To start of the New Year, Michael and I are working to set a few goals, plan a few adventures and work on a family mission statement. I have invited my friend Meiko Seymour to share with you his steps to developing a family vision and mission statement.
I’ve always been someone who operates on an agenda, from goals, with dreams, tailored to aspirations. In fact, my life quote is “My vision determines the parameters that I live by”. What this looks like is no matter what I do, it had better line up with what I value and what I’ve determined is the end game. This has been so crucial in my life because it has kept me steady in the most tumultuous times and times where I have felt as though I was searching for answers, for directions, and getting no where. With having something to default back to, to look at and say, “Does this line up”, I have been able to steer clear of so many things.
Enter date November 9th, 2012. Simone, my wife, and I enter into happily ever after! We got married. My wife and I have completely different personalities. Where I am rigid, scheduled, goal oriented, she tends to be care free, “it’ll work out”, and non-scheduled. So now, as a husband, I wasn’t only responsible for the direction of my life; I was responsible for our new family. Scary. Exciting, but scary. This would prove to be difficult because we come from different backgrounds and we have perspectives that may be different. I may want to go one way and she may want to go another. I may want to spend less here where she would want to spend more there. She may want a baby now while I may want to wait 5 years. See, hard things. We know we are suppose to chose the hard things but the hard things are really hard! These things could really cause dissension, disunity, distrust, and so many more “disses”.
Our solution was to come up with our yearly family vision, mission, and goals. We take time to really search deep about the things we want together and what we want separately. We take time to figure out who we want to be to each other and to our community over the next year. We take time to look at finances and dreams and the allotment of both. How? I’m glad you asked!
1. Create space and put all of the cards on the table.
Near the end of the year we take a few days to pray and to have family meetings. We take time to go to lunch and have coffee and discuss things. You must create a space or environment where family members, you and your spouse, can put everything on the table. What was good about this year? What are some things we didn’t like? What were some failures? What was achieved? Some of the answers shared may shock you but go with it. Invite everyone to be honest and open. Decide on the best ways to fix or continue what was brought up.
2. Where are you rooted?
We found it extremely helpful to figure out a scripture for our family for the year. With doing this exercise, it really helped us to determine what our mission was going to be and really helped to solidify our actionable – our decisions. This took time to hear from God. This may or may not be your thing but figure out what your family is rooted in. At the end of the day, it all comes back to what?
3. Determine your Family Vision
Your vision statement is your “dream statement”. It’s what your family believes are the ideal conditions for itself; that is, how things would look if it were perfect! Write down that statement. Your vision statement could be a few statements as long as they do not contradict each other.
4. Determine your Mission Statement
Your mission statement is the actionable part of this whole process. It is the “how” of the equation. How will you carry out roles, decisions, etc to get you to be the perfect you. How will you get to achieving that vision that you just wrote down. Remember this process belongs to you and your family. So there are no right or wrongs except for the right for and wrong for for your family. Here is a draft that you may want to use to get started:
The ___________________ Family Mission Statement
We, the _________________family, want to be a family who (insert your main mission as a family here).
We make this our reality by daily:
Living into our main priorities of: _______________________________________________
Creating a home environment to be a place full of: _________________________________
Encouraging and supporting each other by: _______________________________________
And always treating each other with love and expecting the best of each other.
5. Determine what you value
This is what takes us the longest amount of time to really figure out who we want to be in the coming year. We list ten attributes we want to be able to infuse into our family. These are also things we want folks to know us for. You can list these in any order because they are ALL EQUALLY important to the identity of your family. Here is the catch however as you make your way through your year; every decision you make and every action you take must be able to stand up against your values and fit in what you determine you value as a family. Our family approach is to make sure that our decisions fit into at least 3 of our ten values, otherwise we’ve failed this family statement. To be honest it happens. However, the more you try to live by your values, to sooner they become easier to make decisions by.
We started out with at least 30 values and through conversation ended up with what we deem as our ten most important.
Once you have completed the five excercises above, you can put it all down on paper and get your family members to agree to abide by the statement.
The great thing about this is whenever there is disagreement about decisions and plans, etc., you can always refer back to the vision…refer back to your values. If it doesn’t fit, toss it out the window. And one quick note, some things may need to be tweaked as you go through the year. Things change, seasons change, and so you have to give room for that.