How to get going with your family’s mission statement


            Following are some guiding points that may help you toward creating your family’s mission statement:

  • Both parents need to agree before bringing the points to the children.
  • It is critical that the children see both parents present a united perspective. Children will recognize when there is weakness coming from one of the parents or discord between them.
  • The family is not a democracy.
  • Parents have the power, the experience, and the wisdom. The family is not a structure of one person/one vote. Your children are not consultants; they do not have the ability to see the big picture.
  • Express your statements by saying what you want -- not what you don’t want.
  • Make your statements in positive terms. Instead of saying, “We don’t call each other names,” say, “We call people by their given names.” Instead of saying, “We don’t hit or kick each other,” say, “We keep our hands, feet, and objects to ourselves.”
  • Explain your values by giving lots of examples to support each statement.

            The more examples you can give to support your statements, the easier it will be for the children -- especially the younger ones -- to understand what you are talking about. If part of your mission statement is, “Education is important in our family,” your examples might include these supporting statements:

  • We cooperate with the teachers at school.

  • We do all our homework.

  • We ask for help when we need it.

  • We attend school events such as the science fair, book fair, and the school play.

  • Parents attend at least two PTA meetings a year.

  • We do homework before we play.

  • We limit television and video watching to weekends, with a maximum of two hours every weekend.

  • We go to the library every week to check out books.

  • We save 20% of all money gifts for college

            Keep in mind that the earlier these values are discussed and established within the family, the easier they will be able to follow as children grow into their teenage years.

            Jay Davidson lives in Palo Alto, California and has been teaching in San Francisco for 31 years; he teaches first grade. He is the author of Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents, which is available from for $12.95. He can be reached through his website at

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson