The Man of the House and I have been reading Steven R Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.
We've had some family home evenings where we shared what we were learning with the kiddie pies. They picked right up on the ideas. They are better than I am about changing their behavior.
Habit 2 [Begin with the end in mind] has you create a family mission statement. We had a couple of brainstorming sessions as a family. We let everybody say all their ideas and I wrote them all down. No one was allowed to interrupt or criticize anybody's idea.
We talked about:
What kind of family do we want to be?
What do we want to do together?
What kind of feeling do we want in our home?
What is important to us?
How can we contribute to society as a family?
What is our purpose as a family? These were my favorite answers
Pumpkin- So we won't be by ourselves
Blueberry- so we don't live in boxes when we grow up
Cherry- learn to love each other
Cutie- be nice
We got ideas ranging from "no shouting" and "be nice" to "Dad should give mom chocolate" (thanks, Blueberry) and "pizza on Fridays." I had about 3 pages of notes of things we wanted to do and learn and be as a family.
So how did we take all those ideas and form them into a Family Mission Statement that we could all get behind and be inspired by? For 2 or 3 months, we just let those ideas cook in our minds.
Add in this: At my brother's wedding, his bride's family sang a song I had never heard before, but instantly loved. The song is called Side by Side.
I thought, what a great thought to have as part of your family culture--that you'll do things together and enjoy it.
That sounds really like, duh, as I type it, but I've been going through this phase where I just want to be by myself and do my own thing and everybody just leave me alone and do their own thing. It's not a good attitude for a mom to have and I've been struggling against it, but I keep catching myself back in that attitude. Clearly I need more than just to realize my thoughts aren't right, I need a paradigm shift.
Add in this: One evening, Ben and I had a real heart-to-heart discussion about a few things and I realized what he was asking for was for me to be his friend. He doesn't just want to do the things he likes (example: climb mountains). He wants to do the things he likes WITH ME (climb mountains with me).
Suddenly I knew how to put our family mission statement together in a way that would be inspiring to us (I felt inspired) and would help us keep focused on what is important. I ran the idea past Ben & he liked it. So here it is Ta Da! Our Family Mission Statement. We might edit it a bit more before it goes up on our wall, but essentially we've got it. It is a little bit long, perhaps, but I didn't want to be too general with things like just say "Be Responsible" I felt like it needed to be more concrete for me and for the kids.
Side By Side
Our family is committed to living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We will serve the Lord by being missionaries, by serving those around us, and by keeping our covenants. Being a Celestial Family is our goal.
Education is important to us, and we will never stop learning. We value the arts and other cultures. We will honor traditions we have received from our heritage and create new ones. We will discover and develop our talents to share and uplift others.
We love working and playing together, especially outside, keeping our bodies strong and healthy. Everyone will help with chores without complaint. Being self-sufficient is important to us.
In our family we promise to be each other’s best friends. We will do fun things together; we will help and encourage each other. We will always speak kindly and give each other hugs and kisses. We will love each other. We will stay together and encourage each other even if hard things happen.
We will respect each other by being polite and never shouting. We will appreciate each other’s efforts and remember that everyone is trying their best.
We will keep our house a clean and peaceful place so that we want to come home to it. We will keep the Holy Ghost in our home.
We will be thankful in all things acknowledging the Lord’s Hand in our lives. We will show our gratitude by being generous with what we have.
We will walk through life together: side by side.