Family Mission Statements and Nightly Meetings

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019

What Is a Family Mission Statement?

“A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.” -Stephen Covey


Having a family mission statement creates a positive family culture and helps family members feel connected and valuable.   Also, it helped us stay focussed on the stuff that is really important and not hung up on little rules that were broken or shortcomings during the day so that children’s self image improves.   


When we did this, we found out that helping other people was of utmost importance to our kids.   We had done some volunteer work seasonally (working at a food bank before Thanksgiving) and adopted families at Christmas, etc.   but when we heard how important this was to our kids, we started doing regular volunteer work in a soup kitchen, and this was a great experience for all of us.   


Step 1.   Call a family meeting.    Make sure that everyone is heard equally.   Consider having a talking stick or ball or something for members to hold when they “have the floor” and it’s their turn to talk.   Don’t judge any suggestions.   Write everything down on a white board or easel pad.   


Step 2.   Ask Questions.   In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, Steven Covey has some great questions to ask, such as What kind of family do we want to be?

  • What kinds of things do we want to do?
  • What kind of feeling do we want to have in our home?
  • What kind of home would you like to invite your friends to?
  • What embarrasses you about our family?
  • What makes you want to come home?
  • What do we want to be remembered by?
  • What kind of relationships do we want to have with one another?
  • How do we want to treat one another and speak to one another?
  • What things are truly important to us as a family?



Step 3: Make a List of Your Family’s Core Values

Brainstorm.  Write down everything.  You will narrow it down later.   


Step 4:   Decide on 10 or fewer  big ideas.   Give everyone a set number of votes until it’s narrowed down


Step 5: Think of Phrases that Capture What Your Family Is All About

Some examples 

Keep moving forward

May your first word be adventure and your last word love

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose

There is no try.  Only do.  

It’s okay to borrow from your favorite movies


Step 6: Write Out Your Family Mission Statement

Turn it into a banner or vinyl letters.  Hang it prominently in the house  It may take a couple of meetings.    Sometimes ideas will come after an initial meeting, so the follow up is more productive


Step 7: Refer to Your Mission Statement Daily & Use It

Review at dinner time each night.   family members say how they did on each item of the vision statement  -    for example, being kind and helpful was part of our mission statement, and so my son might say, John broke his leg and is using crutches so I carried his books to class for him.   This is so important because kids with ADHD get so many negative messages each day, it is easy for them to see themselves as bad kids.    Our nightly review helped him see that he was a good person and that he contributed positively to the world, and helped me, as a mom, remember what a great kid he was, in spite of the homework battle we had and the horrific state of his bedroom.   

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