When David and I were first married, we held our plans loosely. We had plenty of free time, a little bit of disposable income and we were so young! Now, three kids later, we need to be more strategic about the way we live out our days. That’s why we recently sat down to update our family vision and mission statement, as well as our five year plan.
Forming a family vision and mission can sound daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it may seem! In fact, you probably already have some ideas about your own family’s mission and vision. Today’s post will help clarify the difference between a family vision and mission, and help you to create your own family statements.
What is a Family Vision Statement?
A vision statement, according to Business News Daily, inspires you to imagine the future- to dream big. You’ve probably read motivational articles encouraging you to consider how your own obituary would describe your life’s work.
Essentially, this is what your vision statement should address: What is the legacy that your family will leave on this world? When people remember your family unit, how will they describe your collective impact? Rather than simply listing achievements, try to distill this legacy into a sentence or two. This vision should remain constant despite your various activities and goals.
Our own family vision statement is this: We want to build a loving, warm, stable family whose lives bring glory to God & His kingdom.
Now, there are days when this vision seems very far from reality! The purpose of a vision statement is not to bring shame to failure. Recognize that not every decision we make is the correct one. We are human, after all.
Instead, work toward your vision every day. Each day, we have an opportunity to choose a different reaction, or a different outlook. Our “day in, day out” decisions and attitudes shape our lives. It’s our repeated actions and behaviors that create a lifelong legacy.
What is a Family Mission Statement?
This is more of a directional statement. The family mission statement describes what your family does, and how your family works to achieve your family’s vision. Read more here and here. In this article, Jamie Falkowski states that “A vision is aspiration. A mission is actionable”. I love that statement, because it gives tread to something that is by definition difficult to attain. If our “what we do” is in line with “what we want to accomplish”, our life’s vision is approachable.
We’re homesteaders, and we grow and preserve a lot of our own food. We homeschool our daughters. While David currently provides for our family’s financial needs via a job, I care for our kids and household and have a few different micro-businesses. Our family mission statement is both a reflection of and a guideline for our life: Our family mission is to build a resilient, self-reliant lifestyle and homestead. Our homestead will be the center of our efforts to learn, live, and steward the land.
I actually think that the family mission statement can be harder to define than the family vision. We can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life that, even if we are aware of what legacy we wish to leave, we don’t have our family culture or identity in mind on a daily basis. Or perhaps it is difficult to define exactly what is special or intentional about our family. Maybe we don’t feel like we “do” much of anything outside of the usual life-living.
If this is you, I encourage you to get out a pen and just start writing down your thoughts. What kinds of work does your family enjoy doing together? What activities inspire you? What life circumstances shape your days? When the deep down, authentic YOU feels satisfied, what are you doing?
Remember that this doesn’t have to be set in stone. In fact, it’s a good idea to revisit your mission on a regular basis. If you find that your daily decisions aren’t in line with your mission, you may need to modify your mission, change your behavior, or both. It’s always easier to modify something than start from scratch- so write your mission statement in pencil and plan to tweak it. Consider your family’s mission and vision to be living documents. They are a work in progress, just as we are.