It's March-the time when New Years resolutions typically begin to fall into oblivion. I decided to think outside the box and created a visual and interactive format for our mission statement that would keep it top of mind through the whole year. But first...have you ever tried to make New Years resolutions with kids? We had a resolutions brainstorming meeting with our children in January. I got suggestions like:
-visit more cats
-grow long hair,
-let a song play all the way through rather than start it over and over after only 5 seconds of play (this one was imposed on our toddler by his older siblings)
I thought to myself, OK good start, but maybe we should add a few goals that are informed by an adult brain. So I asked my husband. His goals "eat good food and be more like Ian (our 8 year old)". OK maybe we need a few more goals informed by me. Then Jerry and the kids all went back to watching YouTube. Guy on a Buffalo, Charlie the Unicorn, gummy bear song. Sometimes I feel like my head will explode from the stupidity of these clips. Then I got to thinking, "can I somehow create a family mission plan that is visual?" One that we can "watch". They have memorized Charlie the Unicorn (thanks for that, Jerry), why not memorize our family objectives? Then my idea of a presentation based mission statement was born. Yes I could have used PowerPoint, or slides, but for ultimate visual appeal, I chose Prezi.
Thus our visual and interactive family mission statement was born. Go right to the finished product here. (Note, the cool transition effects can only be seen in the Prezi app or on a desktop computer. The "zooming" in and out along a path is what makes the content so appealing, so I highly recommend watching it in it's full glory). Keep reading for the how and why of our mission statement below.
Why I have a family mission statement (top 3 reasons):
1) Jerry and I get along better with a mission statement.
2) It illuminates the things I need to say "no" to.
3) It prevents whining.
Allow me to elaborate:
1) For any of you who know my husband, you know how passionate he is about his career as a Realtor. He loves people, he loves our city, he loves helping finding people a place to live in our city. But all that passion and creativity, combined with the wonky hours Realtors tend to keep, makes him a hard guy to nail down sometimes. He just seems to be always be orbiting at a different velocity and direction than me. He never lives the same day twice, he works the most bizarre hours, and because he works in sales, paycheques are unpredictable in their amount and frequency. The only way we create stability in our relationship and the relationship with our children is to have an overarching set of values and principles that we use to make our decisions. I can handle a fair bit of variability in money and schedules when I know we are being true to marriage goals and true to the kind of parents we want to be. We get along better when we have our mission statement in place.
2) It illuminates the "no". If your calendar is full and overflowing and you feel like you are running around with your hair on fire, it's time to take a look at your targets. Is one more extracurricular activity going to help your family meet its full potential? Maybe, maybe not. That's for you to decide. And when I say you I mean you, as a group, plural. The power of the collective conscious. I say no to most activities and events. Not because they are bad, simply because they tend to be a distraction.
3) Are the kids whining at you? "Why do I have to put my phone away a dinner?"
"Why to we have to work on _?"
"Why can't we _?" (On my bad days, I ask myself why I had children). But the why is there, in the mission statement. If it's not, well, see point 2.
How I created it (8 steps)
Jerry and I sat down and each listed our top 5 priorities for our family for this year. Then we compared notes and tweaked them to emphasize our top ideas.
I broke down our top categories into steps so the goals weren't so vague.
Then I stuck them into Prezi (PowerPoint on steroids).
I showed it to Jerry, tweaked it, and changed the background to our family photo.
I showed it to the kids and told them they had 3 days to suggest changes to our family goals and list their own personal goals.
Three days later (ok, maybe 5 days) I asked the kids for their insight and added it in.
I made it look pretty.
I gave it to Jerry to edit it and make it look prettier.
Note: I will alter these goals at any point. In fact by summer, I guarantee I will have thrown out some of these ideas and re-written new ones. Six months is a long time in family life, after all.
Want to see it? (Take my word for it and watch it in the Prezi app or on a desktop computer).
Voila! Now, the plan is to watch it once a week. Since it is in the format of a "presentation" we can change our objectives very easily. In fact we made some changes just a few hours ago. It's also really neat to hear them call out "we did that" as they recognize that we are following through with our goals.
Do you have a family mission statement? I would love to know about how you created it and how you keep it fresh. Leave a comment or email me!