Monday, January 30, 2017

Updates and Mission Statements

Let's get right to it.......

Update on Kyle:

 The swelling in his face has come down quite a bit since the other day.  He's been to the dentist more in the past few days then he cares for in an entire year.  Poor kid.  They still have to finish the work.  All they could do is clean out the infected area the past couple of visits.  First they had to lance (cut) the big giant bubble of yuck in his mouth.  He was checked on Friday, and then they cleaned out the area and tried to start his root canal on Saturday.  Each time he has been in it's been to clean the wounds and site for the root canal.  They still need to complete the root canal and then do the work for a crown.  He goes back in a couple of days.  Good news is no more pain and no more pain meds.  Kyle has a black eye now because the swelling got so bad on the right side of his face that it affected his right eye...and now that the swelling is down he has a black eye.  Crazy how that happened.  I'm sure Kyle wishes he would have had a cool story to go along with his black eye instead of the true story.  Tonight Kyle is going to try to make it through his shift at work.  I'm sure he will make it.  His last pain med was a while ago and he doesn't seem to be in any major pain, so that's a good thing.  More to come on his tooth and his progress as things move on.

Update on Kevin:

Kevin has had a couple of rough days.  He is in a lot of pain and isn't moving around much.  I've been keeping a close eye on him these past couple of days.  So, we didn't make it to Stake Conference today (A special church meeting instead of our normal Sunday services that includes about six to eight congregations combined together for one big meeting.)  I wasn't expecting to go anyway with both Kevin and Kyle laid up.  I tried to pass the time Sunday by watching an episode or two of one of my favorite shows, browning ground beef for dinner tonight (tacos), and watching this movie called The Choice, based on a book by Nicolas Sparks.  That was a huge mistake!!  I couldn't even make it to the end of the movie without balling like a baby.  I have about 25 minutes left of the movie and I can't bare to watch it through to the end because I just know he will have to make that choice.  I just tried a few minutes ago and had to shut it right down after about 2 minutes in.  What on earth was I thinking by watching a Nicolas Sparks movie??!!!  They make me cry every single time.  Especially this one about having to make the choice to shut of medical machines and watching a spouse die.  I think that would be a very tough decision to have to make.  I so hope I never have to make that choice any time in my lifetime.  

So, now I'm trying to come up with other things to get my mind off that movie, simply because it seems so real to me and like a very real possibility some time in my future.  I wouldn't be able to do that alone.  Each time I think about my husband and his health.  Okay...... Let's change the subject.  

Moving on......

Over the past several weeks I've been thinking about how to change up the walls in my family room a little.  You know, spruce things up a bit with a couple of new things (or at least new to me and maybe old things revamped and re-purposed in another way.) with a few more things that say something about our family and about who we are as a group.  I've looked at gallery wall ideas on Pinterest and the Internet, and at various pictures and family rule combinations and I found several that I loved.  BUT.  They just didn't seem to fit our family now.  My kids are a lot older and the whole "family rules" sign just doesn't seem to fit us these days.  So, I kept searching until recently when I found exactly what I think we need.

Since our oldest daughter moved out to go to school, and then eventually got married, I've noticed a few changes in our family as a whole and I feel like we are losing sight of who we are, and it's time to do something that will remind us all of who we are, what we stand for, and what I hope is most important for our family as a group.  I want this to be something they remember and hold on to as they get older and move on to have families of their own some day.

I've decided that our family needs a mission statement.  Not just any mission statement, but one that makes a statement on it's own.  I think the very fact of having a family mission statement makes a statement all on it's own and that statement is one of unity.  Establishing and honoring shared goals is an important part of every great team, and family-building is definitely a team sport. 

Who this will involve?  My husband and I will have to make this a joint project as we collaborate and work together to lead our family as we create our mission statement.

When unity is the focus, it becomes especially important for our family to create our mission statement together.  Every member, large or small, need to have a seat at the table to draft our mission statement or the final product won't mean enough to anyone to fulfill it's purpose.  A good mission statement is more than just a bunch of words strung together because they sound nice together.  The final product should reflect all the ideas and input your family has brainstormed about, scaled down to whatever carefully, prayerfully chosen worded thoughts best represent the entire group as a whole.  I found a basic format for our family mission statement.  Basically it's this:  Accomplish X by doing Y, in order to become Z.  It's a simple formula that appeals to me.  Here are a few tips for making it into a full-blown statement:  

X should be a broad, umbrella like phrase that states the overall goal of the family.  (For example:  To achieve our eternal potential as individuals and family members....)

