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Share your family purpose statement

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I originally first heard the idea of a family mission statement from my friend Cherie. She was kind enough to share her thoughts on how a mission statement best works for a family — I’ve listed my favorites below.

Tips for creating an effective family purpose statement

1. Just get started. The biggest hindrance to writing a mission statement is aiming for perfection. You are better off writing an imperfect rough draft and then improving it later. Also, don’t get caught up in trying to make your vision statement look like others — they come in many forms and change over time.

2. Invest time. You will need at least two hours or more; time to be creative and uninterrupted.

3. Write it out. There is power to putting a dream down on paper. When you commit something to writing, commitment to achievement naturally follows. From my experience each year, I set goals for each of my girls of how I would like to see them grow and mature spiritually, intellectuality, and emotionally. I might not always hit the bull’s eye, but I do come within the circle and am able to measure progress. I have something to go back and look at.

4. Stay on course. You have spent a lot of time, so place your statement in a place where your family will see it every day. Go over it often.

5. Reevaluate, and change if necessary. Things might change over time as you mature or your family grows.

Our family’s mission statement remains a bit pliable, and we’re open to tweaking it throughout the years. But our core values remain the same — live simply, grow, honor relationships, and celebrate These are embodied in our mission statement. This becomes your statement that keeps you going throughout the days, months, and years, so that’s why it’s the first task in going Back to the Basics.

Our family’s purpose statement

As a family, we want to glorify God in all we say, do, and are. We will…

  • Put each other first.
  • Cultivate deep relationships with one another.
  • Extend love to those around us.
  • Live simply.
  • Be true to who God made us.
  • Take care of our health.
  • Be good stewards of creation.
  • Be lifelong learners.

Within our basic mission statement, my husband and I have created some goals for the rest of this year that reflect our pursuit of this mission. I’ve shared just a few of them below.

Our purpose statement, with a few of our goals

As a family, we want to glorify God in all we say, do, and are. We will…

• Put each other first.

  • diligently do our chores without complaining
  • help each other as we see a need
  • take each other’s emotions seriously
  • be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry

• Cultivate deep relationships with one another.

  • eat almost every breakfast and dinner together
  • go on regular dates as a couple
  • spend one-on-one time regularly, each parent with each kid
  • guard our outside commitments, and do our best to keep four nights per week unscheduled

• Extend love to those around us.

  • keep our home tidy enough to welcome spontaneous guests
  • have two families, couples, or individuals over for a meal per month
  • regularly communicate with our friends scattered worldwide
  • cultivate a heart of grace, so that we do not judge others

• Live simply.

  • remain debt-free
  • finish our emergency fund by fall ’09
  • provide enough time for each of us to pursue one hobby
  • make homemaking a priority, taking care to plan ahead for things (budgeting, meal planning, etc.)
  • generally pursue excellence as we steward our time, talents, and treasures

• Be true to who God made us.

  • regularly spend time with God through the Word and in prayer
  • pray for each other often
  • provide ample room for each other’s interests
  • encourage excellence in godly pursuits

• Take care of our health.

  • Eat food our bodies were designed to eat
  • Eat most of our meals at home
  • Move physically at least once a day
  • Spend time together actively
  • Vigorously protect the boundaries of bedtimes, for children and adults

• Be good stewards of creation.

  • Spend time outside as a family at least once a week
  • Do what we can to be good stewards of the environment
  • Take a vacation, and make sure that much of it involves the outdoors
  • Enjoy nature in everyday life with things like gardening and neighborhood walks

• Be lifelong learners.

  • Regularly read quality books
  • Learn new things together as a family
  • Take care to enjoy only quality books, movies, and other forms of entertainment
  • Understand the times in which we live, and keep abreast on what God is doing worldwide


Photo from sxc.hu

As Cherie said, there’s no wrong or right way to create your family’s mission statement. But you want it to be a useful tool, something that helps you make decisions. I feel free to say “no” to the things that aren’t part of our mission statement, even if it’s a good thing — because for our family, it’s just not the best thing, at least right now.

Alright, now it’s your turn. If you worked on your family mission statement this week, I’d love to see it — write it on your blog and link to it in the comments section here. Or, share your thoughts about what makes a good mission statement, and perhaps your family’s goals and priorities in life.

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Comments

  1. This is beautiful to read, Tsh! I think what I like most about having one is like you said – it makes it easy to know what to say “yes” or “no” to.

