I squealed delightedly as we drove out of our neighborhood. Kids and bags packed in the van, I grinned at my husband who I’d just kidnapped from work. What a transformation from an hour ago! The I-can’t-take-it-anymore-mommy-meltdown-of-the-week! In my tailspin, a single thought changed it all: our family’s at it’s best when we’re traveling. (Or, more specifically, when we’ve arrived at our destination. You know how I feel about car trips).
Five minutes and a visit to Priceline later, visions of a pool, jacuzzi and break from the craziness got the kids and I on the same page again for the first time in days. We knew where we were going again, and it wasn’t just to a hotel 5 miles away.
“Without vision the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
Our little jaunt wasn’t just for a break (though that part was really nice!) It was to honor something we all have in common. We love to play and have adventures. Sometimes they cost money, most times they don’t. Every time they focus us outside our disputes and onto problem-solving, learning and exploring together…. all things we value in our family.
Adventure is so important it’s part of our family mission statement. Have you got a mission statement for yourself or your family? If not, how do you know if your family’s doing what matters most to them, or what makes them great?
Making a Family Mission Statement
- Make it clear. What 5-7 traits, abilities, or virtues mean most to you? Who’s input do you need to make this list? Spend a week noticing the answer to this question in all the situations you face at home, work, church, in the community and write them down.
- Make it active. When you’re at your best, what does each value look like? Write a statement to show that. For honesty, perhaps you’d write “I speak the truth in love.” For courage, maybe “I trust God when I’m afraid.” Keeping it brief makes it memorable (notice the structure of the 10 Commandments?) So keep sentences active, positive and to the point.
- Make it memorable. A mission statement you can’t remember is one you’re not living. Once you’ve got those statements for each value, arrange them somehow you and your family can recite easily. Set them to a familiar song, make an acrostic (we did that with our last name, W-A-L-L-I-N). If you’re an artsy family, create something with each statement – maybe draw each value statement as a petal on a flower.
- Make it official. Have each family member sign it and log the date. Lift it to the Lord in prayer, for His help in living it out. Have a special family dinner to celebrate what you created, and all it reveals about who you are at your best together.
- Make it common language. Put it up someplace in the house where people will see it. Make a photocopy for each family member to have in their room. Pick one facet of it each month and decide how you’ll make it the focus of your interactions with each other, with God or in the community.
Whatever you do, celebrate this process. The simple act of creating a mission statement reveals how much life and your family mean to you. Enjoy making it uniquely yours, whether that means a one-sentence statement listing your 5 most important values, or a colorful decoupage delight. It’s yours, it’s you at your best, and it gives you a ready answer to the question:
“How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to?” – Anthony Robbins