It took two years to complete it...but I finally finished writing our Family Mission Statement.
(No...I'm not kidding)
Thankfully the process itself is very introspective...so we learned a lot about ourselves. And in fact it is the single definable reason we simplified our lives, moved onto a boat and began planning our next big adventure. It is the reason we realized that materialistic goals were distracting us from who we wanted to be.
This project does not have to take two years, as it did for us. In fact, it could take one afternoon. But between really wanting to "get it right," writers block and procrastination...I won the Guiness Book award for longest time it took to write a family mission statement.
I went through pages and pages of writing. I sketched, I read, I brainstormed, I poured my heart out...then I turned the page and poured it out again. I just felt like it was never right. It was too long, it wasn't long enough. There was so much I wanted to say!!
In the end I made it short and simple. Finally, our Mission Statement.
We want a simple and meaningful life; full of love, freedom, adventure and creativity.
To someone who hasn't spent the last couple of years defining the very words that make up our family vision, and expanding on their essence...this might seem like a pretty generic mission statement. But that's the beauty of a mission statement...they're only meant to mean something to the group the statement applies to. It is their guiding light, their way of re-committing to the right path when they go astray.
We DO want a simple and meaningful life, far away from the normal modern stressors; large cities, suburbs, expensive homes, fancy cars, malls, debt, crime, consumerism. We want a piece of land that is all ours, a small house in the woods, a small farm, bought in cash. We always want to have love between us, in every stage of our childrens' and our own development. We want the love to be based on open and honest communication, kindness and understanding.
We want the freedom to feel like we can do anything we want. We never want to feel like we can't take the job we'd love because it doesn't pay enough, or feel like we don't have the time to travel, or don't have the money to buy the things we need. Freedom is the ultimate ingredient to a happy life, and one that most people never get. A prisoner to their mortgage, pension, car loans, student loans, Starbucks habit, etc...they will never be free, they will never have enough no matter how much they make. It is a prison that is all too common, and yet completely avoidable. Being free from those burdens will allow us to follow whatever adventures we choose; from open ended travel to starting a farm...it allows us to live our dreams, and teach our children that they can always find a way to live theirs too.
And lastly, creativity...which is purely about enjoyment for me. When you have enough time, energy and money to just relax and do whatever you want...sew, paint, photography, sing, play, build...it's like being a kid...forever.
So, yes, my mission statement might be short...but there is a lot of meaning in those 14 words.
If this is something you are interested in, there are a million resources online. One of the best resources for us was the book 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey. This is the project that started the ball rolling for us, Family Vision Project.