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People find it weird to see these frames up on our dining wall. One even asked if we were running a school or something. I cannot blame them. Not everyone is aware of the importance of a mission and vision in a family.
Mission and vision statements will establish the identity, direction, and purpose of an organization. Even though all families may look the same on the outside, each unit has a unique impact on society.
What is good is that many parents have already started to recognize the point of having a family mission and vision. — Thanks to the numerous parenting books and seminars available today.
But the most common problem parents face when writing their statements is that they do not know where to begin. I could not relate more. It took us four years before we came up with a decent one. So I thought it might be helpful to share our mission and vision to serve as a guide. It is a bit uncomfortable, but I do not mind. The purpose of this post is to help you get off the ground.
“A family mission statement is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be — and the principles you choose to govern your family life.”Stephen Covey
Mission: To Bloom Wherever We Are Planted
Heads up, it sounds corny. But this is what best describes the mission of our family: To bloom wherever we are planted.
A mission is something we aim to do every day. It is who we are and what we do.
In simple terms, our mission is to do our best wherever we are, whatever we do. We aim to do things with excellence and wisdom at all times.
Here is our supporting verse from scripture:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”Matthew 22:37 ESV
My wife and I are big on stewardship. It means careful management of everything entrusted to us. — Like time, money, talents, career, influence, and relationships. We see ourselves as managers who take care and make the most of these assets for the glory of God.
A plant needs to be in the appropriate condition and manage a suitable amount of nutrients to flower. Too much or less than what is necessary can be detrimental to the plant. It can neither be over-watered nor under-watered. The plant should have the right balance of elements to produce flowers.
Similarly, we trust that we are planted in the exact garden where God wanted us to be right now. We already have the perfect environment and all the necessary elements we need. The only assignment we have is to bloom.
Vision: To Bear Fruit And Multiply
A vision is something we aim for.
The mission is to drive the car carefully, and the vision is to reach the destination we are aiming for.
The vision and mission should, in a way, relate to one another. Since our mission is to bloom, our vision is to bear fruit and multiply. We hope that whatever we are managing will one day bring results.
- Money invested will yield good returns (bear fruit).
— and those returns will make even more profits in the future (multiply).
- Relationships built will bring love, joy, and camaraderie.
— and those relationships will encourage more relationships to do the same.
- Our influence will lead our kids to become people with integrity.
— We hope someday our kids will also influence their future children to be good-hearted people.
A mission is something we have control of, while a vision is something we do not.
Our supporting verse for our vision comes from Matthew 25:21 (ESV):
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”
In the end, a vision is faith-based. We do not know whether it will happen or not. But despite the results, we continue to execute our mission each day.
Core Values: C.H.A.N.S.
What are core values?
Core values are the guiding principles or the practices needed to achieve a specified goal.
The mission is to drive the car carefully.
The vision is to reach a particular destination.
The core values are your driving skills, license, maps, gasoline, spare tire, etc. It is everything you need to execute the mission and move towards the vision.
“A core value is something so central you would say, ‘Even if it’s harmful to us, we would still hold on to this value. Even if we had to pay penalties, even if we had to punish our children for violating it, even if we had to deny them something that would bring them pleasure, we would still hold to it.’”Jim Collins
There are virtually unlimited values to choose from. It is tempting to hoard and dump everything on paper. You can do it at the beginning — but it is best if you can trim it down to five or seven core values.
You can use an acronym to make them easy to remember. For us, we used our surname, “Chan.” But we felt it was too short, so we added an “S” at the end: C.H.A.N.S.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.1 Timothy 6:6-7 ESV
Our number one core value is Contentment. We are not a family of hunters. We do not look for greener pastures nor kill for our next meal. What we do is grow our food and make wherever we are greener. You can consider us as a family of farmers or growers.
