A family is not a business. But in many ways the aspects of the business model is indeed incorporated into the family dynamic. The parents could be considered the managerial staff: keeping the accounting books in the black, restocking supplies, general overview and running of the mill. The children or teens; however, are not mere employees doing their due diligence to get the work cranked out. Nothing would get done if we had those sorts of expectations!
Instead, I like to think of the parent/teen scenario as the parents being the dept. managers who are about to retire or be promoted, and they are training their teens to be their replacement.
Offices sure do run better when the manager sticks around to train his replacement, rather than controlling every aspect until the last minute and then throwing the new guy on the job only half-ready or not at all. There’s a ripple effect affecting everyone in the business when things of that nature happen, and there’s a similar effect when teens leave the nest without the proper training.
So how do we change our thinking from “I’m in charge, I’m the boss,and I say what goes” to a healthier vision of training our replacement? It takes work and dedication. But I’ll give you a few tips.
If you go online and look up your favorite companies, on each business’s website you’ll find a Mission Statement. A mission statement outlines the reason the business exists, it’s goals and how it hopes to achieve them.
I’d like you to please take a moment to ask yourself, “What is the mission of my family?”
It’s okay if you have never thought about this before, you’re thinking about it now. This is a helpful tool to help get your family in sync. It brings communication and closeness between all the members in the family. Here’s how:
- Gather the family and brainstorm a list of values, as many as you can think of! Here’s a starter set: Accountability, Commitment, Courage, Faith, Gratitude, Loyalty, Privacy, Promise Keeping, Respect, Responsibility, Self-restraint, Teamwork, Tradition. There are many more, what are some that resonate with you and your family?
- Now that you have your list, ask everyone in the family to write down their top five values.
- Let each person discuss why they chose each value – doing this as a round robin keeps the conversation going and avoids boredom and feeling lectured by the other family members.
- Pick between 4 and 6 values to incorporate in your mission statement.
- Write your statement using the values. An example using a few values listed above would be: “In our family we value being respectful to one another, keeping our commitments, expressing gratitude, and remembering to walk in our faith. We do this so we can enjoy our time together and be a positive influence on our friends and the world.”
Now, consider writing a mission statement describing your family’s identity (who you want to be) and purpose (what you want to achieve together). Memorize it and review it regularly. When needed, ask each other: “How does the decision we’re making reflect our Mission?”
All the members of your family are invested in seeing it through, because all the members had a hand in creating it. You are a family, you are a team.
Written by Jessica Wilkerson, M.A.
You can find this, and other articles by Jessica Wilkerson at www.jessicawilkerson.com/blog
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Jessica, you can contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (530) 921-5122.
Jessica works for Chico Creek Counseling as a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern #IMF69783 under the supervision of Joe R. Taylor, LMFT #MFT46406.