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Developing Your Family’s Mission and Values

Hillary and I have been reading through Bruce Feiler’s new book “The Secrets of Happy Families” and have been devouring it. The ideas and principles are different from any other parenting book yet practically transformative. Definitely worth picking up!

One of the insights Feiler found as he talked to different families was coming up with a list of values and mission statement that are unique to your family. I don’t want to explain the whole process because I really think you should pick up the book. In chapter 3 titled “Branding Your Family,” Feiler dives into how it is important to discover and communicate your family “brand.” So often we develop values and mission for our work but don’t bring those principles home.

On New Year’s Eve, we sat down with our girls and came up with ten values that fit our family.¬†We asked our girls the following four questions from The Secrets of Happy Families:

  1. What words best describe what we want our family to be like?
  2. What is most important to our family?
  3. What are our strengths as a family?
  4. What sayings best capture our family?

We kept the discussion short because we wanted to keep their interest but it was cool to see what was going through their minds. It is so important to have our girls play a role in what our family is becoming.

Now we will hang these values and mission statement by our kitchen table so we can refer to them with the girls.

Here are our Newton Family Values and Mission Statement:

Family Values Poster


Council of Dads

What would happen to your children if you passed away? Who would be there for their birthday parties, the first date and their wedding? For Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible, these questions became reality when he was diagnosed with cancer. He worried about who would be there for his daughters as they grew up and experienced the big moments of their childhood. Feiler decided to be proactive and form a “Council of Dads” who would be there for his daughters as they experienced life without him. Watch Feiler talk about this experience below.

Thankfully, Feiler is cancer free now and has written a book Council of Dads chronicling his journey with cancer. You can find out more about this “council of dads” idea on Feiler’s website. I love the idea of forming a council of dads for our children. We don’t have to be facing a serious disease to form a group like this. It is important to recognize that we have a role to play in the lives of children in our community regardless if they are our own. Even though Hillary and I don’t have sons, I get the privilege of being a “dad” to the boys at our church and in our neighborhood. Who can you be a “father” or a “mother” to in your neighborhood or sphere of influence?