Years ago, right after the birth of First Born, we had the opportunity to attend a class at our church for new parents. Most of what was said in that class has long since been forgotten, but one thing really stuck with us, and that was the idea of creating a “brand identity” for our family. This concept centers around creating a mission and vision statement for the family and then building from there. Our family has established mission & vision, a theme song, a family Bible verse, and even a mascot…Football Turtle!
The idea behind these things is that they help you to not only identify what is important to you as a family and filter your activities and life through that, but that they also build a greater sense of unity, much like a sports team. You want your kids to grow-up and still want to be part of your family and creating this unique sense of family identity helps encourage family unity and loyalty.
So, how do you start?
Step #1. Individually make a list of values that are important to you and why. Both parents should do this. Older children may also offer their list of suggestions, but this is you, as parents, making the decision for the direction of your family, so you have the final say. These lists should be compiled separately. Don’t share them yet!
Step #2. Set up a kid-free time to go through your lists. Get a baby-sitter or wait until the kiddos are in bed, but schedule a time with no TV to talk about this, and only this. No discussions about household chores or car repairs. Devote scheduled time and compare lists. Odds are, some will overlap (hopefully). Maybe you didn’t use the same words, but the general value is the same. Narrow down the list to the items that you both agree are the 5-10 most important for your family. Be sure to include why you believe in these things or what you want your family to look like as it relates to a particular value.
Step #3. More kid-free time! Set up a second time to come back to your values and make sure you both still agree that these are the most important. This can be a day or a week later. Don’t wait too long, though, because you want to keep the project moving forward. Here is our family’s vision and values statement: Family Values and Vision Statement
Step #4. From these values, identify the goal or mission of your family.
Step #5. This is where is really gets fun. Do something creative with the information you have just decided on. We have our mission and vision statement hanging in our family room. My husband even printed it on business cards that we each carry with us. We gave one to the grandparents and other people who care for our kids to let everyone know that we make decisions for our family with this information as our goal.
Step #6. Take it further! We have a theme song (Beautiful One by By The Tree). We selected three Bible verses to guide our family that we all memorize…1 Timothy 4:12 (Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for all the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity), 2 Timothy 3: 16 (All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness NIV), and Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 (These commandments that I have given you today are to be put upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames fo your houses and on your gates. NIV). These verses guide our decisions and our parenting. And as you saw earlier, we even have a family mascot. Football Turtle was born out of our family’s love of football and the beach, specifically sea turtles. Okay, so I probably spent way too long designing him but the kids love him. They want to make him into a flag to hang outside our front door and on our car! This is the kind of family unity we want to create!
UPDATE: During the summer of 2012 we have added a home school crest to our family branding. You can find instructions on how to do one of your own under Home School!
Have you created a mission, vision, or values statement for your family? Share your experience in the comments!