I want my children to know who they are, why they’re here, and what’s expected of them. A great way to accomplish this is by crafting a family mission statement. My family’s mission statement is at the bottom of this post.
My wife and I have devoured many a parenting book, but one that impressed us so much we put its teachings into practice is Parenting: A House United by Nicholeen Peck (website). The Pecks are a Mormon family with several children who also take in foster children. They were featured on the BBC program “The World’s Strictest Parents.” To help new foster kids integrate into their family, the Pecks teach them the family mission statement and family standard. (Our family standard is the topic of a future post).
Like mission statements for business and churches, family mission statements can help keep a family on track and maintain the right kind of atmosphere. They are good for discipline, because when your kids start to go astray, you can remind them of their identity and mission. A good mission statement will also help everyone speak into existence the reality they want to live in and they type of character they ought to develop.Here’s a somewhat ambitious article about crafting a family mission statement from The Art of Manliness. And here’s an article from Nicholeen Peck’s website.
Ideally, the whole family writes the mission statement together. But because our kids are so young, Lydia and I decided to write the mission statement ourselves. Lydia had the idea, which I fully endorsed, of basing the statement on the following passage from First Corinthians 13:
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Lydia sorted these qualities of love into three groups, and these love-statements form the second half of our mission statement.
So here it is! These are the words my family repeats every morning and at every family meeting. May they shape our futures in God’s Spirit!
The Hughes family loves God, each other, and the world God created.
We live lives of wisdom and self-mastery.
We bring our joys and struggles to the Lord.
Our love is humble enough to be respectful and forgiving.
Our love is kind enough to be patient and generous.
Our love trusts enough to see the good, speak truth, and have hope no matter what.
If you’re interested in learning more about love, wisdom, and self-mastery in the Spirit, check out my book (link)!
UPDATE: This post sparked an interesting conversation on Facebook with an old friend who’s a parent and non-theist. Gettting some push-back gave me an opportunity to better describe the functionality of our mission statement:
I appreciate J.D. giving me an opportunity to clarify!
Bren Hughes (M.A., M.Div., J.D.), is a lawyer and former minister who blogs at BrenHughes.com and recently authored Heaven’s Muscle: Unleashing the Power of the Spirit Within You. If this post was meaningful, share it!