Entries in mission statements (4)


On Writing Posts & Mission Statements

I have been rather absent from our family blog and have been considering leaving it as is right now and not posting anymore on it. We'll see if I change my mind. I did want to mention that I put up a post on my Evangitality about writing up a personal mission statement. It is according to this post on family mission statements that I wrote about. I think it is helpful for knowing who you are and where you are headed. I promise to follow through and go through the other two questions in the book. Go check it out!


Something like a Mission Statement

I know I wrote about doing a mission statement back in January for our family. Ben and I have continuously worked on it, but never really felt a sense of accomplishment through the process. It seemed like it took more & more time without ever writing a family mission statement to date. And if you're family looks anything like our family (which my guess would be the majority of families around), then my guess is you don't have much time to devote to many sessions of answering questions, brainstorming & compiling a mission statement, which seems like you couldn't ever achieve.

So what do you do? Well, we both read this fantastic book (for me as the not so active reader--I read it in a 24 hour period) entitled, The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni. The book is written in story format, making it easier to read, digest & follow. Then, Lencioni concludes with spelling out the Big 3 Questions even further for application.

Things I liked about this approach versus Covey's 7 Habits or other "mission statement" idea are:

  1. It was straightforward.
  2. It was separating objective versus subjective, realistic goals vs. idealistic goals, tangible time lines vs. ambiguous time lines.
  3. It doesn't take FOREVER to brainstorm or apply it.
  4. There is only one major goal or "rally cry" you as a family work on at a time.
  5. There is a set time (2-6 months) to see your specific rally cry achieved.
  6. You meet as a family (or parents or yourself) 10 minutes once a week to discuss how the rally cry is coming along.
  7. The mission statement isn't suppose to be eloquent or fancy. It is written in your words that describe the uniqueness of YOUR family (not mine or anyone else).
Ben & I worked on Question #1 yesterday, which is "What makes your family unique?"
I like this question, because it doesn't ask you what you want your family to look like (that's not a bad thing); rather, who is your actual family. You actually embrace who you are. In order to know how to answer this question, sit down and brainstorm some ideas.

1. Core Values: These are those traits that you can't hide or run away from. They're inherent in who you are as a person. And most likely, these are the values that attracted you to your spouse. Brainstorm a list together of a couple values. These shouldn't be aspirations or ways you wish you were, over spiritual notions...it's simply you. As you can see from our list below, it's not that we aren't loyal or stand up for what we believe, it's just not as high on value list as the final three. Pick two or three of your brainstorming values.

For example, here was our brainstorming values:

  • sense of humor
  • loyalty
  • serving others
  • hospitality: making others feel welcomed & worthy
  • Generosity
  • standing up for what we believe is right
We narrowed it down to:
  • Sense of Humor
  • Hospitality
  • Generosity

2. Strategy: This is another way to differentiate what makes your family unique. What the strategy looks like is two or three purposeful decisions your family makes to carry out it's week by week, month to month lives. You will want to brainstorm all the things, which are true about your family. This list can be big as you make it. Once you've made your list, identify any themes throughout and jot the theme down.

Here is a sampling of our list:

  • Two young girls
  • family of four
  • mom stays home, dad works out of the house
  • mom likes to bake and blog
  • mom and dad work out at the same gym
  • like spending time with our family
  • like funny tv shows and movies
  • like good food
  • children love strawberry shortcake
  • mom enjoys music
  • involved at church
  • dad likes watching sports
  • dad likes reading
  • mom likes cookbooks
  • females enjoy farmer's market
  • enjoy being outside, not rugged
  • we enjoy vacations
  • we value harmony in our relationships
  • enjoy laughter
  • veronica doesn't like chicken mascots or train noises or ronald mcdonald
(Aside from some of the above that were added for comic relief) here are the themes we found:
  • eating good food
  • spending time with one another,
  • finding time away without our children

From there....we took our three Core Values & three Strategic themes to answer Question #1 (written in our words): What makes your family unique?

We are a family who enjoys spending time with one another and makes laughter a focal point of our time together. Eating good food, experiencing new food and cooking are important to us. We actively practice generosity and hospitality in response to the abundant generosity and hospitality God has extended to us in our lives.

Questions 2 & 3 to come...


Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Now that you have mastered Habit 1: Being Proactive. You can begin with the end in mind as the second habit. Quick recap in Habit 1 though.
1. Act upon feelings and emotions, rather than reacting.
2. Create your own pause button, in order to stop & think about the stimulus. Then, respond with actions and not reactions.
3. Utilize the Four Human Gifts: self-awareness, conscience, imagination, & will-power.
4. Live within the Circle of Influence, rather than the Circle of Concern.
5. Use Five Ways of Love: Being Kind, Apologize, Being Loyal to those Not Present, Making & Keeping Promises, and Forgive
6. Fill up Emotional Piggy Banks.

