Don’t worry, I am not about to hang a “Live Laugh Love” sign in my house. It is not always 5 o’clock somewhere nor do I necessarily love people “hard.” (I am hashtag blessed though.) But when a friend showed me an article about creating a mission statement for your family it melted my mallow. Read article here and please cue the theme song for Sound of Music.
I believe in mission statements. I’ve seen them work. People naturally expect one from/for their companies and every organization has one. I’m really not sure why someone didn’t think of this sooner.
Let’s consider, Two Truths and A Lie:
- Family is a great gift.
- Family is full of dynamics.
- Family shouldn’t have problems because everyone loves each other.
If you think 3 is a Truth, then you might be an Enneagram 9. Where conflict makes you run for the hills or bury your head in the sand. Sadly, no matter your strengths of denial it falls short in efficacy.
I’m very familiar with the practice. But just because people love each other does not mean they will not have troubles. And just because people have troubles, I am learning, does not always mean it’s dooms day either.
Some problems are obviously very serious, but even then, the problem does not in actuality have the power to overcome you- though it may tell you it does. Worse, you may believe it for a while.
From my experience as a Highlands Ability consultant– people reason, problem solve, and communicate differently. Much of this is not personal- it’s business. It’s the business end of how each person lives in the world according to the purposes for which they were designed.
What I’ve seen is that in most pairings/groupings-whether peep or smore- people are different from one another for a purpose. One person is most comfortable in the abstract world of emotions and relationships, another person needs things to happen in a concrete, tangible, tactile world. One person can analyze a problem from every angle (it me!) and the other can cut through detail and arrive at a solution quickly (thankfully, my husband). Communication and understanding, growth and maturity will help chip away at some of the struggle those qualities can stir up. For instance, now that I know my husband is wired to “cut through layers of detail” I am less convinced that he is not listening. He hears it, just cuts through it. So rather than be annoyed I can be grateful to have access to what I need in that process. Well, most of the time anyway.
If there is not clear communication and leadership within a group, each person may prescribe a different set of rules, understandings, beliefs, motivations, and of course expectations on the members of the group. They’ll fill in the blanks with their own observations. This will happen naturally, we have to process our environments. But how nice would it be if in those moments of struggle your group, your family, could refer to a statement to bring everyone’s different perspective and feelings back to a place where you can at least agree on one thing? It can’t be all Kumbaya all the time, but most of us can appreciate some structure, simplicity, and wisdom. We can’t forget about the good too- even though that negativity bias is tricky sometimes. When things are good, it could offer a rubric to reflect on why and how it relates back to your joint mission, or maybe how that the mission needs to evolve. It could create a shared experience for the good times and the bad. A rope to the anchor both for when you’re being tossed in the sea or just taking it all in and appreciating the view.
According to every inspirational character I follow, our hopes and goals have a far greater chance for success if they are written down, reflected on, and communicated to others. Having a statement printed out could offer consistent reflection and accountability- for both children and parents.
Hopefully, having a mission statement could help us maximize our ability to pour into our children while they are ours to really pour into — in the stage where they live in your home and you get to pick what’s hung on the walls.
(So many things I would love to hang on the walls….)
So I took a stab at the mission statement and —shocker, my first draft was quite lengthy. It’s not perfect, and I still need some helping editing it down. Here’s where I started:
We believe Love is a Verb. We will love God, ourselves, our family and friends. We are here for each other. We value connection over being right. We will keep conversation open even when we disagree. We believe in personal responsibility. We value taking care of our health- both mental and physical. We will be generous with our time and resources. We believe in healthy boundaries. We value peace. We will aim to balance rest and activity, priorities, principles, and flexibility. We will practice gratitude. We will respect each others space and things. Everyone will contribute. We will forgive others and ourselves. We value honesty and integrity over perfection. We will compete with ourselves to be the best we can be- not to put others down. We are okay with mistakes – a bad decision does not mean you are bad.We wont cry or manipulate to get what we want. (Are you listening children? Oh shoot probs need to say we won’t be passive aggressive)We will serve from a place of love, abundance, gratitude- each other and our communities. We will also ask for help when we need it ourselves. We will play, have fun, be silly, and have a good sense of humor! We will remember tomorrow, and do our best today.
So, yes, it’s entirely too long. Some may say pedantic even. Which would be rude for the record.
I sent it to Johnny for edits. Then read it to Noli whose response was “That’s good but it’s really long. Can we get ice cream?”
Then, through wise counsel I was advised the statement should be one sentence.
Astounding. Never have I ever.
So here is where I am this week in a process I hope will grow and evolve over time:
I think you call it a run-on sentence? I could use an editor. So consider yourself hired if you read this and see an obvious edit. Do it for the children, s’il vous plait!
Of course this won’t be perfect either, but perfection is never the goal of a s’more. Must. Try. To. Remember. My. Own. Made-Up. Rules. Maybe my statement will never be finished, instead always open to tweaks.
The goal is to stay in the flow, the fire, and strive for authenticity even as life’s scaries get thrown at you in your most tender spots- like your children and family. It is the central focus of Peeps & Smores philosophy. But just think if every family had one? I think the idea has legs.