Once you’ve developed your family goals and mission statement, what do you do with them? Here are five ways to use your mission statement to help your family thrive.
by Heidi Indahl
Goals and mission statements are related in that they can each be a way of achieving the other. Because of that, it is important that they align with each other. Our goals should align with our mission statement in that they do one of the following things: (1) demonstrate the purpose of the mission statement, (2) increase our ability to reach/fulfill the purpose, or (3) demonstrate one of the observable components of the mission statement.
For example, if the mission statement involves being a good steward of money, what does that look like? Goals that might help you live out that mission could involve setting a savings goal or choosing a level of charitable giving you would like to meet and then taking steps to reach that level. Depending on the situation, a good goal may be to take steps towards financial independence through debt reduction or streamlining household expenses. The correlation may not always be clear, but for the mission statement to have its greatest impact, you should be able to find one.
Here are five more ways (besides clarifying your goals) that mission statements can be put into practice.
Ways to Implement the Mission Statement
Display: Create a visual reminder of your mission statement and display it proudly in your home. You can also write a family commitment statement, including the mission statement and an agreement to consider the family mission statement in all decision making, signed by each family member.
Memorization/Reading: Our family has weekly meetings to discuss events and activities and other family business. We have a family meeting binder that has our jobs, and notes from previous meetings. The very first page of the binder is our family mission statement. We read it aloud occasionally. I’ve had other families report opening every meeting with a reading of the mission statement.
Future Goal Setting: The thing about goals is that eventually we (hopefully) reach them. When we are evaluating our new goals, we can look to our mission statement as a source of inspiration. Are there areas of our mission statement we are not meeting as well as we could? What steps (goals) could we take to meet that area better?
Choosing Activities: Modern families have a steady influx of information and choices about activities. When we are faced with a pile of activities from back-to-school night or the community fair we can look at each activity through the lens of our mission statement. How does this activity improve our ability to live out our mission? Will it take away from our ability to live out our mission? I like to say that the Catechism of the Catholic Church stops short of telling us which sport our child should play, or even if they should play one at all, but a mission statement that considers our Catholic faith can help us make a good decision about it either way.
Making Decisions: Along the same lines as choosing activities, we are also faced with a steady stream of information and new products that claim to cure all our ills and solve all of our problems. Our mission statement can help us identify those products that will enhance our commitment to our mission and those that will merely serve as distraction.
Develop your own implementation plan by selecting two ways (from the above list or create your own) that you will use your mission statement within your family. Include what role your children will have in the implementation plan, either through creation, display, or memorization. You may also want to include a plan for when you will revisit the mission statement to make sure that it is continuing to reflect your family’s identity.