Sunday, February 24, 2013

We Have a Mission Statement!

[Note--the main focus of this post didn't turn out quite the way I had planned. It was going to be all about our new family mission statement, but it sort of turned into a love letter to my parents. Mom and Dad, I love you both.]

The other night, Prickly Dad and I were lying in bed talking about philosophical things like the future of humanity (or at least the next generation), what we learned in school and how it helped (or didn't help) us in real life, how we will make sure the boys learn about civics without being homeschooled (we'll have to teach them at the dinner table), and other sundry issues about raising kids.

" what is it, essentially, that we're we trying to do here?" I asked, out loud.  "We're trying to raise well-rounded, productive members of society who care about others."


There it was, hanging in the air right in front of me, our family's mission statement. We've all read parenting articles that suggest we work backward, first identifying the end goal in the raising of our children, then basing our parenting methods and decisions on how they jibe with the goal. I, myself, have long thought that was a pretty good idea, but have let it fall to the wayside because it has always been too daunting a task to come up with the "perfect" end goal.

We're trying to raise well-rounded, productive members of society who care about others. I knew it was our mission statement the moment it popped out of my mouth, and I wanted to run out to Michael's to get a slab of wood and some transfer paper to make a cool, type-designed proclamation to hang in the kitchen a-la all the inspirational wall-hangings we've all seen pinned on Pinterest (I'll still do this, although who knows when). These are the values my parents taught me, although I highly doubt they ever voiced them as bullet points or even thought about them in a concrete manner while they were raising their kids.

Now that I think about it, my mom and dad lived these values--they didn't use any fancy, preconceived parenting techniques. We learned by example. I watched my dad leave for work every morning before seven and come home all grubby every afternoon without complaining. My mom took us to the library once a week. We read the newspaper as a family. I saw my parents struggle to quit smoking and eat more healthfully. They had hobbies. They loved doing research on topics like homeopathy or spirituality or even alien abductions (back when you had to--gasp--go to the library and write letters to send away for information). I listened in when my mom would soothe my sister's friends whose own moms was too busy for them. Okay, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Here's the take-away: I have my parenting mission statement, I see that my parents led by example, now I need to let up on myself a little bit and just remember to BE the person Mom and Dad taught me to be, and the rest will follow. Yes, we still need some Prickly Family rules and some better organization, but again, I think the train is getting a little bit closer to being on the right track.

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