Having trouble getting your family members to head down the same path? You’re not alone.
We were struggling to all be heading in the same direction and Melissa and I prefer to be self-guided. We thought that without a clear vision and understanding of our values, it could become challenging to get anywhere together. We needed something that would tie us together, a set of guiding principles, a cornerstone to our family culture.
This was our challenge; we wanted to journey through life together as a family. We needed a common thread in our family that binds us together and serves as the basis for our decisions and behavior. Our initial direction was a family mission statement but we quickly realized that our children wouldn’t easily remember it. Melissa and I together wrote a rough draft of our values. Then we sat down together to have one of our very first Family Meetings.
We read over what we had written and explained it as best we could to our then 5 children. We tried to make it fun and allowed for the little ones to wander but did make sure that the older children knew this was important. Then we started to ask questions.
What words would you use to describe yourself?
What words would you want someone to use to describe our family?
Who is someone you admire and how would you describe them?
We wrote down all the feedback (Melissa was the scribe) and used terms that they knew and understood. This made it very personal to all of us. It has been further simplified over the years we have had it. What we created is a Family Pledge.
Our Family Will:
Do Our Best
This pledge is really very simple but also very powerful. We have a common path we are traveling and consult our pledge when we are making decisions. We have a deeper sense of meaning and good conversations about our values.
Writing a pledge is not difficult and the results are fantastic. We make it a point to say the pledge at the beginning and often also at the end of our family meetings. Even the 3-year-old knows the entire pledge by heart.
If you are struggling to walk the same path, please consider giving this a try. If you have any questions I would be happy to help.
Step 1 – Call a family meeting to talk about creating a pledge and explain the problem/challenge to the family in words they will understand
Step 2 – ask yourself and everyone in your family open ended questions *add a worksheet
Step 3 – write a simple family pledge using the words that were used during the family meeting
Step 4 – Use the pledge often, write it down, display it where the family can see it and use the words daily
Suggestion is a very powerful tool. Having a pledge is a fantastic way to suggest and remind yourselves of the type of person and family you want to be. For us, the family pledge is our rock.