Fruits of Our Family Mission Statement
Deacon Walter Middleton – When our children were small, we tried to show them who they were from the inside by being godly on the outside. Our parents instilled in us great principles and values and we wanted to do the same for our children so that they could be responsible citizens of the world. We encouraged them to be strong on the inside and at peace on the outside.
Most parents have goals and ambitions for their children, such as financial, physical, spiritual, good careers, and so on. Unfortunately, these goals and ambitions very rarely translate into reality. Unless one makes a firm commitment and prioritises what needs to be done, it will never happen.
The Making of the Mission Statement
One fine day we decided to sit down as a family and come up with a “Middleton Family Mission Statement”.
Each one of us took a piece of paper and jotted down what we thought should go into a mission statement. Once we had our list ready, we sat down, prayed for guidance and discernment, and then exchanged notes.
We then decided to create three lists, headed “most important”, “important” and “least important”. Then we started to draw up the “Middleton Family Mission Statement”. We added, deleted, and added and deleted again, till we all reached consensus.
Our Family Mission Statement was signed, sealed and delivered on June 6, 1995 — on my wife June’s birthday. My daughter was 16 years old at the time, and my son was 12.
We held each other accountable to the mission statement and adhered to it constantly.
Laying a Foundation that Lasts
While we might not have developed one new proficiency each year, we continued to adhere to all of our mission statement, which helped lay a strong foundation for our children.
My children have since moved out and are married with their own kids, but they continue to value and adhere to the mission statement.
They are very compassionate about taking care of the poor and needy. They pray regularly and go to church, which to us is important.
Due to their busy work life, they have not been able to involve themselves in parish activities, but they continue to make life better for others through charitable giving.
Some tips for developing a family mission statement:
– Commitment is the first step.
– Every family member needs to be on the same page.
– The family needs to consider what it holds as important.
– Know what the family’s goals are, based on their passions, dreams and aptitudes.
– It needs to spiritual and based on Scripture — love for God, loved for one’s parents, brothers and sisters, love for your neighbour and love for fellow human beings.
The beauty of putting a family mission statement in writing is that as you identify where you are right now, you’ll start to see a glimmer of where God wants to take you and your family in the years to come.
You may even find decisions easier to make, activities more enjoyable and family life more satisfying.
More importantly, you will help fulfil God’s purposes for your family now — and intentionally prepare your children for the work God has for them.
As the famous saying goes: “A family that prays together, stays together.” We as a family have prayed the Rosary daily, come what may.
Deacon Middleton serves in Johannesburg.