Friday, August 12, 2011

Guest Post: Jeffrey B. Oddo

In writing my book, THE 10 KIDMANDMENTS, I learned more about myself and being a parent than I ever realized I would.  One of the most gratifying things about being a published author and having others read, review, and comment on your work is often the affirmation of the things you are doing right.  This has certainly been the case for me in reference to the portion of my book discussing FAMILY MISSION STATEMENTS.  This simple suggestion has been one of the most popular aspects for readers to both relate to, and one of the easiest and most fun things to implement into their families.

As the CEO of a very large company, I recognize the relevance of a company mission statement.  It gives us direction, reminds us why we do what we do, and allows us a guidepost  to which we can refer in times when things do not seem to be properly aligning.

Having a family mission statement could be the single most important take-away from my book THE 10 KIDMANDMENTS. I can certainly attest that it is a huge part of what makes my own family (me, my wife and three daughters) a successful and a powerful, cohesive team.  If you have not identified what is important to you and your family, now is the time. Once the kids become teenagers, the chances of making an impact are greatly diminished. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend it if your kids are teenagers, I would just encourage you to do this sooner rather than later.

Why a FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT?  If your children are struggling with being respectful, motivated, ethical etc, chances are they don’t understand their purpose in life - Kidmandment #1. If this is the case, and they are living someone else’s dream instead of their own, problems are certainly going to be part of their life path. Uncertainty about one’s purpose causes unnecessary challenges that ultimately create negative energy and negative results, neither of which do you want in your home. The solution to these unwanted problems is to teach your children AND personally live a life dedicated to serving others while being clear about your respective purpose in life.

Remember, selfish living (your actions) on a parent’s behalf will always out trump anything you say. If you think happiness can be found in the next pair of shoes, a luxurious vacation or a new car, you are demonstrating to your kids the opposite of a life that we teach in the book. True happiness can only be found when we have something in life that allows us to focus on serving/helping others rather than living a life serving ourselves.

How To Create a FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT: Sit down with your family and explain to them why you want to do this exercise.  It is not because you want to fix them; that will go over like a lead balloon. It needs to be presented as something you have been thinking about, something that has been missing in your life, something that you need their help with to become a better parent and spouse, and so they can be the best siblings.

Like most things in life, timing is everything; too young and they don’t understand what you are talking about; too old, and they think you and this exercise is stupid. Emphasize that this a family discussion about what we want to accomplish as a family, what we want to be known for in our community, what values we want to seek and create in our friendships.  Remind our kids that a cohesive understanding  about what is important to the entire family is necessary to living fulfilled lives individually and together, allows us to settle problems more seamlessly, and offers us a reference if we question our decisions or motives.  It is a manifesto that is collectively shared and sourced by the family.

Benefits of a FAMILY MISSION STATEMENT: Once done, it can be used to “referee” almost any family problem. It becomes the guidepost by which you live and resolve problems that arise within the family, or within our respective selves.

You can all refer back to the basics of the Family Mission Statement and see that, for example, we agreed that we value honesty and integrity, so the reason she is not necessarily a good friend is because she doesn’t share the same vales that we do.  Or, let’s look at what we agreed to and we can see that “that” is not acceptable in our family because it contradicts our mission in life.

Sit down THIS WEEK and create a Family Mission Statement with your spouse and children. It will change your life, Guaranteed.

-          Jeffrey Oddo


Related Posts with Thumbnails