The parenting journey parallels the popular children’s book We’re Going On a Bear Hunt. Some seasons find us slowly trudging through thick mud, stuck in weight and worry, while others swish past in the blink of an eye. No matter what—we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we must find the courage to go through it. So, how can we maintain an eternal perspective along the way?
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ESV reminds us to teach God’s word “diligently to our children, to talk of it when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind [God’s commands] as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
This weighty responsibility for parents to infuse God’s commands as we seek to inform our children’s lives with truth invites an intentional response. Part of that intentionality is to write down God’s commands and place them in a prominent position in our homes and hearts. A family mission statement helps do just that!
A family mission statement can be a constant guide, lighting the unchartered territory ahead. Maybe the thought of any kind of statement feels too corporate or formal. Perhaps it feels as though a mission statement is best utilized when starting a company rather than as a guidepost for your heart. Yet, as a parent, there is nothing more important than ascribing scripture-rooted words to the who, what, and why of your home.
3 Key Areas for Your Family’s Mission Statement.
1. WHO are you?
This first section of a mission statement defines who you are as a family by naming your core values. While we desire our family to embody all values, studies show that a company’s employees only remember a few of their company’s core values. Therefore, if we want our children to remember and live by them, choose no more than three to five core values as a foundation.
Some examples include diligence, gratitude, generosity, empathy, service, academic excellence, adventure, hospitality, or creativity. The specific values you select direct your discipleship, decisions, and discipline in the home.
To help you identify your core values, start with kingdom values in scripture. Then move to the passions, character traits, and hobbies you desire your children to possess.
- What kingdom values do I desire for my family first and foremost?
- What gifts have we been given to steward?
- What areas of interest do we want to cultivate more of as a family?
2. WHAT is your destination?
This next section helps you decide where you are leading your children. Deuteronomy commands us to walk alongside our children, but where are we ushering them? Many times, we become hyper-focused on behavior with well-meaning character training of our kids, but we neglect to define to what end?
If, for example, we desire for our children to value hard work but fail to define that the kingdom destination is to work for God alone over man’s praise, then our children may pursue performance as a tool for earthly applause (Colossians 3:23) and our own approval.
While we do not have control over the outcome of their lives, we possess the opportunity to guide our families with wisdom along the way. So, where are we directing them?
- What is my definition of success for them?
- What relationship do I desire with my kids when they are grown?
- What experiences do I wish for them to have?
3. WHY does it matter?
For this missional commitment to remain a focal point of your parenting journey, remembering why it matters and living it out is paramount. Deuteronomy 6 reminds us that when we place something before our eyes, it holds prominence in our hearts. A family mission statement also promotes unity in your home as you allow these values, informed by scripture, to act as a steady anchor in a shifting culture. Depending on their ages, discuss these areas with your children and receive their input.
Family mission statements additionally provide a tool for discernment through a Christ-centered lens. As opportunities for commitment arise, allow these core values to function as a filter for each yes and no.
- Does this activity allow us to cultivate the core values we have established as a family?
- Does this time commitment align with my kingdom values?
- Do the relationships we invest in uphold the values and aid in our desired destination?
If not, something may require adjustment.
Remember, simply because these values are written and recorded does not mean they never change. While the who doesn’t change, the what and where may shift to reflect your growth as a family. As your family evolves, children grow, and priorities clarify, an adjustment may be necessary. Allow your mission statement to fluidly represent your unique family and current season.
So, for this season, assess these three sections and form a comprehensive family mission statement by filling in these blanks as a jumping-off point.
(Who): Our family’s core values are ___________________________________.
(Where): My goal is to help steward and guide my children toward a life that _________________________________________________________________.
My desire is that they would experience _______________________________.
(Why) In the end, my prayer is that ___________________________________.
As you commit these values in writing, discuss them with your children as you walk along the way. Then allow your family mission statement to carry you forward in courageous confidence, knowing God is leading you over, under, and through it all by the light of His presence, love, and grace.