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    Strong and stable families do not happen by chance. Positive family culture is built intentionally over the years. And how do you create one for your family? You start with a clearly-articulated 'family vision statement,' a combined, unified expression from all family members of your principles and what your family is all about — what it is you really want to do and be. 
     
    This written declaration isn't a guarantee of family success, but it can help establish a family's identity even as it reinforces what is essential.  

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    Although most parents have unspoken goals for their children — financial, spiritual, physical, emotional — these big ideas seldom translate into reality accidentally. 

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    How do you create a family vision statement? 

    A compelling vision tells you who you are (purpose), where you're going (picture of the future), and what will guide your journey (your values). Ask yourselves these questions: 

    • Purpose: What's the purpose of your family? What business is your family in?  
    • Picture of the Future: What will your family's future look like if you are accomplishing your purpose?  
    • Values: What does your family stand for? What values will guide your journey?  
    • Goals: What needs to be accomplished? What goals do you want your family members to focus on today?  

    If you can't answer these questions, you don't have a compelling vision. Without a clear vision and direction, the rest of your parenting efforts won't matter. If you cut children loose without any direction or guideline, they can lose their way. 
     
    A strong family vision statement provides the guidelines for your children. These guidelines are boundaries that channel energy in a particular direction. It's like a river — if you take away the banks, it won't be a river anymore but a large puddle, devoid of momentum and direction. What keeps the river flowing are its banks, its boundaries.  

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    Once your vision is established, you can create goals to inform family members about what they need to focus on right now. 

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    How long will it take to create a family vision statement? 

    That depends on your family's ability to work together, your individual personalities, and the compatibility of your goals. The first step isn't to get words on a paper but to commit to creating and living within a prescribed vision and set of values.  

    Each person in your family has different strengths, dreams, and goals. Writing a vision statement can initially help parents focus on guiding their children's direction and building a family identity. Over time, these same vision statement can define how the different personalities and talents in a family come together for a concentrated direction outside the home, too. After all, there's no reason why your family's vision statement can't become your personal vision statement, as well.  

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    Here's one example of a Family Vision Statement:  

    The purpose of my family is to show my wife and our children the unconditional love of God in each and every day. To teach them to respect others and be responsible.  
     
    My picture of the future is for my children to be persons of character, hard-working, successful, and significant with unquestionable integrity. We will always remain close and united, even if our desire to grow as individuals will keep us physically apart. 

    Our goals are to pray over my children's lives, future pursuits, and even for their future spouses; to teach them to pray to God about their concerns and desires; and help them do well in school as well as other endeavors they have committed to doing.  

    The beauty of putting your mission statement in writing is that as you identify where you are right now, you'll start to see a glimmer of where you want to take your family in the years to come. You may even find it easier to make decisions and have a more satisfying family life. 

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    In companies, people look to the leader for vision and direction. In families, that role falls to the parents. Don't be afraid of this role. It's not about being bossy — it's about setting up your family, your children to win. 
     
    Read Boris Joaquin's earlier article, 3 Steps to Help Your Teen Find Out Her "Why" in Life here

    Boris Joaquin is a corporate trainer, executive coach, and consultant. He is the founder of Project Purpose Philippines, co-founder of Breakthrough Leadership Management Consultancy, which carries Salt and Light Ventures, and is an Investors in People specialist. Boris is married to Michelle Ocampo-Joaquin and has two daughters Ysobel and Julia. 

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