As part of our family small group last night, we created a mission statement for our family. We talked to the kids (Alex mostly, Anya is a little too young) about how we would want to be described by other people and what is important to us about who we are. It is a good exercise - in a way it is kind of like writing your own eulogy, but about what you want to accomplish and be remembered for. I've read ours a couple of times last night and this morning and thought about places that we, as a family, and I, as an individual, fall short of that mission statement. It is going to serve as a good reminder.
This is what we came up with:
The Jones Family
We are a family that loves and supports each other, has a strong faith, stands up for what is important, and does the right thing, not the easy thing.
We are honest, generous and caring.
We are good friends and good neighbors.
Like I said, I'm not sure we always live up to those ideals, but they are what we want to live up to.
At the end of the session, almost everyone read their family's mission statement to the group. There were a lot of things that people had in common and a lot of times someone would say something and I would think - that was a good one, we should have added that.
Anyway, I kind of thought about this as an extension of the Who Am I question that I was asking in these posts a little while ago. Who are we? What parts of our family are essential and non-negotiable? What do we value? What will we cling when the chips are down?
I think it is interesting that, without really thinking about it, we used the phrase "has a strong faith." Most families said something more specific like "a Christian family" or "follow the teachings of Jesus" or "read from the Bible" or something like that. I'm not sure what to really make out of the distinction, if there even is a distinction, I just find it interesting.
Anyway, I'm kind of rambling this morning and thinking about other things going on today. Based on our experience, I recommend the exercise of coming up with a family mission statement, or at least thinking about it and discussing it with others. I think that we will refer back to ours often and I look forward to coming up with ways to incorporate it into our lives.