The day I brought our children home from school to homeschool them was not the day we decided on a mission or planned a strategy! Beyond the, “I know I should homeschool our children,” and now starting to teach them to read, I did not know what I was doing!
The children and I spent much of our time reading on the couch together. Not only were those some of the best days, but I can see in our own children, and now in our grandchildren, how loved and secure this makes them feel and how curious and smart it makes them. Thirty years later, I still agree with the Christian school principal who told me to take the children home and love them and read to them. I am so thankful for his words of wisdom.
Sometime during those first few happy years, my husband, a lifelong strategist, said we should develop a mission and a strategy. We sat down and talked about what we wanted to see in our children. Think about it. What do you want for your children? For those of us who really love our children and are committed to preparing them for life, our list of desires for them is long!
When my husband and I talked about all that we wanted for our children, we began with the end in mind. What did we want for our children as adults? I had hundreds of things I wanted for them, while he kept returning to one thing: He did not want our children to be dysfunctional.
Once you’ve had the discussion with your spouse and together have generated all kinds of wonderful ideas for your children, it’s time to pare them down to a mission statement. Within a mission are important goals accompanied by strong conviction. These goals are the things you feel most strongly about, the things that you don’t want to happen any other way. A mission statement contains these goals and should be kept very direct and simple.
Too many main points in your mission and you may not achieve any of them. We chose three main points. Here is our mission statement.
Ron’s and My Mission Statement:
- To pass on our faith in Jesus Christ to our children.
- To teach our children to read, write, think, and communicate well both verbally and in writing.
- To help our children to be self-motivated and become independent.
This is not everyone’s mission – it was ours. It was what we decided together that we wouldn’t want to leave undone, what in clear conscience, we could not leave undone. These were the things we strongly believed would prepare our sons and daughters for life.
Your mission statement may look quite different. The main thing is that you have one. You’ve probably heard it said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Having a mission is like having a target, you have something to aim for. If you haven’t decided yet on a mission for your family, schedule time with your spouse today to begin talking about it. (If you don’t have a spouse, seek the counsel of a trusted friend or pastor; if you do have a spouse, go to them, not a friend.)
I cannot encourage you enough to do this. From my vantage point now, I know the importance of creating a mission statement (and sticking with it) even more than I did at the time we wrote it. When we wrote it, it was just a good idea, but through the years of homeschooling, it became my standard for everything. Did this particular curriculum, activity, or experience line up with our mission? If so, which ones would best promote our mission? Having the mission statement simplified the many, many decisions I needed to make for our family. And most importantly, the mission we began with is where we have pretty much landed thirty years later.*
What do you want for your children? That question can seem overwhelming. I mean, what don’t we want for our children! Begin with the end in mind by asking yourself what you want for your children as adults. If you could give them anything, what would it be? Ask God for his guidance as you consider your mission.
*Having a mission and strategy, and carrying it out well, does not guarantee your children will turn out as you may have planned. For the most part, it works that way, but remember, we are dealing with humans – on their part and on ours.