As you remember in Habit 1, there is the basic principle that, "I am responsible for my actions." If I believe this and act out the principles in Habit 1, then I need to know how to work it all out. This happens through instituting Habit 2 in our daily lives, which is 'Begin with the End in Mind.' It is knowing where you want to be headed in your family. The easiest way of doing this is creating a Family Mission Statement.

Through creating a Family Mission Statement, you're enabling yourself freedom in other areas, which do not pertain to the end goal. Perfect example of this is in a bit of harried moment I had last week with Veronica. One of the ways I can deposit into her emotional piggy bank is via "words of affirmation." As she was clearing her dishes after dinner to take them to the sink, she lost focus and the bowl of rice and beans were now resting directly on her dress. I overreacted with my tone of voice and lacked care & love for her. Instead of viewing the situation as "typical three year old innocence," I allowed my emotions and frustration of the mess get the better of me. I let the "end goal" slip through, which is letting the beans & rice on the dress be nothing more than a mess to clean up and let Veronica know that messes happen, but it doesn't reflect what I think about her. I came back and apologized for overreacting and my hurting tone. By coming back to say sorry and ask forgiveness, I was able to refocus and see the end again.

By beginning with the end in mind, doesn't mean you go off course (as seen above); rather, it means that you have a destination. You are tapping into the vision you have for yourself & your family, regardless of past or present baggage. Can you imagine going through life without that vision? What a crummy, hopeless place to live. So, here are some questions you might ask yourself, your spouse, or your family as a whole.

What is the essential mission or purpose of this family, and what is the main strategy in accomplishing that purpose?

Here are some other questions to start thinking about your family's mission statement:
  1. What kind of family do we really want to be?
  2. What kind of home would you like to invite your friends to?
  3. What embarrasses you about your family?
  4. What makes you feel comfortable here?
  5. What makes you want to come home?
  6. What makes you feel drawn to us as your parents so that you are open to our influence?
  7. What makes us feel open to your influence?
  8. What do we want to be remembered by?
As you create your family mission statement, you can post it in a prominent place to serve not only as a reminder, but as a reflective piece to ensure you are headed toward your the right destination. The mission statement is your destination, while utilizing the Four Human Gifts are the compass to help you get there.

In Creating Your Own Family Mission Statement

Step One: Explore What Your Family Is All About
  • If your family is the two of you, here are some questions (some of these questions also work well when your children are in the younger years, as well.):
  1. What kind of marriage partners do we want to be?
  2. How do we want to treat each other?
  3. How do we want to resolve our differences?
  4. How do we want to handle our finances?
  5. What kind of parents do we want to be?
  6. What principles do we want to teach our children to help them prepare for adulthood and to lead responsible, caring lives?
  7. How do we help develop the potential talent of each child?
  8. What kind of discipline do we want to use with our children?
  9. What roles (earning, financial management, housekeeping, and so on) will each of us have?
  10. How can we best relate to each other's families?
  11. What traditions do we bring with us from the families in which we were raised?
  12. What traditions do we want to keep and create?
  13. What intergenerational traits or tendencies are we happy or unhappy with, and how do we make changes?
  14. How do we want to give back?
  • If the two (or just one) of you are older and your children are grown:
  1. What can we do to promote the growth & happiness of our children and grandchildren?
  2. What needs do they have that we can help fulfill?
  3. What principles should govern our interaction with them?
  4. In what ways can we appropriately be involved in their lives and their families?
  5. How can we encourage them to deal with their challenges and problems within the context of that statement?
  6. How can we help them want to give back?
  • If your family is three or more (these questions vary depending on the age of your children):
  1. What is the purpose of our family?
  2. What kind of family do we want to be?
  3. What kinds of things do we want to do?
  4. What kind of feeling do we want to have in our home?
  5. What kind of relationships do we want to have with one another?
  6. How do we want to treat one another and speak to one another?
  7. What things are truly important to us as a family?
  8. What are our family's highest priority goals?
  9. What are the unique talents, gifts, and abilities of family members?
  10. What are our responsibilities as family members?
  11. What are the principles and guidelines we want our family to follow?
  12. Who are our heroes? What is it about them that we like and would like to emulate?
  13. What families inspire us and why do we admire them?
  14. How can we contribute to society as a family and become more service-oriented?

Step Two: Write Your Family Mission Statement

As you get all the ideas out on the table, you will want to start refining the major themes and weave them into a phrase, statement(s), or even words that encapsulate your unique family. This is done after everyone shares their thoughts to the above questions, and you make a couple drafts of what will end up as the final Family Mission Statement.

Step Three: Use It to Stay on Track

I like what Covey says about using the mission statement to stay on track, or course, but not as a checklist. It's a living & breathing document to serve as a foundation on which you build as a family.

**All of the questions were taken from the book 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families. If you want more examples of family mission statements, go to: www.franklincovey.com


Job Description & Resolutions

At night, right before my head hits the pillow, my mind starts to race. Does this happen to you? You begin to think of all the things you didn't get done during the day, the things you need to accomplish tomorrow and the constant tally of home & personal projects without a check by their name. That was me last night, while Ben snored on. There are two parts about this which become quite annoying. One is I love making lists...making me wonder if there really are that many items to get done or is it my list making obsession? And two, if it's not completely my obsession, then where does one draw the line?