    Jamie

    steadymom´s last blog post…Our First Harvest

  2. I agree with steadymom (above) and I love the way a mission statement can define a family. I think it will help us have a family identity that is important for children as they grow up. Thanks for sharing your mission statement. It shows your values and priorities well.

    Stacie´s last blog post…The Distractible Mommy

  3. I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful talking with my husband and my oldest daughter this week about this has been! Thank you for giving me this motivation to finally do something I’ve wanted us to do as a family for some time now.

    We wrote out basic draft and I posted it on my blog this morning, here -> http://granoladaybook.blogspot.com/2009/07/family-mission-statement.html

    Kara´s last blog post…Family Mission Statement

  4. Hi Tsh and everyone, I’ve been working on our family mission statement and your tips 3 and 5 are helping a lot. It must get on paper and then you feel like you need to work on it and re-write several times. I’ve gone over it 5 times and it’s not finished yet.

    And thanks for the motivation, this is really an important thing to have because it will keep the whole family on the right track. Awesome post.

    Cheers,
    Emma

    Emma @ Baby-log.com´s last blog post…Toys That Last – Tiny Love double sided first book

  5. I love the idea of creating this statement NOW while we’re newly weds and having it as a foundation for the rest of our lives together! GREAT advice, thank you so much.

    Anna´s last blog post…Short and sweet– A buying guide for chunky necklaces.

  6. We haven’t sat down to write one for our own family, per se, but we have some of the same general themes as mentioned above. Another one is to work towards less dependence on broken worldly systems. The food system being one.

    Shannon´s last blog post…Food Roots – June 9: where does your food come from?

  7. I really like this idea. I first heard of a family mission statement through watching the Dugger’s on tv. I was wondering if you could have one even though you don’t have any kids yet. I see that Anna is going to make one with her husband, so why not? Thanks!

    Kristin´s last blog post…Free Organic Baby Layette Giveaway

  8. I think point number one is the most important. I just need to get us started!

    Taryn´s last blog post…Asparagus, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche

  9. We did our family mission statement over a year ago. I put it on our family blog. Someday, I’d like to have it printed and framed for our house!

    As the Peoples Family, we commit to serve and worship God. We will encourage and equip our children to impact their generation for Christ by sharing His love. Our home will be a place of safety, honesty, respect, and love for family members and friends.

    Psalm 145:4, “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”

    Sandra´s last blog post…Cow Appreciation Day

  10. In the 1980s, I remember a big push to write mission statements. I thought and prayed and wrote and pondered and scratched out and wrote and so on. I never could land on a statement that I felt was right.

    I found some inspiration from a simple statement that my friend Ruth Vaughn told me was her basic life mission, penned when she was a young girl. She wrote:

    “I want to always live smack in the middle of God’s will.”

    Ann Kroeker´s last blog post…Food on Fridays: First Harvest

  11. Something froze in that last comment. I didn’t mean to end so dramatically.

    So that’s been as close to a core statement as I’ve come. I know that there would ideally be more distinctive statements, like your bullet points. I’ve always come back to certain words that I respond to: simplicity, humility, service…

    You’ve inspired me to return to the blank sheet and see if, now that I’m in my 40s, I have enough life experience to see what would best drive the next 50 or so years of my life.

    And then we can tackle the family mission statement, which was the point of your post.

    Good stuff.

    Inspiring.

    Ann Kroeker´s last blog post…Food on Fridays: First Harvest

  12. Your 20 questions made this assignment SO easy…we’ve struggled with verbalizing our family mission statement for over 2 years and now we have one that fits us! This weekend, we’ll define each of the purposes in greater detail, but for now, the skeleton is just perfect.

    http://intentionallykatie.blogspot.com/2009/07/51-create-family-mission-statement-and.html

    Intentionally Katie´s last blog post…Understanding Why We Get Angry

  13. My DH has been on call at work this week and lots of things kept breaking, so we didn’t have much time to sit down together. I made a rough draft but we’ll keep refining it as we go along (and as his work stuff stops breaking!)

    http://sharethesong.blogspot.com/2009/07/family-mission-statement.html

    Kris´s last blog post…Progress

  14. We’re toying with…

    “Loving God and each other…for His Name’s sake.” or “…to make Him look good.”

