So we worked on our family mission statement this weekend, and I read the Bruce Feiler chapter about talking to your kids about sex.
We’re enjoying taking the mission (he calls it branding) slowly… what do we stand for, really? What are the most important things to all of us? When my J. and I talked about this before, our kids were younger and not part of our conversation. Now that we all have something to bring to the table, it feels more important, and better.
*EPIPHANY!* At dinner this evening we were talking about the words that represented our family. It was an okay conversation, but then I had an epiphany. I asked my daughters, “How would you want to describe us to, let’s say, a friend from college who can’t go home for Thanksgiving. How would you want to complete this… “Come to our house… it’s _______; for Thanksgiving we always ________; my mom ___________; my dad _____________.” Then our talk really evolved.
As for the sex chapter– the basic premise is what I’ve always suggested. Here is a link to all the places sex appears on my website.
And now, I’m feeling like the Secrets of Happy Families blog posts are coming to an end. I’ll check back in on them now and again. I would really suggest, if you feel like you’ve had your fill of parenting books, or if you are looking for one, that this is healthy part of a parenting library. Even if you feel your “parenting booked out” I would add this one to the shelf.
One of my favorite parenting sentence starters is, “In our family we…” and it’s usually followed by, something like:
- Are gentle.
- Use words to explain how we feel.
- Think about others and ourselves.
- Bathe / shower at least 3 times a week…
And more, some invented on the spot when necessary. Predictably, as my children get older, they take on some of these statements.
Me: “In our family, we use words to tell people when things bother us.”
Daughter: “That’s not true! She just punched me!”
All of this speaks to the vision we have of our family, the reality, and knowing we need to strive for shared goals. Those goals need to be realistic yet lofty, thought through by every member of the family, and keep everyone in mind without drastically compromising your sense of self. This is what I have been calling your family mission. It was the first part of your family map.
Enter Bruce Feiler and the chapter about “branding your family”. Another great way to think about these same ideas.
We’ll be working on our family mission for the next couple of weeks. I have been taking this book very slowly– letting it all seep in. It adjusts and polishes many things I’ve been writing and thinking about for a long time. It’s nice to have another perspective. Thanks, Bruce!
P.S. Check back on the family meeting post to see how our family meetings are going as a result of our simple changes.