Y should be at least 4 specific ways to accomplish that goal.  (Example:  by "being true to ourselves, our beliefs, and each other," "honoring The Savior and His sacrifice in all we do," "remembering our purpose on the earth," and "doing all we can to fulfill that purpose.")

Z should be at least 4 qualities you want your family to achieve through these methods.  (Example:  In this way, we can become more "good," "grateful," "giving," and "godly.")

Put all of these components together and you have a basic mission statement.  Of course, you may want to change the language a bit to make it more pleasing to the ear.  If you know what I mean?

How long with this process take?  I'm sure it varies for most families who have already thought through some of this, it'll just take a few hours of reaffirming their ideas.  For others, it may take a few evenings over the span of several weeks, going through questions, writing a draft, whittling it down, and finalizing the results.  Overall, it could take a total of 2-6 hours.

It certainly will be a process.  If you search the Internet there are some web tools, and questionnaires you can have your family complete as you talk about this process and your answers to the questionnaires.  I would also suggest that you pray about this, and write down your short comprehensive mission statement. For fun, you can display your mission statement somewhere prominent in your home.

Your goal is to come up with a timeless, easy to read, holistic mission statement that applies to everyone in the family.  By the end of this process, you should have a decent draft of your statement.  This will help you make decisions, feel confident about saying no, and be a bit better at focusing on the important instead of the urgent. 

Plan an evening to sit down as a family, and answer a few questions.  These questions are not comprehensive, feel free to elaborate on your own, to skip some things that don't seem to apply, and to focus on what's important for your family.  Mostly, these are meant to serve as a springboard to get your thoughts flowing. 

Here are a few questions to ask your family to answer:

1) What are a few strengths of each member of our family?
2) Collectively, we are at our best when we are....?
3) Collectively, we are at our worst when we are....?
4) If we had a completely free day together as a family, how would we spend it?
5) What are practical ways we can serve each other?
6) What are practical ways we can serve others outside our family?
7) Name three things you think you could do better as a family?
8) What would people say today about our family as a whole?
9) What would we like people to say about our family as a whole in 30 years?
10) If our home could be filled with one emotion, what would it be?
11) Name three adjectives we would like people to use to describe our home environment?
12) If we could name one principle from which we want our family to operate, what would it be?
13) What are the top four priorities we want our family to value?
14) What is the main purpose of our home?
15) What is the secondary purpose of our home?
16) What is the individual purpose in life of each member of our family?
17) What is one way we are unique as a family?
18) Describe the status of our family in 10 years.....
  • financially:
  • intellectually:
  • emotionally:
  • relationally with each other:
  • communally in our environment:
  • physically:
  • spiritually:
19) Where are you as a family in 10 years?  What does your home look like?
20) What is the purpose of life?

These can be some heavy questions that could seem over-the-top about something as daily as grocery shopping or paying the bills.  But here's the point,.....unless there's a motivating reason behind doing our day-to-day chores, we'll lose heart, and we won't care about our results.

When, as a family, we are convicted that our home is a tool by which we practice hospitality to others, it makes more sense to keep our home more "ready" to welcome friends.  It's a bit more motivating to keep it straightened up.

If one of our mail goals is to live simply and free from the burden of others, it makes sense that we live debt-free and not accumulate needless clutter.  This greatly helps us make financial we go in to debt to buy a plasma TV?  Do we charge a luxury cruise vacation on our credit card, or do we save money and forgo eating out for a few months, so that we can rent a lake house a few hours away and spend a quiet week together?

When we've made deliberate decisions about what we're about as a family, certain choices become a no-brainer.  Even fun.  You're at peace with the choices you make, because they align with your priorities, and they just make sense.  You can sleep at night. 

Here's what to do with your answers to the questions above:

1) Look at your responses and see if there's a theme.  If you repeatedly talk about making a difference in the community, perhaps God has given you that passion collectively with your family.  Of if your priorities seem to point to being good stewards of the environment, maybe a priority for you is to leave the earth better than you found it.  

2) See if you and your families answers differ in any way.  That could be a big deal, or it could be nothing.  Either way, it should spark some discussion between all of you.  