    I want it short enough to put on one of these pretty family signs! http://www.sarahwilliamssigns.blogspot.com/

    shannon morrison´s last blog post…Giveaway

  15. We just wrote something similar earlier this year — called “family pillars.”

    Our pillars are:

    Structure brings ease
    An Open Heart
    Life is delightful
    Naturally
    Beautiful touches

    I explained each on my blog. Each one is linked from the introduction.

    I like how succinct your list is, and how you have a list of specific goals under each. I think I’ll toy around with that.

    Thanks!

    Stacy (mama-om)´s last blog post…Sibling Apology

  16. Awesome! I love this. We did write out a basic mission statement at one point but without the sub lists. I really like the sub lists! We will have to revisit this.

  17. printing this now, so I can sit down with hubby at “discuss”!

  18. This is a great idea, and I like the simplicity of your mission statement.

  19. This has been SO MUCH FUN! I love what we created.. I mean REALLY LOVE it! You can read out ours here:

    Lisa´s last blog post…our family’s mission statement

  20. My husband, kids and I were driving so we started by asking our boys what they think we should have in our mission statement. It was great to hear their thought process. What a great way to start some real conversation. Thank you again for the inspiration!

    Laura´s last blog post…Life Balance Helpful Sites

  21. You motivated me to start working on a mission statement for our family. I’ve put a basic draft on my blog
    http://adventureskids.blogspot.com/2009/07/family-mission-statement.html
    I’v enjoyed seeing other people’s ideas about this topic.

    Catherine´s last blog post…family mission statement

  22. “To explore and experience God’s wonder, love, beauty and power through comtemplative spirituality and participation in the kingdom.”

    So basically cultivate a deep relationship with God and serve/expand His kingdom. Our sub-list probably look somewhat different at different times of our lives together.

    For us, spending quality time with our children instructing, loving and appreciating them would be experiencing God’s wonder, love and beauty. Also, for us to make financial and job decisions without following the world’s view (as in striving for more money, more prestige) would be to explore his love and power through his providence.

  23. Tsh, thanks for sharing your mission statement! I think a good mission statement comes from reflection about your family’s core values: How do we define ourselves? What is most important to us?
    I recently wrote a piece about this here:
    http://www.turnitupmom.com/parenting/family-core-values
    Companies have them, schools have them- so should families!!

  24. Our mission statement sums up who we are, not our goals. But it serves as a reminder as how we want our family to live and value.

    We are…
    one faith,
    two languages,
    three cultures,
    four members strong:
    … the A.B. family.

    A.M.B.A´s last blog post…Bowling

  25. I’ve been fiddling with a Mother’s Mission Statement myself, but I keep forgetting to finish it. :( I’m sure the act of thinking it through and writing it down is helpful, even if I don’t remember where it is or read it very often! I hope this post inspires me and husband to sit down and write a family mission statement…can we just plagiarize yours? It’s a beauty!

    Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship´s last blog post…Yobaby Giveaway Winners

  26. I no longer have the internet (hey, it helps living simply…most the time) and this is the first time I have read a blog in MONTHS. I am so glad I picked this post to tune back in!

    This is perfect timing. In two days our oldest sons return to their permanent residence in another state, and we face the long stretch of year between summers where we strive to remain a connected family even though we don’t see each other for months at a time. I think this will be one of the last things we do before we leave, to help keep us on track. Love the post, as always!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post…Graduation

  27. avatar
    miltonpung says:

    My husband and I were pleased to see your step-by-step instruction on creating a family mission statement, particularly rooted in God’s will. It is a useful tool we would like to emulate — especially amid these changing times for our family. Something that may enhance your topic list, however, may be the career(s) of family members. While it is not central to the function of the family, as much of the career may take place outside of the home or online, the career may make possible other aspects of the family’s goals. Support of a career and its byproducts (financial, professional, emotional) should be a part of a family’s goals.

  28. A family mission is something that I would have to start working on now that the kids are getting older.

  29. That was absolutely delightful to read! You have just inspired me to write my own family mission statement . . .

  30. It’s almost two months later, but I finally managed to take the time and put together a family mission statement. Thanks for the inspiration.
    .-= Buffie´s last blog ..Household Notebook – Family Mission Statement =-.

  31. This is a wonderful idea. So wonderful that I barrowed it. Check out my family goals at: http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2010/09/living-purpoesfullyfamily-goals.html

  32. I haven’t developed one for my family yet, but I definitely have an affirmation as a mother which I wrote about.
    “Live my life as the woman I want my daughter to become.”
    http://simplysasha79.blogspot.com/2013/01/when-challenged.html?m=1

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