Do you need more peace and purpose in your home? Have you thought about creating a family mission statement? Here are the tools I used to create our family mission statement and find our sense of direction.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details. I received a hand-lettered, custom family mission statement from Annunciation Designs in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
I can hear him now, though it’s been nearly twelve years since he’s been gone.
“Square peg don’t fit in a round hole, monkey.”
Oh, Daddy. I know.
The last few years have been a textbook example of that saying – our square peg’s grown weary and worn. Rather than live out the life to which our family was called, I attempted to shape us into something far different:
We adhered to a classical education philosophy that didn’t work for our home.
In 1981, Pope John Paul II wrote Familiaris Cosortio, an apostolic exhortation on the role of the family. He speaks of the family as a miniature church, an Ecclesia Domestica with external and internal responsibilities:
“The family finds in the plan of God the Creator and Redeemer not only its identity, what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do. The role that God calls the family to perform in history derives from what the family is….Each family finds within itself a summons that cannot be ignored and that specifies both its dignity and responsibility: family, become what you are” (Familiaris Consortio, #17).
Pope John Paul II sets out four tasks for the family, intended to help them “become what they are.” He writes that families should
- form a community of persons;
- serve life;
- participate in the development of society;
- and share in the life and mission of the Church
Additionally, John Paul II argued that the family has a mission “to guard, reveal and communicate love…” (Familiaris Consortio, #17).
We were so wrapped up in fighting our curriculum we were only guarding our singular hearts.
Home was a bastion of frustration, about as far away as you can get from peace. We didn’t have a mission so much as a mode: survival by the skin of our teeth.
We needed something greater.
We needed Christ at the center of our mission of love.
Why You Need a Family Mission Statement
Your family mission statement is your barometer – it’s the sounding board against which you make family decisions. It is a declaration of your family’s goals, ideals, hopes, and dreams. It is also a public reminder of the truth, goodness, and beauty of family life.
How To Create Your Family Mission Statement
Begin with prayer
Part of the purpose of creating a family mission statement is to align your family with God’s will. What better way to determine that than beginning with prayer? Pray on your own, with your spouse, and with your children, asking God for his guidance and wisdom.
Take a look at your family
In order to best approach the creation of a family mission statement, it helps to understand how your family operates. What are your interests? Your talents? Your goals? How do these play out in everyday life?
I have to admit this isn’t something I often ponder. It wasn’t even on my radar until I read Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year, one of the best, most comprehensive homeschool planning guides I have ever had the privilege to use. Pam encourages families to develop a vision – a “manifesto of sorts for the type of education going on in your home.”
Now granted, the type of statement I’m talking about goes far beyond home education: your family mission is the grand design for your home. But Pam’s advice is applicable here, too. Your homeschool is an extension of your family home. Why not pursue both from a place of intention and peace?
The best way to do that is to figure out how all of you work.
- how do you best communicate?
- what are your passions and goals?
- what strengths exist in each member of the family?
- what about areas for growth?
For your children specifically, consider who you want them to become. Take into account not only your own hopes and dreams but their interests and desires as well.
Once you’ve performed this family inventory, evaluate your family schedule, too.
How well does your current M.O. line up with your analysis? Which parts of your schedule work, and which don’t? You know our story already: I spent hours forcing pegs into holes. But an evaluation of our family schedule helped me realize where we were going and provided direction for abandoning the train.
Draft Your Plan
Review your notes from your analysis. Write down what you’ve come to realize through the process and share it with your spouse. You can even involve the kids if you want to; there are no rules for how this process should go.
Write Your Statement
Your statement will be as flexible and unique as you are. Like poetry? Try writing it in verse. Have the kids suggest words or phrases and put them together as a family.
Still not sure how to get started? Try these openers to give your writing a boost
- This family loves
- In this house we
- The ________family promises to _____________
Through trial and error and lots of revision, we came up with the following:
This family loves: the good, the true, and the beautiful; learning for discovery’s sake; following Christ and His Church; being present, together, and forgiving
Display it prominently
A mission statement matters – it’s who we want our families to be. Once you’ve settled on a final draft, frame and display your mission statement, reviewing it often as a reminder of your goals.
Resources to Help You Create a Family Mission Statement
There are so many beautiful resources available for families who want to create their family mission statement. Two books were instrumental in crafting a statement for our family:
What I love about both of these books is their gentle encouragement to live family life, creating a schedule that fits your normal rhythms. Pam and Sarah remind us that our marriages, our children, and our peace come first – everything else should support that.
Once we had generated our statement, I turned to Annunciation Designs. Her hand lettering is gorgeous; the perfect medium for displaying our family’s hopes and dreams. I loved the process of working with Elaine as we chose colors and styles.
Creating a family mission statement takes effort, but it’s a beautiful process from beginning to end.
While my father understood the importance of crafting square holes for square pegs, it took a little longer for me.