3) Highlight a few of your repeated themes, and find a few descriptive words to encompass them.  For example, if your answers repeatedly deal with being frugal, with not living among clutter, and having plenty of free time as a family, perhaps one of your descriptive words should be simplicity. 
4) Revamp some of your answers to be more timeless.  For example, if your answer to the question about one principle from which your family operates (#12) is "patience as we live through the baby and toddler years, you could talk about whether patience is a theme that's significant to all of you long-term.  Perhaps one of your guiding principals is forbearance, which means patient endurance and self-control.

5) Start crafting a draft of your family mission statement by way of your answers to the questions above.  There's no right or wrong way to write this, but I might suggest keeping it short, timeless, and applicable.  If it's too vague, it won't really help in your day-to-day decision making.  If it's too specific, it may paint you into a corner that you never intended. AND if it's too long, it'll be difficult to remember. 

Like the X,Y,Z formula above, you could try a skeleton formula like this....

We, the [family name], believe 
that our purpose as a family
is to [general mission
statement].  We will 
accomplish this by:

- valuing [principal] and [principal] as our main guiding principals
- making our home a place of [adjective], [adjective], and [adjective]
- prioritizing [value or action] above lesser values
- interacting with each other in a spirit of [adjective]

Let me emphasize that everything here - the questions, the outline, and everything in between, are just ideas to get you started.  Be creative and original!  Let your statement reflect who you are as a family.

Most of all, let your statement be one that guides you and you make future decisions, let it serve you as a family.  It's a tool, not an altar where you worship.  As you create your mission statement, you can create sub-points that can be a bit more immediate.  For example:  if one of your main points is that you will "value simplicity as a family," you can jot down some ideas of what this looks like for you in the next year.  For example, this could mean: 

- We will operate from one income, so that Mom can stay home and have adequate time to manage our family effectively.
- We will only allow outside commitments three nights per week, so that we have enough time at home as a family.
- We will eat out once every other week, so that we have enough funds to take a small vacation each year.

As you think through the implications of your family mission statement for the next year, you'll be able to see how certain home management tasks will be a priority, while others won't be as important.  It'll wipe away some needless guilt about "doing it all" (which is not possible, by the way), and will free you from a burden you were never meant to carry.  It'll also motivate you to hone certain home management skills, so that you can better serve your family.  AND if you're really excited about your results, you can print and frame your statement. 

So, plan a time this week to sit down with everyone and talk through some of your answers.  Perhaps you can individually answer some ahead of time, so that you can compare answers and get right to the meat of your statement.  Steve Covey has an incredibly useful tool on his website, where you can create a family mission statement, and a personal one, online for free.  Maybe each of you can use this tool in your spare time, print your results, and then compare them over dessert one evening.  Whatever you decide, from your answers, create a mission statement draft.  Just write something.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be a start.  Share your first draft on your blog, and write about your experience working through these questions and topics.  

I would also suggest that you actively utilize your families mission statement. Don't just plan a family counsel meeting to compose a statement and then move on.  Learn the words you choose and commit them to memory and recite them often.  Use your mission statement as a way to measure for family behaviors.  Then post your mission statement in a place in your home where all can see it every single day and be reminded what your family is all about.  Live it! Give this activity a try.  You'll be glad you did.

I can't wait to get working on this with my family.  I may have to wait a bit to include our missionary in the entire process, but it will be fun to get started and see where this takes up.  I'm exited! 

Time to get going. I've got a busy day tomorrow.  I saw my therapist this evening.  She, in her own way, let me know I was not the typical LDS woman at all.  I had to laugh.  I was telling her I could never be the type of LDS woman that refused to work, especially during a time when our family needed the income to survive.  (Like now for instance.)  She said she knew exactly what I meant and that I was certainly NOT the typical LDS woman by any means.  I took that as a compliment.  There is something the General Authorities of our church put of called The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  (It's essentially a world-wide church mission statement about our beliefs and responsibilities.)  It's this part that reminds me why I work.

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

I love this reminder.  I reminds me that sometimes the general responsibilities of fathers and mothers need to be changed up to adapt to certain situations and we should do all that we can to pitch in if we can.  I think some LDS women think they should not have to work at all.  While that is a wonderful ideal situation and we might all LOVE to have that opportunity, some do not always have the ideal situation and need to be willing to do their part to help their situations.  Don't get me wrong.  I would absolutely LOVE to be a stay at home Mom, but I would feel guilty right now if I wasn't doing all I could to help our financial situation right now.  I sleep better when I am contributing.  Enough said.  

Just so you can see the entire thing, here is the full Proclamation.

Take care my friends, and we will talk again soon.  

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