Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Family mission

Once while entering the grocery store, the kids and I were happily surprised to see a friend with his son. They were on their way out so we stopped and chatted for a time. Maybe too long but the kids did a great job of entertaining themselves while the two adults talked about family mission. Yeah, at the grocery store. Who cares about the weather and pleasantries when there are more important things to discuss?

This father, who works in the business world, had a great point. He said, "I've never really thought about the idea of a family mission statement before but why not? As I've heard you talk about family mission I've been reminded that in the business world we're taught that a company without a mission will go nowhere. Of course the same would be true for a family!"

Yes! He got it! Maybe that's the easy part.

It makes sense and we're easily persuaded that a family mission is a necessary part of defining our family's DNA, but actually sitting down, praying about it, and writing out what comes next, well, that's the hard part.

We're busy.

We're distracted.

We feel inadequate.

We [fill in the blank]

But that is exactly why we need a family mission. Referring to it will remind us who we are, where we want our priorities to lie, and why we do what we do. When distractions come or when we know we are too busy or when we don't know where and how to spend our finances, our family mission can tell us what needs to be eliminated or where we need to spend more of our time, money, and focus.

So, how does one write a family mission statement? Generation to Generation by Wayne Rice has an excellent, easy-to-read chapter on writing a mission statement. Unfortunately it's also out of print which means that if you're not local to me, you'll have a hard time borrowing my copy. But honestly, long before Wayne Rice (or anyone else) was writing about family mission, there was the Holy Spirit to help you. Ask and you will receive, right?

But if you want one family's example, here you go:

Way back when there were only 3 children in the King clan and when only one of them could actually read and write, we sat down together in the living room and unrolled a large section or newsprint (remember those huge rolls of creativity-inducing goodness?) across the floor. We gave each child a marker and asked questions like these: What does our family do? What do we do to help others? Why do we do what we do?

The children wrote answers all of the paper. Well, one child wrote the answers. The other two drew pictures while we transcribed their answers. We used the results of that project to come up with the following family mission:

Teach and learn about God
Help and encourage each other
Enjoy activities together

Kindness to everyone
Imitate Christ
Never fight, hurt, or lie
Go where God leads

Family worship and prayer
Always serve God and others
Mom and Dad go on dates.
Immediately obey
Loving words and actions
Young and old are respected

And my favorite part of our family's mission? Mom and Dad go on dates. Because those were Andrew's exact words when he wrote them on the paper. After The Good Doctor and I had a nice chuckle over that, we realized that it was part of our mission since having a strong, everlasting marriage was most definitely part of our family's mission.

See, it doesn't even have to be a paragraph. It doesn't have to use flowy, wordy language. It doesn't need to follow a prescribed form. This one was written for a family with young children, in language they all could understand, and has been prominently displayed since.

Now it's your turn.

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