Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Family Purpose Statement

This past spring I participated in "Project: Simplify" with Simple Mom. The challenge was to tackle 5 clutter Hot Spots in 5 weeks. I had already read Tsh's book, Organized Simplicity, in which she discusses writing a family purpose statement. Sounded like a nice idea, but things like laundry, making dinner, and kid-refereeing seemed a bit more pressing at the time.

However, in the online Project: Simplify challenge, she again strongly encouraged writing a purpose statement before beginning the purging, with the idea it would provide a compass for making decisions.

Well, phooey. I play by the rules. So this was the kick in the pants I needed to tackle the purpose-writing. Luckily, I have a husband who is totally into that kind of thing (such an over-achiever, I tell ya), so we sat down one night to knock it out.

Tsh outlines 20 questions intended to guide the process. The idea is that as you answer these questions, some common themes surface, and you latch onto these to write the statement.

So we answered the questions, and in the time it took me to read back our answers, Pete had crafted a statement. We tweaked it a little, and here's where we ended up:

Titterington Family

Purpose Statement

Our family mission is to build a home where we can be ourselves, and learn to love and be loved.

Our home should be a space where all feel

safe, honest, and welcome.

We strive to be fully present in the moment so that we are…

Loving each other,

Loving others,

Living simply,

Ready and available to help,

Spiritually aware,

Physically active,

Constantly learning,

Unafraid of future and failure,

Embracing optimism and joy,

And full of gratitude.

We seek to recognize, respect, and grow each others’ complementary strengths, maximizing what we each do best for the benefit of the family and to serve the community as a whole.

I'm sure it will be altered over time, and I feel like there are some other ideas I want to get in there somehow, but it works for now.

We keep it on our fridge. So what the heck, the internet is the new fridge, right? It might as well be here, too.

Maybe it will inspire someone somewhere to write one as well. It's one of those "important but not urgent" tasks that could probably use a shift up the priority list.

You'd be surprised at how much having this thing around helps in everyday decision-making. We are all constantly faced with decisions about how to spend our limited time, money, and energy, not to mention how to guide our kids in these areas. And with every decision comes an opportunity cost - a sacrifice associated with giving up any benefits of the option(s) you didn't choose. The ever-present reminder of "what we're about" not only helps in making the initial decision, but also in finding continued peace in that choice and its associated sacrifices as time goes on.

All right, are you inspired? Ready, set, go!

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