I have read several articles suggesting that there are benefits to families developing mission statements. And I agree.
Living according to mission statement ensures that interactions and decisions are deliberate and consistent with the overall goals of the family. It is a good way to make sure parents’ behaviors are compatible with the types of behaviors they wish to instill in their kids. And, If the kids are included in the development of the mission statement (and I suggest they are), parents can simply refer back to the mission statement when teaching/discimplining. For example:
My six year old son: I don’t wanna clean my room!
Me: In this family, we sometimes do unfun things to make sure we stay safe and healthy.
My six year old son: Yes, Ma’am. I just love picking up garbage and dirty clothes for the sake of our family mission. (Just kidding. The child still complains, but he knows his horrifically torturous efforts are at least purposeful.)
So what is a mission statement anyway? A mission statement is a summary of “what it means to be a part of your family.” It should include an over-all goal along with whatever values or behaviors you deem as in keeping with this goal.
So, what is my family’s mission statement, you ask?
For the past few years, in our house, the mission statement has been something like,
“Keep the kids alive and self-sooth by eating scoops of Nutella instead of screaming at the tiny army that has taken over.”
But, now that my youngest is happily beginning to speak complete sentences, I figure it was time to start practicing what I preach, and make a real statement already. My oldest child suggested that our statement be: That our family should never go to the grocery store again. And my husband is tail-gaiting before a Penn State game, sending me texts with emojis, which can only mean he is in no condition to offer input.
So I just came up with this on my own, and as-such, it is subject to change…. But it should be noted that one should never ask a psychologist who writes treatment plans and reports and overthinks everything to do the simple task of “writing a family mission statement.”
Mission of our family:
To grow, learn, connect, and enjoy in an environment of emotional and physical security. To be and become conscious and content contributors to society in whatever way our individual personalities compel us.
In this house, we….
Accept the tough stuff, even if we don’t like it (the realities of people/things we can’t change or control.)
Do tough stuff if it is the right thing to do, even if we don’t like it. (stuff that is hard, boring, or uncomfortable.)
Bravely acknowledge reality AS IT IS. (No assumptions no personalizing, no generalizing, no catastrophizing.)
Honor and respect the perspectives/needs of ourselves and others. (Dig deep to understand and relate without defensiveness. Exercise boundaries/limits when not respected. Apologize when we don’t respect.)
Remain responsible for our own behavior, no matter what. (Ourselves= the only thing we can control.)
Use vulnerable and compassionate communication. (validate, empathize, I-statements, direct and reasonable requests.)
Are mindful/aware instead of reactive. (Observe our thoughts, needs, biases, sensitivities. Respond thoughtfully and deliberately.)
We humbly forgive and humbly keep trying.
(Aye. Maybe I would have been better-off consulting with the husband who was drinking something that ends with “bomb” at an establishment with sticky cement floors. He would have at least mentioned fun somewhere in there.)
So does your family have a mission statement? If-so, share it with me in the comments! I’d love to hear it!