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Your Family Needs This! How To Write A Family Vision Statement

There's a famous saying that says, "Without vision, the people perish." And I believe that. Don't we all need to know where we're going? And how we're going to get there? I think we do. So, this article is all about how to write a family vision statement. 

A friend of mine was sharing her family vision statement with me the other day. And I was really impressed that she went through the effort to put this vision statement together. But I couldn't help but wonder if it couldn't even be more effective. What I'd like to talk about is family vision statements versus family mission statements. 

What is the difference between those 2 things? And what is going to best fit the needs of your family? And then of course we'll talk about how to write a great statement. So, here's the difference: Vision statements Express what a family wants to be in the future. But mission statements express what the family is doing right now to accomplish their goals for the future. 

Do you see the difference between that? So, one says, "This is who we want to be." And the other one says, "This is who we are" to accomplish who we want to be. For a family or a business or anyone to make a good statement for themselves, for the future, or for the present, they need to get a picture of who they're truly becoming. 

So, that's step number 1. What is a family vision story for your family? Who are you becoming? In my book, Parenting: A House United, I talk about creating a 20-year vision for the future. Who is your family going to be 20 years from now? When you think of your family at your favorite holiday gathering 20 years in the future, who's going to be there. Are there going to be new people there? Perhaps? Obviously, we can't control everything. 

But potentially, there could be. What would your family be doing during this time? What would the conversation be like at this time? What would the relationships be like at this time? What food are you going to eat that day? Do you realize that every time you have that holiday, whatever it is? For us, it's Christmas Eve. Every time we have Christmas Eve together as a family, that's practice for that Christmas Eve plan that we created many years ago. Now, you don't have to just do 20 years. If your children are a little bit older, you could also plan 10 years into the future. But make a picture 10 years into the future and give it as many details as you can to get that feeling from that picture of who you really are to each other. 

What your bond is like. In my family vision story, my husband and I are holding hands under the dinner table. As we're talking with our children about how they're progressing in their life's missions and what great books that we've read. And fascinating world topics that we want to discuss. Because those are the types of things that our family does regularly. That's the type of environment and discussion environment we wanted to have as a family all the way along. So, we decided to put those things in our family vision so that they would become a reality in our future. 

Once you have a family vision story, you can use it all the time. You can talk to the children about it. You can practice for it every Sunday afternoon. You can refer back to it when people seem like they're not quite living like the feeling of that story says that you're going toward. It pulls everybody back on track. And that family vision story gives everybody a reason to care about making a change in who they are in their relationships with each other. It unites the hearts together so that people can also be united in the way that you communicate and solve problems as a group. 

I suggest after having a family vision story that you create a family mission statement. You can create a family vision statement if you'd like to. Our family decided just to do a mission statement. The creation of each of these statements is similar. Almost identical. But the one difference is that when you create a mission statement, you're focusing on: Right now, what are we going to do? So, the vision story is the WHY. 

Why do we care about making changes in this family? Or this business? Or for myself? Or whatever type of visual story you're creating. But we'll just say, family. Why would we care about making this change for the family that we're going to make? And then the mission statement tells us how we're going to do it daily. So, if you want a vision statement then you're going to have a statement that just describes that picture in the future. 

If you have a mission statement, you're going to describe how you're acting right now in preparation for that vision or picture in the future. So, let's talk about how to make a great either mission or vision statement. First, the focus of the statement needs to be clear. The focus is on the family group. So, everyone needs to be included in the thought process behind the statement. 

That doesn't mean everyone has to write out each word. But everybody needs to be included in putting the ideas together. What I usually tell parents to do is to jot down some of their ideas. Maybe 10 of their words that they feel like they want to exemplify as a family. So, if parents want to be... Let's say, "We're going to be loving, we're going to be supportive, we're going to focus on education", maybe. "We're going to be spiritual." You know, people have different things that they feel are the most valuable to them. 

So, if parents jot down their top 10 each of them individually and then they get together with their list of their top 10 and they start seeing where there are similarities where there are differences and see if they can incorporate those ideas into a shared statement. So, this would be your starter statement, okay? This is what you feel like you're doing in the minute. And keep that focused clear if you're going to be doing a mission statement versus a vision statement with you which is just a statement of where you're going. 

But you could still use 10 words to describe where you're going. They would just come out in a different tense, probably. So, then the couple will bring that statement. Let's say it's a mission statement. They bring it to the family. And before they share it with the family, they say to the family, "What do you think our family should do each day? How should we behave with each other? How should we communicate with each other? How should we solve problems so that we can become this family that we have a vision of for the future?" Which everybody would have already heard about by then. And then the children give words. They're like, "Give us words. Let's make a list." So, then the parent writes down a list of words. So, maybe "We're going to be kind. 

We're going to serve each other. We're going to whatever these things are that we are going to do to become that family." So, you get the input from the children. Then the parents can take that and compare it to what they already thought was the perfect focus or how-to for the family. And then they can combine those ideas if there were additional ones that came in though they didn't already have. Or if it looks like the children thought of pretty much everything that they already thought of. Then they can say that is perfect. 

Those are exactly the same ideas that I and your mother thought of. And so, here is a mission statement that we are going to learn as a family. We want to share this with you. So, you would share it with them at that point. Now, if they come up with some new ideas and you feel like you need to go and wordsmith that document a little bit more, then I would say do it. 

Now, our family because it's a mission statement, we use words that are in the present tense. So, we say, "We, the Peck family will love support and be united with one another. We are dedicated to building an atmosphere of trust, faith, and learning in our home. We spread love and happiness to others. We know that we are children of God and endeavor to return to his presence as an eternal family. We have patience and wisdom in our relationships. 

Heavenly Father guides and loves each of us so that we can fulfill our life's emissions." That's our mission statement. It's how we're going to get to become that family of that vision story that recreated for that Christmas Eve party that originally was 20 years in the future. And we say it every day. Literally every day. 

We're religious people so we have a prayer every day as a family and then we immediately say that mission statement. We remind ourselves who we are, what was to do each day to become that family we're trying to become. And then we read our scriptures and we discuss and we read stories. And this has been a part of our life for many, many years now. It keeps us focused on how we are going to accomplish our family goals. Families are put together for a reason. 

It's not an accident. We're all with each other because we need each other to become the best versions of ourselves. And somebody knows that. So, we've got to stay focused. If we don't have a focus, we're going to get caught in our own selfishness. Family mission statements and family vision stories are key pieces to creating a motivated, happy self-governed home. 

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