Oftentimes, mission statements and core values are associated with corporations or organizations but they can be of great benefit for us personally, especially when it comes to our family legacy. So, where do we start? With all the information out there to help us in our personal growth, our marriages and our families, how do we sort it all out and put together a plan to grow and achieve our goals? In first part of this process, we address what steps to take as you embark on discovering mission and values for your family.
When our kids were young, my wife and I were challenged by our church to sit down as a family and develop a “Legacy Covenant.” What this entails is working together to write a family mission statement along with values we want our kids to remember forever. It was a challenging task, but one I am grateful we were inspired to work on together.
Discovering our family mission and values has allowed us to write subsequent goals from year to year. This has helped my wife and I stay focused on our priorities and has helped us make decisions with how we schedule our time, communicate with our kids and even how we spend our money. Though our family is far from perfect, the goals we set each year help ensure our family is staying focused on the mission God has given us and the values we want our kids to remember as they grow into adulthood.
It’s very Biblical to plan and set goals. The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “…a noble person plans noble things; he stands up for noble causes” (Isaiah 32:8).
Taking the time to discover and plan out your family mission, values and goals helps you define God’s identity and purpose for your family. It allows you to prioritize and make future decisions that you are in control of and guides you in carrying out your role as the primary faith trainer of your kids.
So where do we start? Before setting specific goals for your family, you need to discover WHAT God has purposed your family for and WHAT your values are. Here are five tips to discovering mission and values:
- Calendar the Time. Set aside time to dream and if possible, discuss with your spouse. What’s important gets calendared. Pick a day in the next week to set aside one to two hours to begin the conversation about your family mission and values. Because work allows me to take Fridays off, my wife and I were able to drop the kids off at school and go to breakfast at our favorite restaurant to connect and discuss. Yes, I even brought a notebook in with some questions to guide us! The important part is to schedule it. Pick a time and environment that works for you. This should be fun! Not only will you be discovering your mission and values, but you’ll be connecting with your spouse on a different level.
- Start with Prayer. My wife and I continually asked God for guidance in this process. We also prayed during follow up conversations. We asked for the Lord’s wisdom, guidance and direction. Now, before you dismiss this step and move on to the next one, please hear me on this: There is a theologically and spiritually significant reason why prayer is important for your family. God knows the inner desires of each person in your family and has purposely put you together for a great purpose. Without asking for His wisdom, guidance and direction, we are missing out on His immeasurable counsel and blessing. God knows what’s best for your family, so ask Him! We have a good Father in Heaven who loves to give good gifts to His children. He will help your family goals be established if you commit them to Him (Proverbs 16:3). You can pray something simple like this, “Father, we want our family to glorify You in all we do. We invite You into our conversations and planning. Show us what mission, values and goals we should pursue. God, You know our family best because You made us all and put us together. What do You want us to accomplish with our lives?” Never underestimate the power of prayer in this whole process.
- Begin to Dream. Before writing down specific goals, begin with the big picture and have an end goal in mind. I mentioned I brought a notebook in with me to the restaurant with my wife when we began discussing. Don’t edit anything in this step. And take your time. You’re looking to discuss and dream together. Listen to one another and take notes. The next few steps will help you sort out the most important to you. Again, beginning with the big picture and end goal in mind helps you know where God wants your family to go and allows you to set specific goals from year to year (something we’ll discuss in part 2 of the series: 5 Tips to Pursuing Family Goals). Some of the questions we sought to answer then were:
- Why do you think God brought us together? What purpose do you think God has for us?
- Where do we see our kids and ourselves in 30 years?
- How will we know we were “successful”?
- What values were instilled in you (or not instilled) that you want for our family?
- Whose family (or families) do we admire and want to emulate in some way?
- Write them Down. Now is the time to start putting your mission and values to pen and paper. I’m a big believer in writing these down. When plans and goals are written down, they are clearer, can be easily referred back to and demonstrate that they are important and prayed through. In this step, you’re taking the dreams that you discussed, in step three, and beginning to formulate your mission and a list of values you want to focus on. As an example, here is our mission statement and a list of the ten most important values or what our church calls “Remember Forevers” that we want our family to prioritize.
Mission Statement: The Landi family was established by God to love, serve and glorify Him with all of our hearts and to inspire others to do the same.
Remember Forevers: We want our family to always remember…
- The most important thing you can do in life is love God and others.
- The most important thing you can do today is be like Jesus.
- You are a child of the King and have a purpose.
- Your family will always be there for you.
- You are always loved.
- You are never alone.
- To overcome your fears.
- To give your best in all situations.
- To leave things better than you found them.
- To be a gracious competitor and never quit.
- Keep it Memorable. The above list is a great example of throwing great stuff on a “canvas,” but if you’re like me, long lists can be tough to remember. I prefer to keep things simple and memorable. For our family core values, my wife and I landed on an acronym using our last name: L.A.N.D.I. This stands for:
- Love God and Others.
- Always Speak the Truth.
- Never Quit.
- Dream Wildly.
- Inspire Others.
We felt this was an easy way to encompass our family mission statement and Remember Forevers. Using our last name has made it very easy for our kids to memorize. We have referred back to this acronym over the last few years as various life situations come up. For example, when our kids are caught lying, we say things like, “What does the ‘A’ stand for in our last name? (Always speak the truth). That’s right, lying is not who you are.” Or if we see our son encouraging someone or serving someone, we say things like, “So proud of you! That’s what ‘Inspiring Others’ is all about.” We have found the simplicity of this allows us to instill these core values in every day conversation. It allows us to have faith conversations and even helps my wife and I stay focused on our priorities as a family.
I really hope you’ll take the time to pray through the mission God has placed on your family and the values or Remember Forevers, He wants you to impress upon each other’s hearts. Once you discover these, you’ll be ready to set specific goals for your family. You can click here to continue with: 5 Tips to Pursuing Family Goals.