Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Family Mission Statement

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival hosted by hosted by Kelly of Becoming Crunchy and Zoie of TouchstoneZ. Participants are writing posts about what mindfulness mean to them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
******************************************************************************************************************************************* For me, Mindfulness is synonymous with Intentionality.
Intentional Relationships.
Intentional Homemaking.
Intentional Learning.
Intentional Stewardship.
Intentional Health.

I'm a person with good intentions.  But I'm also a person who easily loses focus. 

So to focus on living with greater Intentionality, I wrote a Family Mission Statement.  (I first became interested and inspired to write a Family Mission Statement by Simple Mom.  I didn't follow her suggestions, but I knew that I needed a focus for our lives as a family.)

I needed to include a basis for how we make decisions that affect all six of us, a deliberate commitment to living better, smarter, happier and healthier.  I needed to have a firm 'reason' for the choices that we make as a family (which are so often misunderstood by others) and I needed to make peace with life outside of the 'bubble' of our family life.  I came up with this:

We choose to live in Freedom and Joy.
We love each other with Patience and Kindness.
We work for Beauty and Order.
We bring others Harmony and Trust.

We choose to live in Freedom and Joy.

This explains why and how we Unschool.  It releases us from guilt when we say 'No' to activities that make us miserable.  It even helps us to make big decisions.

For example, Partner-Guy and I have often struggled to make peace with the fact that I get to stay home with our children while he goes out to a job that he dislikes and is ill-suited for.  But the truth of the matter is that his job provides both a generous compensation and 12 weeks of holidays each year.  Because of his job, we always have evenings and weekends together and we can afford a comfortable lifestyle.  If he were to quit his job and look for a new one, it is unlikely that we could maintain the same 'level' of Freedom and Joy as a family.

We also try to look for the Freedom and Joy when we are arranging activities for the children or planning extended-family get-togethers. 

Above all, the principle of Freedom and Joy reminds us as the parents that we are NOT the bosses of our children and that they are equally worthy of living in Freedom and Joy everyday.

We love each other with Patience and Kindness.
Living in Freedom and Joy does not mean that we live without struggles and frustrations.  It helps to remind ourselves how to love each other.  I always love my children, but I certainly need them to remind me to show them greater Patience and Kindness sometimes. 

I also needed to improve my relationship with my Partner-Guy by being consistently more appreciative of him.  An increase in Patience and Kindness has greatly improved how I treat him and has tremendously increased my esteem of him.  It's amazing how hard it is to criticize someone when you are trying to be Kind!  (And for all the relationship-advice books I've read, NONE of them have ever said "Treat your mate with more Patience and Kindness and see what happens.")

We work for Beauty and Order.
Eating healthfully, being gentle to the Earth, making our house a Home and even trying to earn an income--all of it is covered by this part of our Family Mission Statement.  For me, being mindful about every aspect of being a homemaker and a wage-earner is about Beauty and Order. 

I see the Beauty in eating an Ontario-grown pear, but none at all in eating an Oreo.  I see natural Order in hanging my laundry outside to dry 12 months/year and none at all in running my air-conditioner day and night during the summer instead of enjoying the rhythm of the seasons.  And when I return to the workforce, it will be in a manner that allows me to work for Beauty and Order in the lives of others.

We bring others Harmony and Trust.
Oh, this was a hard one to figure out.  I started with "We seek Harmony and Peace with others" but that made it the responsibility of others to be harmonious and peaceful.  I needed to work on myself and approach to others, especially those who make choices that are so different from ours.

I decided that if I can show other people that I can live in Harmony with them, regardless of the choices they are making, that I can be accepting and trustworthy.  In other words, I can be counted on to be a problem-solver, not a problem.

Mindfulness = Intentionality
So now that my Family Mission Statement is in place, I am so much more focussed on achieving the life that I want and acknowledging my children's efforts to achieve success in their own lives.  My relationships are happier, I experience less guilt, I have greater authenticity and we are focused on what we all actually value.
We're living intentionally.

Have you written a Family Mission Statement?  I'd love to read about it!

Mindful Mama Blog CarnivalVisit the Mindful Mama Blog Carnival Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Blog Carnival!
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  1. Love this, Patti. :)

    "I always love my children, but I certainly need them to remind me to show them greater Patience and Kindness sometimes.

    I also needed to improve my relationship with my Partner-Guy by being consistently more appreciative of him."

    You speak some very important points through out this piece. I have written several mission statements along the way, pillars, and now the one I use with Peace 4 Parents speaks to my life mission...

    Be the change I wish to see in myself, my family, and the world through facilitating peaceful relationships between adults and children - one moment at a time.

    That sums it up and takes into account all of the lovely *intentions* you mention. Thank you for sharing this, many parents can benefit from reading how and why you choose what you do as you focus your attention.

  2. I love this idea so much Patti!

    I think at times I shy away from doing things like writing out goals or mission statements, and I'm feeling (especially after reading your post) that I could find a lot more value in those things. This seems like such a perfect, awesome way to be on the same page with your partner and family, and as you say, to keep your focus on what you actually value through living intentionally.

    I hope to follow in your footsteps very soon...thank you so much for sharing!

  3. Thank you for including this for the carnival. I am continuously in awe of the deep love you practice in your family.

    I have never written a mission statement, but I'm thinking this would bring a lot of happiness into my life. Getting clear in the muddy water would be good for my family. I just emailed this to my husband with a suggestion that we consider how this might work for our family.

    Like Amy, it's this quote that I adore, "Living in Freedom and Joy does not mean that we live without struggles and frustrations. It helps to remind ourselves how to love each other. I always love my children, but I certainly need them to remind me to show them greater Patience and Kindness sometimes."

    What a gift your words are in my life. You're a repeat offender for bringing more joy in my life! Thank you <3

  4. I love the simplicity and the depth of your family mission statement. It's so poetic, so easy to understand, and such a wonderful way to be intentional about the decisions you make. I think I'm going to have to write one, too! Thanks. =)

  5. I haven't yet written a family mission statement, but you've inspired me to start thinking about it!

    I was particularly touched by your ideas of Beauty & Order, especially with regard to what we put in our body (I feel the same about Oreos). I love that your ideas about Harmony & Trust are based on compassion. What a great contribution to the world!

  6. I love your family mission statement and am a huge believer in these. I have been waiting until my daughter is older so that we can include her in rewriting the one my husband and I created when we got married. Your FMS is beautiful, simple, and deeply rooted in love and respect! Great post.

  7. I'm a person with good intentions. But I'm also a person who easily loses focus.

    Ha! Ha! Yes, I can identify!

    I like your family mission statement for its simplicity; it seems to provide you with a clear compass.

    And — I want to say I'm sorry for reading so many of the carnival posts so late! My intentions have certainly been grander than my abilities the past few weeks....

  8. We've never done a mission statement. Frankly, I've always seen them in terms of those 80's family psychology ideas - family meetings, group therapy, etc. Something that was work and no one really wanted to participate in. Your mission statement, on the other hand, is simple. Not a bunch of rules to live by, but a few ideals that are worthy of striving to achieve. I'm going to have to rethink this whole mission statement thing and see if it might work for us. And, if not for the family, maybe just me!

  9. We don't have an actual family mission statement that we've written down, but we do have a family vision of what we want for our family on a daily basis (love, kindness and respect). We're a nontraditional family (to say the least), separated by long distance much of the year so it can be a challenge. But when we each remember our family vision, it makes all the difference in the world.