Well, as I sat in bed I began thinking about the whole New Year's Resolution thing and wondered if I should give it a try. I've actually never made any New Year's Resolutions, because I tend to think they're hogwash. Here is what I wrote last night as I was pondering the subject:

Honestly, I find resolutions a bit overdone & the follow through is lacking, which makes me typically avoid making resolutions. Maybe if I make resolutions in specific areas of my life I could find the abstract date the concrete. It's like what Ben has said (he heard it from someone else and so on), "We don't say what I 'might' do such & such, but I 'will,' because there is only 'will' in accomplishing goals."

It's so true. It's easier to say I might or I would like to do _______, but that leaves it ambiguous and a bit hopeless. And I guess that's what I don't like about New Year's Resolutions, because I don't want to commit to something and be like the rest of society saying I will resolve myself to ______, but lack follow through. However, I am all about goals and dreaming big (hence the endless lists and the visionary dreamer). But all of that goes to waste if there isn't follow through. And although I'm an ENFJ with the J being more structured and organized than the P's; I'm not a strong J. I like the spontaneity and option for change, which makes this whole job of homemaker a bit perplexing at times.

So the resolution...well, as I was flipping through my notebook, which I've had since I found out I was pregnant with Cadence, I came across a page titled, 'Kamille's Job Description 8am-5pm.' Well if that doesn't make your body shiver for those P's and teetering J's. It doesn't have a date posted, but I'm assuming it was pre-Cadence since it only talks about Veronica. Ben, the logistical one, helped me put it together. Logistics are not my strength, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, but definitely one of Ben's. He is incredible at finding solutions to problems and creating systems to fix it. On the other hand, I'm gifted at inspiring change & coming up with ideas on how to change; but, implementing it is a bit tricky (I think this is one of our marital strengths).

When I worked at Hillcrest Kids in the managerial arena, I brought these gifts to the table, which I believe helped the company thrive in new ways. Another area I tried to create as best as possible for my school age staff was giving them clear expectations, in order for them to reach their potential. I know if I don't have clear expectations in a workplace (whether it be in a paid or stay at home mother position), than reaching my potential is stifled. And for those of you stay at home mom's, wouldn't you agree that is the case with your children? When they know what is expected of them and comprehend the consequences when the expectations are not met...they thrive!

So as I reflected upon what I did at H.K. for myself, my staff & the children, I knew I needed the same thing in my new job role as homemaker & mother. The dilemma was not having a time clock, being more emotionally invested, & the feeling of 'my job is never done.' Plus, I didn't have clear expectations written out. This is what led to the creation of 'Kamille's Job Description.' And here is what we came up with:

Kamille's Job Description 8am-5pm
Roles: homemaker, mother, volunteer

  1. Mother Duties
  • diapering & potty training
  • feeding/cooking & clean-up & teaching good eating habits
  • clothing
  • conversing with her
  • playing & interacting
  • creating social interactions
  • teacher her manners & chores/working/helping
  • buying/shopping for her needs
  • laundry
  • education for self on child development, discipline & mothering
  • Physical Development: provide large motor & fine motor opportunities
  • Emotional Development: empathy when hurt, how to deal/express emotions in a healthy way=validation
  • Mental Development: playing, reading, introducing new challenges/toys
  • Spiritual Development: praying before meals, praying with her and for her, teaching right & wrong, telling her about Jesus, singing songs
  • Discipline
***Pray--Smile--Be encouraging
  1. Homemaker Duties
  • dinner; prep, make, devise menu
  • grocery shopping; make list, know pantry, stay in budget
  • laundry; wash, dry, fold, put away
  • dishes; load & unload
  • bathroom; sweep, mop, sinks, toilet, tub
  • sweep & mop common areas
  • vacuum
  • organize closets & pantries
  • reduce clutter by putting items in appropriate spot & donating items
  • keeping stock of dry/canned food, frozen & fresh
  • clean up common areas
  • dust
  • wash diapers
  • keep our household calendar up to date (this can include our blog too)
  • keep a working budget

Now these were what we wrote down over a year ago, so this needs some fine tuning; but, I think it's a good start and I'm going to revisit this area of life. And I guess I would say that this is part of my Resolution. There I said it...I will type out my expectation list and when I lose track I won't get discouraged, but get back on course.

For me and our household, we are working on our family mission statement, in order to know where we are headed. And one of my resolutions is to read the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. If anyone else would like to join me in this read, feel free. I will blog on the chapters.

The other thing I will be partaking in for the month of January is 'Eat from the Pantry Challenge.' It's described in the link provided, but for our family it will look a bit different than what is stated on Money Saving Mom's blog. We will use what's in our pantry and I will set an amount of money I am willing to spend for the month. Stay tuned as I chart our progress. Well, Cadence is crying for me and Veronica has managed to get into some more monkey business. Signing off for 2009.