Monday, October 1, 2012

Where There is No Vision...the Children Misbehave?

Our princess, hard to believe she would
ever misbehave, right?
Successful corporations have them, winning teams use them and when created and communicated properly they can change the course of a business in a short amount of time.  What am I talking about? 
Vision and mission statements.  These two simple and under- valued concepts can and have changed the course of million dollar companies.  Can these same concepts change the course of a child’s behavior?  I believe the answer is yes.  In fact the Bible says in, Proverbs 29: 18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. I really like the Amaerican Standard translation of this verse, Proverbs 29:18 (New American Standard Bible Copyright, 1995) Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law.  With that verse in mind I would venture to say that without a family vision…the children misbehave.   Can something as simple as a mission statement help your family?  Here are my 3 reasons for creating and communicating a family vision and mission statement.

1.       It puts my husband and I on the “same page” so to speak.  After 3 kids and several years of marriage, I was amazed that we still did not approach discipline in the same way.  Why? Because we both had our own ideas of what we wanted our children to learn and behaviors that we thought were acceptable.  Actually sitting down and creating a vision statement for your family will help to put ideas into perspective, for you both.  For example my husband and I both want our children to be respectful, kind and patient; however, it wasn’t until I started the process of  creating a vision statement that I realized how important it was to my husband for our children to have a good work ethic.  This process has opened up a dialogue between my husband and I about our family expectations and discipline.  We are less likely to feel like we are alone in the discipline and as a Mother I definitely feel like I have his support more than ever because we know what we expect from our children and why we expect certain behaviors.

2.       It makes picking my battles easier.  When my oldest was very young, I remember my mother telling me “Pick your battles.”  I knew she was saying, you can’t sweat the little things; however what is a little thing?  Saying, please and thank you?  Cleaning up their room?  Sharing their toys?  Listening certain music? Getting a haircut?  It wasn’t until I went through the process of creating a vision statement for our family that I was able to see which behaviors were “priority battles” in need of immediate attention and which ones were small “scrimmages” that I may just need to let go of.

3.       Having a family vision and mission statement gives me a guide to measure my children’s behavior and progress.  You can’t measure, what you can’t define.   A family vision statement will help you define what “good behavior” is within your household, thereby giving you a way to measure how your child is progressing and what you should be working on with your child.  For example if “Good behavior” is defined as being kind to others and treating our possessions with care and purpose and your child is very kind and polite (always saying Please and Thank you) but they have trouble when it comes to being careful with their toys(they leave them outside or forget to pick them up).  Then you can pat yourself and your husband on the back for teaching good manners to your child (it is nice to see where you are succeeding).  Next you have to address what is lacking and knowing the behavior you want to change is half the battle. You can’t just say I want my child to be well-behaved, you have to say “I want my child to show more care and purpose for their possessions.”.  Once the behavior is defined, you can start to develop a plan for teaching or correcting that behavior.       
What is your family vision? 

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