Kids grow up so fast.
The world changes even faster.
What will your family be like in five years? Ten years?
Do you have a vision for your family’s future? Do you have an idea of the values and the principles that are your family’s foundation?
Stephen Covey wrote extensively about the importance of having a vision for the future and the necessity of a family being proactive and beginning with the end in mind. Although well known for his Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, he also wrote about and created a program for families to encourage them to design a family mission statement.
Why One Word?
Currently there is a movement to focus on one word for the year instead of creating resolutions or goals. While I believe both to be important, I do think that focusing first on one word as a cornerstone for the year is a vital and worthwhile approach. Most goals or resolutions fail because individuals focus on doing rather than first being. While actions are important and necessary, they must first come from a mindset of who we want to be or our vision of our best self.
Even small children can be encouraged to select a word as their focus for the year. I often did this exercise in classroom guidance lessons and students always enjoyed it. Not only does it immediately engage their creative side but also gives great insight as to their interests and goals.
Selecting a Family Word
Once each member of the family has selected a word for the year, it is then time for everyone to share their words and then select a family word to focus on. Some questions to think about might be:
What words would describe what you think the family should be?
What do you really want the family to accomplish together?
How should we treat each other?
How is our family different and unique?
How can our family be the best we can be?
What are your dreams for our family?
Write down the ideas and then select one or more words for the family to focus on for the year.
Making a Family Vision Board
One way to creatively extend the selection of one word is by creating a family vision board. Families can create a vision board by illustrating their family word (or words) with pictures, photographs, and words or phrases cut from magazines or even drawn on poster board. It can be a fun and eye-opening experience that becomes a visual reminder each day of what the family values . Even young children can help with this project and interact with the family over shared goals.
Just as determining your own one word can empower you personally and help you determine your priorities, it can transform the family as well. Whether you are planning a vacation or chastising a child for a behavior problem, you can ask both the child and yourself: Am I following our family’s one word with my words and actions? If not, how can I change my words and actions so that I am true to the mission of our family? I can’t think of anything more powerful that you can do as a parent to develop a focus in 2015 than to select one word to guide you.