by Susan Morley, Whole30 Coach & Parenting Coach
During this pandemic, we might find ourselves thinking about things that we haven’t had time to think about before we stopped rushing from here to there. And one of those questions might be what is the purpose of your family?
What is the purpose of your family?
This is a big question! The answer will help you and your parenting partner (if you have one) be on the same page when it comes to all things parenting. It will help you decide when it’s appropriate to provide a consequence for misbehavior (and what behavior is actually misbehavior). It can also easily be made into Family Agreements (or rules). But that’s later. For now, let’s start with building a foundation for your family.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Steven Covey said, “A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about–what it is you really want to do and be–and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”
See? I said it was a big question!
He also tells us that a family mission statement, “lays out a vision for your family of where you want to go together and how you want to get there. It provides a path and guideposts pointing the way ahead.”
As a mom of a teenager, I cannot stress the importance of that enough.
Lastly, he reminds us that it is like an, “Inoculation against children getting swept along with the flow of society’s values and trends.”
I also have a daughter in college. Once she left I realized that she was no longer going to need my permission to things. I’m happy to report that she has stayed, within a reason, within our family values (so far).
Getting started on your family mission statement
Here are some questions to consider with your parenting partner and/or children, as appropriate. These are some big questions. Feel free to highlight the questions that you want to focus on right now with your partner/family and work through them together, one at a time. Consider bringing one up at a family dinner to see where the discussion takes you!
- What’s working well?
- What am I doing that you love?
- Is there a way I can be a better partner for you?
- In what ways is our marriage serving its purpose?
- What two ways can I improve the way I treat you?
- Tell me how I can disagree with you better.
- What goals do you want to share with me and how can I support
- What’s working well with our finances?
- What can we improve regarding our finances?
- What kind of mom/dad do you want to be?
- How can I support you in this?
- What principles are important to you that we teach the children?
- How do you see your role?
- How do you see my role?
- In what ways do you see our extended families participating in our family?
- What are the traditions you grew up with (or not) that you want us to incorporate into our family?
- What traditions do you NOT want to bring to our family?
- Anything else?
Think about your Core Values
Make a list of what’s most important (not a wish list of what you want but what you already have), here’s a start:
- Civil Rights
Sample Family Mission Statement
Here’s a sample mission statement I found YEARS ago (source). I use a version of it for my own family:
Our Family mission is to:
Value honesty with ourselves and others.
Create an environment where each of us can find support and encouragement in achieving our life’s goals.
Respect and accept each person’s unique personality and talents.
Promote a loving, kind, and happy atmosphere.
Support family endeavors that better society.
Be open to resolving conflicts with each other rather than harboring anger.
Show gratitude all that we have.
I’d love to hear what mission statements you come up with.
Susan Morley, CLPC, Whole30 Coach, CARES, is an educator and coach who specializes in making being a mom easier. An educator at heart, she began her career as a teacher, then health educator and finally becoming a coach with certifications in parenting, recovery, and Whole30. Susan founded Parent Coach Atlanta, LLC and MomTribe, a membership-based support group for moms. She has been featured on MamaPedia, Real Housewives of Atlanta, and The AJC. Susan is also a regular guest on 11 Alive’s Atl&Co. Learn more about Susan on her website: www.susanmorley.com. Connect with Susan on Instagram.