Fresh Beginnings: Creating a Family Philosophy
What ideas guide your family’s decisions and household? Can we share a little simple living secret?
Something magical happens when you choose to live intentionally and by your values.
Decisions become easier, there is less anxiety and stress, and thoughtful and compassionate teamwork among your family members will become the norm. Creating a family philosophy is the key to making those changes stick, so read on for our favorite tips.
Call a Family Meeting: Arrange a time for the whole family to sit down together and discuss your family’s direction and goals. Assign someone to take notes. Everyone in the family should have the opportunity to voice their opinion, even the littlest ones. If all family members feel like they are important, then you are more likely to have a cooperative, positive experience.
Make a List of Goals: Discuss what you would like to accomplish as a family this year. Perhaps you want to travel more, save money for something the whole family wants, or serve together in your community. Write down ALL ideas and then narrow the list down to three. Depending on time and financial limitations for the year, you might need to narrow that list down to one major goal. A family vote is the best way to ensure fairness and that everyone is on board.
Family Mission Statement: From that list of goals, write a family mission statement for the year. This statement should be specific and measurable. For example, if your family decided to serve at a local homeless shelter, you might write a statement such as: “We will joyfully serve at the homeless shelter one day per week, unless we are traveling or sick. We will also give 5% of our net income to the shelter monthly.”
Or perhaps your family really wants to foster community and build connections around the dinner table. So your statement might read, “We will welcome another family into our home for dinner two times a month. We will cook the entire meal, engage in thoughtful conversation, and be sensitive to others’ needs. We will set aside $100/month to pay for the dinners.”
The family statement is not a straitjacket for the year, but a guiding light for when times are tough and you want to give up on your goal. Place the statement and your goals in a prominent place in your home where everyone can see it.
You will want to review your family mission statement and goals from time to time. Are they still motivating? Are they reasonable for the amount of time and financial resources at your disposal? Remember, the goal is not to burden or guilt your family with an impossible goal, but to inspire and encourage. The more often you goal-set as a family, the easier it will become and the stronger your family unit will grow.
We've included a printable goal planning worksheet to use during your family meeting. Good luck and let us know your big goals on Instagram with the tag #mycohesivehome!