How do we prevent the values, beliefs, and expectations we have for our family from getting lost in the shuffle of our modern-day life?
That’s the question my husband and I asked ourselves just a few months back. We talked about what we wanted our family to look like; it wasn’t the over scheduled, disconnected, and burnt out family we were becoming. So we decided the best way change our course was to create a family mission statement.
In my last post on this subject I talked about how we started the process. We set aside a few hours, grabbed oversized sheets of paper, magic markers, pens, along with a cup a tea, and our Mission Statement Discussion Sheet (FREE download). We talked about our passions, our values, and the things we wanted to accomplish.
Once we were done we still didn’t have a polished paragraph that we were ready to share with the world. There was something else we needed to discuss - culture.
What is culture?
Culture is what guides the members of its group to behave in a certain way. Often we hear the word culture when referring to business. Many companies stand out because of their culture. For example, Patagonia is known for their passion for the planet, Zappos for great customer service, Google for employee perks and a stimulating work environment, and Chipotle for their simple and healthy food with integrity.
Why is culture important to your mission statement?
Culture is the heart of a company and yes, even a family. A mission statement, when adhered to, within a business, ministry, or organization produces a culture. They work hand-in-hand.
A strong family culture is created by design, through intentionality. <<Click to Tweet
Our busy schedule created a culture of survival in our family. We would often say to one another, “Let’s just get through this week.” The culture of our home was frantic; we were constantly running late, always feeling restless. After we got through one week, there was always another to follow that wasn’t much different from the one before.
It’s not a question of whether or not culture will exist, it’s whether you control it or not. <<Click to Tweet
What you need to begin creating your family culture:
- Dedicated time with your spouse.
- Pen and paper for taking notes on your conversation.
- Family Culture Discussion Sheet and Action Plan (free download)
Talk about these questions together:
- What are some of your favorite memories growing up?
- Where did you spend most of your time as a child? At home? At a friend’s? Why?
- What sights, sounds, and smells say HOME?
- When we go to others homes, what make us feel welcomed?
- What do we want our family to be known for?
Then brainstorm about what that means practically for you family.
For example, we agreed that we want our kids to enjoy home-cooked meals around the dinner table as much as possible. That doesn’t mean that we never eat out or on the go during sports season, but it does mean that I will need a meal plan in place. We would also love for our house to be a place where our kids’ friends enjoy coming, which translates to budgeting money for extra food.
The discussion on culture should include your children as well.
Discuss the meaning of culture with your children:
An easy way to explain culture to your kids is by starting with the questions “When you think of ______________’s family, what is the first thing that comes to mind?” You can also mention their favorite restaurant or amusement park and ask them “What can you count on every time you go there?”
Once your children have an understanding of what culture is, ask them:
- What are your favorite things to do? What do you love and want to share with others?
- What do you want your friends to say about you?
- What do you want them to say about their visits to our house?
- What is important for you to have from Mommy and Daddy?
Let your children come up with ideas on what culture looks like in your everyday life.
Our kids agreed they love to cook and they want to share that with others. So guess what, if one of my children invites you to stay for dinner, it’s likely that you’re lending a hand in meal prep. (We haven’t had any complaints so far.) My kids also decided they don’t want to be known for bickering by their friends. Simply talking about this helped them to understand how important it is to set boundaries and respect one another during play dates.
The next step:
Take your ideas about culture and your family mission statement and weave the two together. Being aware of your desires for both is important to the success of your family.
In August, I will share with you some of the things we did to craft our actual mission statement, display it, and creative ways to remind ourselves we are a family on a mission.
Kimberly Amici is an enthusiastic and dedicated founding member of the Circles of Faith team. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is a writer and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended.