn’t get past 140 or so.

Ahhhh – a mission statement – I’m only me – and the cat – so mine is far more simple – just the makig of yours involved love and discipline – and I pray it rein youf ramily in and surround it with a hedge – a “God” hedge.

Your statement is beautiful – stunning really.

And I was blessed by your words today. Thank you.

God be with you and yours