The Family Mission Statement


            What are the values that your family holds? Taking time to think and talk about them is a way for parents to convey them to their children. This communication also engenders a sense of belonging to the group, as all the members work toward the same goals.

            An effective way to work on this would be the following process:

  • The parents talk between themselves about what is important to them.
  • The parents tell their children about these values.
  • The entire family discusses the values so that everyone understands them.
  • The parents guide all family members to make sure that actions match the stated values.

            Once the parents have decided that this is an approach they want to take, they tell their children and have a family discussion about it, possibly at the dinner table. They help the children to understand what the benefits are when all members of the family do this.

            To enforce the importance of this statement, they could: have a set dinner time, ask for children’s suggestions in planning the meal, find ways for children to help with meal preparation, and be sure to include all family members in table discussions.

            If they put their efforts toward making this an enjoyable time for family members to share each other’s company and gather family solidarity from it, then the children will continue to value the time together.

            The family mission statement can cover a wide diversity of values to be decided, first by the parents and then by all members. Consider any of these topics for inclusion in yours:

  • the way money will be saved and spent
  • the importance of education
  • the amount of family time you will spend together
  • the importance of activities outside the home and school
  • the responsibilities each member of the family will have toward maintaining the household

            In next week’s column, I will give you some guiding points to help you get started in creating your family’s mission statement.

            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