Sometimes, as our kids begin to get older, each of us can start to take different roads in our lives and we start to drift apart. As our children begin to assert their own beliefs and forge their own individual identities, friction can arise when these beliefs and identities clash with our own.
Clients often ask me;
- How can I get everyone in my family on the same page?
- How can I get my family to become a great team and stick together during the tough times?
- What can I be doing differently, or better, to get the results I would like for my family and me in the future – personally and professionally?
Having a family purpose, which everyone agrees on, will answer these questions and create harmony in your home.
First, remember that there is not one purpose that fits every family, and as a family grows, the purpose will change in part. The common aspect I seem to come across time and time again when I speak to families is that acceptance, understanding and kindness are the firm foundations on which a purpose is built and maintained.
When I began to see the value in developing my family’s purpose a few years ago, I asked my teenage children what they thought the purpose of our family was. I received interesting responses. My then 14-year-old son said, “the purpose of family was a place to live and to be friends.” My daughter, who was 12 said, “to care about each other, be nice to each other, trust, forgive and have fun together.” I then thought about what my then two year old would say – maybe to be safe, food, play, learning and kisses and cuddles?
I began to see that even though my children’s words were different to mine, my purpose of family was similar, “to have a home that is a safe and fun judgment free zone; where we can express ourselves and learn and grow together.”
We all had our own individual ways of expressing what our family purpose was. From these simple purpose statements we were able to set guidelines and boundaries so we could all work towards a common cause – a happy, healthy and safe home and family unit.
If you are experiencing constant conflicts in your home, why not consider creating a shared mission, which can reduce conflict and increase connection and encourage close relationships.
Mrs. Rose Kennedy said, “Children should be stimulated by their parents to see, touch, know, understand and appreciate.” She made the family a self-sustaining unit, with members allowed to go their own way while maintaining interest in the lives of the others. Rose immersed herself in the business of raising her family. As her son John, the nation’s first Catholic president, once put it, “she functioned as the glue that…always held the family together.” Her parenting purpose and mission could be seen to be ‘A Mother of Leaders.’
From the hundreds of families I speak to and coach, the ones who thrive as a team are the ones who are on purpose. They know who they are and where they are headed, as individuals and as a unit.
To keep your family moving in the right direction together:
- Talk – Nurture a home where everyone can feel comfortable to talk about his or her dreams, problems, fears, and ask questions. Eliminate fears of judgment or rebuttal, and make sure everyone feels that they are heard.
- Recognise trouble spots and weaknesses early – There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, after all it is just proof you are trying. Acknowledge problems and work together towards solutions. Deal with issues with open communication, confidence and not criticism. When someone is off track, come together as a group and take time to realign to the family purpose.
- Encourage autonomy – Inspire individuality and embrace differences, while working together towards a common goal. A family with purpose encourages independence and is rarely affected by outside pressures and influences.
Companies and organisations know the value of a purpose, mission statement, goals and visions. The most important corporation on the planet, I believe, is a family group. For your family the mission statement will be valuable tool to keep on track, clarify family values and guide daily interactions and decisions – keeping everyone on purpose.
My parenting mission is, and has been for nearly a decade –
“To be present with my family, guiding and managing in a positive and caring way. As I walk with them in their journey I will grow with them – and for my children I attempt to be the parent they need, which may not always be the one I think I should be. I will remember to nurture and reward myself so that I can keep showing up for them.”
Our family mission is –
“Together we are strong, together we can solve any problem and together we are happy. Our home is a safe place and as a group, or individually, we make time to contribute to our community. We respect and accept each other, even when we don’t agree; we laugh often and overcome obstacles as a team. We always remember to make sure that our own health is a priority so that we can keep showing up in our lives, and the lives of others.”
Enjoy your family that is on purpose – It is a mission possible!
How do you keep your family on purpose? Share with us below!
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