Without contentment, we will struggle to accomplish our mission. We should be content with whatever we have and wherever we are to be effective stewards. We cannot bloom WHEREVER we are planted if we are dissatisfied with our current situation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.Colossians 1:16 ESV
There is a paradox in Humility that makes it a little tricky. Whenever you say you are humble, then you are technically not. But this humility is not about us. It is about the acknowledgement that whatever we have comes from the Lord — so there is nothing we can boast. Everything we see, touch, or experience, in general, is from God and for God.
Our possessions, lives, achievements, talents, and whatnot are only entrusted to us. What is nice about being humble is we tend to be more careful in using resources — because we know they are not ours.
We are only managers, not owners.
Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.Romans 12:11 NLT
Contentment may lead to complacency. Humility might result in apathy.
Our third core value intends to balance things out. We have to remind ourselves to be Active.
Though we are content, it does not mean we can sit all day and appreciate what we already have. We should continue to strive, learn, and improve. In humbleness, we will utilize our gifts to honor God and serve others. We shall use the wisdom and talents we have to set goals and execute plans.
Being active means we do not take opportunities for granted. We are assigned with all we have for a reason. The last thing we want is to become a fruitless tree.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2 ESV
Not because everybody is doing it means we have to do it. Not because everybody is saying it means we should believe it. To be Non-conforming is about reflecting, studying, filtering, and testing conventional wisdom. We as a family practice critical thinking before we apply or even share any knowledge or “facts.”
The world today is already drowning with information. Being a good steward of knowledge will protect our family and everybody around us from false practices and fake news.
Being non-conforming is perhaps the most troublesome core value we have to maintain. The reason is, more often than not, people criticize us for not following customs or beliefs.
A brief side-story:
Our country has a common practice where parents mark the forehead of their children with red lipstick whenever they go out. They believed the mark would protect infants from evil spirits and other forces.
But Lalaine and I do not buy this idea. One day, we brought our then six-month-old child to a family gathering without the red dot on his forehead. Unfortunately, there are a number of our relatives who are big on these kinds of superstitions. They deemed us to be irresponsible parents for exposing our baby to those vile entities.
Better one handful with tranquilityEcclesiastes 4:6
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.
We are a family who likes to keep things simple. We strive to simplify our lives to give way to the more remarkable things in life.
Simple living allows us to:
- Save money.
- Lower our stress levels.
- Focus on what matters.
- Improve our relationships.
- Enjoy a peaceful life.
But simple living is not in our D.N.A., Lalaine and I used to have a lavish lifestyle before we were married. We eat out a lot and buy stuff we do not need. She likes bags and shoes. I like electronics and athletic wear.
We learned the value of simple living when we got ourselves deep in debt in 2016. It was a tough season for us. But by downsizing our stuff and lifestyle, we paid off eight credit cards consequently. Simplifying our way of life also allowed me to give time and invest in learning finance. Today, we have already paid off 85% of our debts. Hopefully, we can wrap it up in a year or two.
Check out these posts if you wish to learn about our debt-free journey:
- How we killed eight credit cards.
- Assets and Liabilities Management: Our simple plan for financial freedom.
That’s it! Those are the mission, vision, and core values of our family.
What do you think? Did it help you with yours in a way? I hope so!
If I could suggest, I would say stop overthinking the mission and vision statements of your family. Here is what I learned when my wife and I were doing this project:
A family mission and vision are more of a DISCOVERY than an INVENTION.
We are not scientists who go to our labs and create the family we want. We are better described as archeologists who go out and find clues to why our family exists. Ultimately, we believe God is the one who assembled our family for a purpose. It is our job to find out what that purpose is.
Why not start a journal and record the uniqueness of your family? Those are the building blocks for your mission and vision.
Here are some areas where you can get a lot of clues about your family:
- Trials, challenges, struggles
- Strengths, gifts, talents
- Dreams, passion, interests
Writing the mission and vision statement of our family is an ongoing process. It is a journey for life. We will continuously update every time we find clues about why our family exists.
So please do not torture yourself. What you can do instead is set a weekly date with your spouse. Talk about your family and write down any insights. One day you will be able to connect the dots and reveal your family’s mission and vision.
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Thank you for reading!