Creating a Family Mission Statement: Begin With the End in Mind
Author: Tara West
April 13, 2019
Creating a family mission statement is an important piece of family history. Not only because the mission statement defines what is important to your family but also because the mission statement has deep historical roots. Let’s take a quick look at the evolution of the family mission statement.
The Coat of Arms
Quest (noun): a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something
This year our schoolwide Leadership Week theme was inspired from the book The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. This is the tale of a little mouse named Despereaux Tilling and his quest to save someone he loves. Despereaux is a unique mouse; at a young age, he identified what he wanted in life and was willing to do what needed to be done to make it happen. He was not afraid to show the world who he was and what he believed. That seemingly simple trait inspired our school leadership to challenge each family within our school to begin a quest to identify what they wanted from life and how they were going to make it happen.
During the Middle Ages, families were identified by their coat of arms. Since they were mainly used on battlefields to identify a person’s friends or foes, they were often shaped like a shield. The symbols used on coats of arms were chosen carefully to represent an individual or a family. Today a coat of arms may act as a family mission statement. It can represent the purpose and values of a family and why we choose to do or not to do certain things—our values.
Creating a Family Mission Statement
Creating a family mission statement is a fairly simple process regardless of the number of people involved. For instance, of our 745 students, there are 502 families represented. Each family received a 36″ × 30″ poster paper with a template of a coat of arms traced on it by parent volunteers and awesome fifth-graders. Each family was instructed to create their coat of arms by filling in each section with the following:
- Something that represents your family name.
- Something that represents a value or values your family has.
- Something that represents a family tradition.
- Something that represents what you like to do together.
- (Bottom ribbon): a word, words, or a quote your family lives by.
Families were also given a list of questions to answer if they needed prompts to create their coat of arms. After they were completed, students brought them back to school to be displayed. In all, 386 projects were returned. As a parent, I was thrilled to help hang our coat of arms and hear the students’ delight as they walked down the halls and around the gymnasium looking their family’s project. No two were the same. Parents commented that it was a great opportunity to sit down with their children and really think about who they were as a family. After a month, we began to take the coats of arms down. Students were actually saddened that they wouldn’t be hanging in the halls anymore, then parents started calling the school asking to have them returned home to display. What a joy it was to know that this activity had such a profound impact on the families within our school. Personally, my family’s coat of arms is one we will treasure
for years to come.
Now, it’s your turn! Creating a family mission statement is a rewarding process that not only sets expectations within the family but also solidifies your family’s history. I challenge everyone to take the time to create a family mission statement and Begin With the End in Mind.
More Leadership at Home Activities
For more leadership at home activities, try Habit 3!