You can harness the power of words to shape your family’s destiny! Craft a family standard.
I recently shared my family’s mission statement, which is a brief recitation of our basic values and vision for how our family lives. The following “standard” is a more detailed elaboration of those values.
Our inspiration for crafting our family standard came from the book Parenting: A House United by Nicholeen Peck (website). The Pecks’ family standard is online here. The Pecks’ standard largely functions to introduce their foster children to the family’s household rules. Our standard is conceived more as a catechism for teaching my children the kind of people I expect them to become. And for reminding me of who I aspire to be. It’s essentially a collection of affirmations.
Our standard has a couple of unusual features. First, I’ve divided it topically into nine topics or “canons.” Second, I’ve prefaced it with an adapted version of Jesus’s own mission statement for his ministry, found in Luke 4:18-9 (quoting Isaiah 61:1-3).
I hope this post inspires you to develop a standard for yourself or your family! Create it together!
HUGHES FAMILY STANDARD
CANON 1 – Joining God’s Mission
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon us because he has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and vision for the blind, to announce the goodness of God and the defeat of his enemies.
We are a family that worships the God of Abraham and Jesus the Messiah in the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer, we move mountains. We draw wisdom from the Bible and from other great books. We are carriers of light who do battle with darkness and evil.
CANON 2 – Social Justice
We believe in the dignity and equality of all people. We hate prejudice and oppression based on gender, skin color, nationality, language, and disability. We see the value in other people regardless of how they look, what they’ve done, and how they treat us. We see others through God’s compassionate eyes. We believe in repentance, forgiveness, and second chances.
We treat others the way we want to be treated.
We are liberators. The Lord has equipped this family to free people from the bondage of bad ideas, bad institutions, despair, addiction, and bad habits. Love, wisdom, and prayer are our weapons.
CANON 3 – Wisdom
We treasure wisdom. We speak and act thoughtfully. We dig for the truth and change our opinions when necessary. We strive to master our emotions and live lives of peace, self-discipline, and moderation. We keep our cool, and thus become master of every situation.
We imitate Christ.
We learn to communicate well so we can pass on wisdom to others.
CANON 4 – Beauty
We treasure beauty. We appreciate and create music and art.
We treasure our true friends and nurture them as a lifelong investment.
We treasure God’s creation. We do not litter and we recycle when we can. We are not wasteful. We are kind to animals.
CANON 5 – The Tongue
Hugheses speak the truth. We are polite. We build each other up with our words. We do not whine. We do not pout or sulk. We never say we are bored because there are innumerable good things to do. We never say “I can’t” because all things are possible with God. We do not tease or bully or gossip. We are not sarcastic. We do not use offensive language.
CANON 6 – Wealth
We are generous, not selfish. We give to the needy who are close by and who are far away. We understand money is a tool. We use it for our daily needs, to help others, and to buy things that bring us lasting joy.
We are privileged, and with that privilege comes responsibility.
CANON 7 – Our Bodies
We enjoy our bodies. We take care of them by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of rest, and frolicking together outdoors. We eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Only rarely do we eat processed foods and sweets. We take medicine only when necessary. We want to be strong and live a long life so we can bless as many people as possible. We dress modestly around other people, understanding that clothing is a form of communication.
CANON 8 – Technology
We understand that technology is a tool for our mission. Life is short, and we rarely waste our time with television, video games, books, and movies that lack beauty and truth.
CANON 9 – Family Unity
We Hugheses will be loyal to each other and remain true friends, forgiving each other, through the good times and the bad.
We have a vision for who we want to be in twenty years, and we pray that reciting, memorizing, and meditating on these value-canons will help us get there!
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!