The Importance of a Family Vision Statement
by Charmaine Wistad

Most of us have heard the phrase: “Aim at nothing and you’re sure to hit it.”  Many also know the scripture from Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  But how do these ideas apply to families – your family?

Every important organization in the world has some sort of vision or purpose statement.  The family is the building block of all society.  Since the family is the most fundamental and important organization in the world, it too should have a vision statement.  Without a vision, families tend to drift and sometimes even disintegrate.

Stephen R. Covey, the author of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, describes a vision statement as “…beginning with the end in mind”.  Therefore, the opposite of a vision statement (or beginning with the end in mind) is to begin with no end in mind or to just kind of let life happen without sense of compass, map or purpose.  Doing this is not truly living. It’s allowing your family life to be ‘lived’ by circumstances, societies values and happenstance rather than by your choices to live a certain way.

A well written family vision statement will answer life’s great questions: Why am I here (purpose)? Where am I going (vision)? How will I get there (mission)? What’s important and right (values)? It is like a compass that guides your course. When referred to regularly, it helps to shape the goals you set and the decisions you make that will lead to your desired destination.

Some families have strong religious beliefs that take center stage in forming their family vision.  Others have a deep desire to touch their community or world and will craft their statement to reflect those values.  Some families find their focus in maintaining tightly knit and supportive bonds between the individual members of the family. Their statement will help them build a strong sense of love and commitment within their own home.

Whatever your family’s personal priorities, seeing them written down is an excellent way to gain focus and keep on track as a group. The actual process of coming up with an official family vision statement can sometimes be the most enlightening and beneficial aspect of this whole idea.
Will a family vision statement guarantee that there will be no troubles, detours or mishaps on the way to your desired destination?  No, there will be bumps in the road and many times you will even be off course. But if the desired destination remains clear you can always come back to it.  Without a clear destination the journey will be much more stressful and erratic.

Let me leave you with this wonderful story that Stephen R. Covey related on his audio tape series:

“Over 50 years ago, before this couple was even married, they would sit on the porch, look up at the stars and think about their future together.  They loved each other very much and would talk about all their dreams.  In their minds they could see their future children – they talked about the way they would raise them and what they wanted them to be like when they grew up.  They discussed what they wanted their home to be like when no one was there except their family.  They talked about how, as the years went by, they would fall more and more in love.  Then, when it got late, he would kiss her goodbye and go home.  She would then go in the house and write down all the dreams and ideas they had talked about.  50 years later, she still had what she wrote saved in her cedar chest. Their then adult children practically memorized these notes because each year on their anniversary, they would read them as a family. They would ask the children if they wanted to add anything or suggest something new and then she’d write their thoughts and ideas down.  The children took copies with them when they married. She said: “Everything we wrote has come true for ourselves and for our 3 children.”

I hope this article and story will inspire and encourage you to take the necessary steps to write your family vision statement.  Many families find it very helpful to hire a life coach to help them work through this process.  See information below for information on Victory Coaching.

Here are some resources that will help:
•    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families : Building a Beautiful Family Culture in a Turbulent World by Stephen R. Covey (ISBN #0307440087)
•    How to Develop a Family Mission Statement (Audio Cassette, 1996) by Stephen R. Covey (ISBN #1883219280)

Charmaine Wistad has successfully homeschooled her own two children from pre-school through high school. Now she is turning her attention toward helping other homeschool moms. Through personal coaching, Charmaine helps homeschooling moms thrive… not just survive! Visit her website to try a complimentary no-obligation telephone coaching session.