Kids of all ages need limits. Kids need to experience consequences. Kids need to witness positive, consistent role-modeling. Our kids help to make us better parents because we witness daily evidence that they are watching, listening and learning from us. What an eye opener! As parents, we stumble in front of our children and need a willing heart to apologize when we err, striving to be a more effective role model. No matter the age of our children, it is never too late to make a Family Mission Statement. Just do it, then memorize it together. A mission statement helps families of all ages to get back on track. No two families are alike and each one must decide what is best for them. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NLT).
How to start
Posted on our fridge for over twenty years, our Family Mission Statement is barely legible. How did we do it? My husband and I chose a night to present the idea to our children over dinner, saying we thought our family should make a statement of what we believed. We briefly explained that churches, corporations and organizations have a mission statement, and we read aloud our church’s mission statement as an example. Our children were nine and six at the time, and they agreed. Hurdle one accomplished. We, then, asked them to think of their favorite Bible verse or principle and why they liked it. The timing was great as we were currently reading aloud What Would Jesus Do? by Charles Sheldon. As a family, we were focusing on how Jesus wants us to respond to others and how we want to be remembered. (Designate one parent to write down the individual beliefs to keep things moving.) Session one ended successfully. Over the next few days I read the four statements aloud several times to see if anyone changed their mind.
Session two involved formulating four cohesive sentences then posting them on the fridge. After no changes were made over the course of several days, we gathered for session three. We read our statement sentences and agreed that they were the standards of our family. Ta-da! Our Family Mission Statement was completed. What joy to bond over a common goal, set a precedent for the upcoming years and share with others as they read our posted statement on the fridge. “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth” (3 John 1:4 NLT).
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1 NLT). Do not worry if the sentence structure is not perfect. It is not an English assignment; this is your family plan. Think… write…refine. First, set a date and time to begin. Second, everyone is to participate, not dismissing anyone’s input. Babies cannot talk and toddlers have not developed critical thinking skills, but everyone needs lots of hugs and love; add it in. Third, if a response is long, shorten it by saying, “Is this what you mean?” Always look for the need under the words. Progress is made when you take multiple thoughts and combine them cohesively, which takes time. Rome was not built in a day and was actually built upon ancient, ancient Rome. Layer upon layer is how our families are built too. Don’t obsess; two or three sessions are enough time before your kids lose interest. Fourth: Ideas to ponder a favorite verse or principle, core values, character traits, tithing or financial responsibilities. You can always revise your Family Mission Statement as your family grows.
Our Family Mission Statement
Our family’s four statements are as follows: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT). God does not make mistakes; God is in control. “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT). “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NLT). Here is our Family Mission Statement: The Estlers will be kind, compassionate and forgiving to all people regardless of the circumstances. We know God is in control and does not make mistakes. We will depend upon Him at all times.
Begin the school year on a strong foundation with a purpose and a plan. Commit today for your family to walk boldly; don’t delay. As a family, pray and then repeat until your Family Mission Statement is well hidden within your hearts. When the task is completed, God may be smiling saying, “Well done good, faithful, and committed families!”
Vickie Estler is the monthly Happy Heart speaker at M.O.M./Moms on a Mission at Rio Vista Community Church, Ft. Lauderdale. Ponder the “weekly 7” (a verse a day encouraging families) on her blog at ponder365.com.