Have you ever seen the show “Sister Wives?” I don’t even know if it’s still on the air, but I used to enjoy watching the occasional episode on TLC simply because it was so mind-boggling to me. Anyways, one of the wives was obsessed with the idea of having a family mission statement. She was adamant about getting the whole family together and creating this guiding statement for them all.
While I have no idea what their statement actually said (nor do I care), I was drawn to the idea of creating one. I haven’t seen an episode for YEARS and yet the concept has stuck with me all this time. Nate and I have so many grand ideas for Everly and our family, but I worried that without some serious intentionality those plans would never come to fruition.
We decided to create a family mission statement to help us laser in on what we want to accomplish as a family. As it turns out, this is a super Christiany thing to do and there are lots of websites with advice on how to write one. I combined different strategies from a few websites and Nate and I worked through the process over several nights. While researching, this quote struck me: “Although most parents have unspoken goals for their children — financial, spiritual, physical, emotional — these big ideas seldom translate into reality accidentally.” Reading this hammered home the importance of intentional parenting.
We didn’t answer every question on the document I’m attaching (link at the end of the post) but it was a great way to get our conversation started. We spent one night dedicated to this task and didn’t rush to move on to step two all in one session.
“A core value is something so central you would say, ‘Even if it’s harmful to us, we would still hold on to this value. Even if we had to pay penalties, even if we had to punish our children for violating it, even if we had to deny them something that would bring them pleasure, we would still hold to it.” -Authur, Jim Collins
The quote above helped guide us in selecting our core values. Many of them came directly from our answers from our discussion questions or were inspired by a conversation we had while going over them. It was helpful to notice reoccurring words or phrases to identify values that seemed important to us both.
Micah 6:8 is a verse that Nate and I both value. “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Other than that, we didn’t have much else for this section so that was all we jotted down. Use these steps as a guide and don’t feel it’s conscripted. The process is simply meant to help you pinpoint what matters most to you.
Before crafting the statement, we went through our answers and identified reoccurring ideas. We then eliminated anything we didn’t feel was most important and tried to whittle down our list of must-haves into something more manageable. We found we had three “categories” of goals so we sorted our values into Family, Faith, and Service. If you search Pinterest for family mission statements, there is no one way to do it. You can create a poem, it can be bullet points, a paragraph, one sentence…whatever best captures the sentiments you are trying to communicate to yourself and family.
Here’s what we came up with after several nights of brainstorming and a few rounds of editing.
The Riedy Family Mission
We are an unbreakable team radically committed to loving God and sacrificing boldly to help the oppressed.
Our Core Values
Family: We love each other unconditionally. We work to make our family and marriage stronger. We are always available and have each other’s backs. We show kindness and respect to everyone.
Faith: We pursue a personal relationship with God through daily Bible reading and prayer. We listen and respond to God’s call for the purpose of our lives. We follow Jesus’ command to love God and love others.
Service: We boldly stand up for what is right, even when it is hard. We sacrificially give of our time and money to help the oppressed. We are stewards of our time, money and the earth God gave us, not consumers.
Now that we had a 42-inch blank spot on our living room wall, we knew the perfect place to display our family mission statement. As Everly grows up, our family expands and our goals change, we’ll be sure to adapt our mission statement to better fit our current situation.
One of my favorite ideas I read while researching was about using the mission statement in your everyday parenting. If your child hits, instead of saying “No hitting,” use your family mission statement. Say this instead: “We show kindness to everyone. Was that kind? What can we do next time to be kinder?” My 13-month -old smacked my face and then smiled at me recently so I’m talking to myself here…
Obviously, that’s some A+ parenting and we won’t always respond that way but we’re more likely to if we train ourselves. I taught for 6 years (5 years in the 6th grade and 1 year in Kindergarten) and I can tell you that automaticity is your very best friend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “We’re problem solvers” or “Keep your voice quiet” or *insert any teacher phrase here* without thinking when in my head I. was. losing. it. My goal is to make our mission statement automatic so that I respond to Everly in tough moments using it to refocus her. Hopefully, she’ll not only learn the correct behavior but the why behind it.
Just because we wrote it down, doesn’t mean it’s happened overnight. We wrote our statement a few months ago and I can already feel us wandering from our goals and losing sight of our endgame. Not because they are no longer important to us, but because life’s unimportant, daily tasks weaseled their way to the forefront and are taking up more space than they ought. Busyness is a god and often confused with holiness. I’ve got a post planned for that, too. The beauty of our mission statement is that now that our goals are clearly named, it’s much easier to identify when we’re straying from the path we desire.
Are you considering a family mission statement? Let me know if you decide to write one! Nate and I started this blog because we’re passionate about the changes we’re making in our home and it’s so exciting when we hear that someone else is encouraged to give these changes a try!
Click the link >>> Family Mission Statement <<< to open all of the information I compiled to help you create a Family Mission Statement. This includes the questions I described, tips and sample mission statements.