Every organization, institution, project and school term paper begins with a purpose statement. It’s the “why” – why an organization exists, why a project is being executed, or in the case of a term paper, why we were spending so many late-night hours typing a 12-page, double-spaced paper.
An effective purpose statement sums up the “why” in a short, concise, declarative statement. It serves an important function; it keeps us on task and provides a clear direction.
The family is such an important institution that it was the first one God set up. His masterpiece wasn’t the majestic mountains, the magnificent color of the assorted flowers or the diversity of the animal kingdom. It was the family. And He gave it a purpose – to reveal His character.
Still, we spend more time deliberately thinking about purpose in our jobs than we do in our families. If we want to have a family of purpose, we have to be purposeful about it. It won’t happen on its own.
Perhaps our families could benefit from a definitive Family Purpose Statement. Having such a statement won’t make your family perfect, but it will help to solidify what your family holds to be true and important. Instilling these ideas in your children is sure to help them navigate life’s challenges.
In preparing your Family Purpose Statement, prayerfully seek God’s direction. Then set aside some time with your family for discussion. Here are a few questions to help start the conversation:
What kind of family are we, and what kind of family do we want to be?
What things make you want to come home every day?
What do we want people to say or know about us?
How do we want to treat each other inside our home, and how do we want to treat people outside our home?
How do we want to contribute to society?
These questions represent the many possible ones you could ask. Let each family member be heard, and consult the numerous resources available online, if needed. Most importantly, consult the One who set up the family in the first place. If you ask God to help you in this process, He will. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14 ESV). It is certainly God’s will that our families become families of purpose.
As I pass through our home, I often look at a particular piece of wall art. A number of short statements are written on it, including these: Be Happy, Work Hard, Give Thanks, Help Others, Do Your Best and Remember You are Loved.
Because these statements are prominently displayed, I’m able to read them regularly. They certainly make me think about how I act and interact with others on a regular basis. In the same way, developing a Family Purpose Statement is a beneficial step for every family because it helps all its members remember why their family exists.