Creating a Family Mission Statement

How to Create a Family Mission Statement

Raising kids and being a part of a family is rewarding, but it is not easy. While many people have a plan when it comes to their job, retirement, or education; most families do not have an intentional way to lead their family. A great place to start being more intentional is to create a family mission statement that list what your family values. Below are some steps to help guide you in this process.

Step 1 - Schedule a Family Meeting

While some parents will try and create a statement on their own, we would encourage everyone in the family to have a voice in determining what your family is going to be centered around. If you kids are not old enough to contribute, you should still try an include them in the process. This does not need to be a boring process - order pizza, make some brownies and have fun!

Step 2 - Have a Discussion

This is the most important part of the process. This is where the entire family gets to answer questions that will help you see what your family currently values and create some aspirational values as well. Below are some possible questions to use in your discuss:

Questions for Couples
  • What sort of relationship do we want to have as a couple?
  • How do we want to resolve our differences?
  • What kind of parents do we want to be?
  • What roles will each of us perform?
  • Which traditions from our own families do we want to carry over?
  • What principles do we want to teach our children?
  • What qualities do we want to ingrain in them?
  • What sort of people do we want our kids to be in 5, 10, 20 years?

Questions for Kids
  • What kind of feeling do we want to have in our home?
  • What kind of home would you like to invite your friends to?
  • What do we want to be remembered by?
  • What kind of relationships do we want to have with one another?
  • What things are truly important to us as a family?
  • What are our responsibilities as family members?
  • Who are our heroes? What it is about them that we like and would like to emulate?

Step 3 - Capture Key Themes and Ideas

As your family talks through the questions above make notes of reoccurring themes and ideas. You can do this on digitally, on a poster, dry erase board, or on a napkin. Some of the values can be aspirational but don't make them to far fetched to make the description of your family different from reality.

Examples of Core Family Values
  • Honesty
  • Generosity
  • Compassion
  • Health
  • Humour
  • Learning
  • Gratitude
  • Creativity
  • Discipline
  • Faith
  • Friends
  • Fun
  • Hard work
  • Integrity
  • Community service

Step 4 - Agree on Your Core Family Values

This is a good place for a break if your family needs it, but if your family still focused feel free to move forward.

With a complete list of family values listed for everyone to see, have each family member pick their top two or three values. Let everyone share their votes and see if there is a common theme. Once you narrow down your list begin ranking the values in order of importance. Ask the question, "If we had to choose just one of these, which one would it be?"

Reducing the size of the list forces you to ask the question – is this really a ‘core’ value? And ranking them helps you understand which of your core values are MOST important.

Step 5: Create a Mission Statement

According to Stephen Covey, "“A mission statement doesn’t have to be some big, formal document. It can even be a word or a phrase, or something creative and entirely different such as an image or a symbol” Don't stress out, or overthink this process, create a simple statement that includes your values and is easily remembered. See some sample statements below:

  • We exist primarily to fulfill Jesus' words by living out 'your kingdom come, your will be done, in our city, as it is in heaven' in our neighborhood, relationships, vocation, and all that we do.

  • The mission of our family is to create a nurturing place of faith, order, truth, love, happiness and relaxation, and to provide opportunity for each individual to become responsibly independent, and effectively interdependent, in order to serve worthy purposes in society.
  • Our family mission:
    To love each other…
    To help each other…
    To believe in each other…
    To wisely use our time, talents, and resources to bless others…
    To worship together…

Step 6 - Test Drive Your Family Mission Statement

If you’ve made it this far, then you’ve already done all the hard work. But if you never refer to your Family Mission Statement again, it won’t have the desired effect. So, make sure you put it somewhere you will see it.

Some families like to design a printed version of their Mission Statement and display it on the wall. And some get very creative.
But if the poster on the wall feels a bit corny for you, at least make sure it’s saved and easily accessible so you can refer to it regularly (e.g. ours is saved to a Google Doc with a link from my desktop).

Now, start using your Family Mission Statement. Take it for a test drive and see if it works.
If you’ve got it right, your Family Mission Statement should be helping you to make day-to-day decisions, both small and large.

For example:
  • Which school should we send the kids to? (which school best matches our family values?)
  • Where should we go on our next family vacation? (what’s most in line with our family mission statement?)

The Family Mission statement can also help with family rules. Nobody likes rules, so the fewer rules you need to enforce the better.

Your Mission Statement can help you decide which rules are worth enforcing. And it can help your kids understand ‘why’ these rules are important to your family. 

Step 7 - Review and Refine as Necessary

Families evolve, kids get older and circumstances change. So over time, your Family Mission Statement may need to evolve as well.

In any case, it’s good to come back and review it on a semi-regular basis.
Does it still resonate? Does it need a bit of a tweak? Maybe the kids are a bit older now and want to contribute?

To make sure this happens, you could create an annual event and make it a new family tradition. Or you could habit stack, by attaching it to an existing event, so you don’t forget to do it.

e.g. ‘Change your clocks, change your smoke detector batteries, review your Family Mission Statement’ 🙂
“Good families – even great families – are off track 90 per cent of the time! The key is that they have a sense of destination. They know what the “track” looks like. And they keep coming back to it time and time again.” - Stephen Covey
The information for this article was taken from The Dad Train