Who We Are
The first fundamental of defining your family identity is to establish the direction or what we will call a family vision. The family vision is an articulation of your ideal family life and what you want your family to be. It is that picture you see in your mind when you think about how you want your family life to be. A family vision can either be a written statement or can be a visual depiction either through a vision board or through family artwork and drawings. Here we are going to focus on creating a family vision drawing because it tends to be easier for kids to relate to and absorb. After you have created your vision drawing to take it a step further and express it in a family mission statement.
Starting with a clean sheet of paper, ask each family member these questions:
What makes you happy? What are those few (or many) things in life that put a smile on your face and get you through your difficult days?
For some this may be having family nights, children who don’t fight and are kind to one another, that first cup of coffee in the morning, playing with our friends, or going on long walks with our spouse. After giving everyone a few moments to think the question over, select a family member to go first. This family member begins by choosing a spot on the blank paper to draw a picture of what makes them happy. Remember to refrain from judging. Every family member has a right to their own thoughts and feelings and shouldn’t be judged for their ideas.
After all family members have had a chance to draw out their ideas, it is time to move onto a new blank sheet of paper and the next question.
What makes us fulfilled? What are those things in life that bring us the most satisfaction and leave us with the feeling of completeness?
For example, this may be something like getting a promotion at work, volunteering our time at our favorite charity, learning a new skill, or watching our children accomplish new things. For school aged children this may be something like getting good grades, scoring goals or hitting homeruns, or volunteering their time. Preschool aged children may have a little difficulty with this question because it is hard for them to understand what it means to be fulfilled, so to help them try restating it for them in more concrete terms like what makes you most proud? What things do you do that make you most want to tell mom and dad about? What things make you feel most safe? For children this age, a sense of fulfillment comes from some of the more basic needs in life; needs like love, safety, and accomplishment.
Now that we have tackled the things that make us happy and fulfilled, it’s time to move on to those things in life we want.
Starting with a new sheet of blank paper, ask each family member this question:
What do we want for ourselves and for our family?
These are our hopes, dreams, aspirations not only for our family, but for ourselves has well. For example we may want to take a lot of exciting vacations as a family or to have a successful thriving business. Or we may want to continue or grow our faith or maybe retire at the age of 55? These are the things inside of us we would most like to have in our lives. This is your chance to include all of those dreams and desires that you can’t seem to fit into your current life or you are not sure how to go about realizing.
By the end of this first step in the process, you should have a completed family vision drawing encompassing the elements of happiness, fulfillment, and aspirations. It’s time now to move on to using the family vision to create a family mission statement.
After you go through this process, you should have about three sets of vision drawings that encompass the elements of happiness, fulfillment, and aspirations. Now is the time to look for themes and use your drawings to write a family mission statement, write family goals, and motivate you to make changes.
Begin by taking some time to look over your family vision drawing. What are the major themes, overall ideas, and messages that come out over the 3 separate drawings?
Using a blank sheet of paper, write down the themes. Themes will be different for every family. An example of a theme that you may find is learning new things, being active in your faith, helping others, visiting and learning about new places, accomplishing new things, giving your best, being financially secure, and finding fulfillment in your professional life. Don’t stop to edit or analyze just write them down. Depending on the ages and interests of your kids, this may be best done by either both or one parent and then reported back to the family at the next meeting. These themes will be used to write the family mission statement and write family goals.