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Getting Clear About Your Mission as a Parent

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Getting Clear About Your Mission as a Parent

As the summer approaches and families gather, it’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on our roles as parents in our children’s lives. It’s a time for us to be asking, answering, and acting upon some foundational questions. In last month’s post we engaged in reflection. This month we move into action!

Here are some steps on the path to creating a mission statement to refer to as you and your child move into uncharted territory.

What is your mission as a parent?

One way to begin, is to assemble, reflect, sift and sort through your values, beliefs, and priorities to form a vision of how you want to live your role as a parent, developing a simple statement that will inspire and support you.

What does having a personal mission or mission statement mean to you? It's a very personal vision of who you want to be and what you want to do, based on your values and principles. As you think more deeply, what are some of the elements of personal mission statements? By contemplating these components, you can begin to create a picture or a description of what is important to you. Envisioning who you want to be and what you want to do is the touchstone for developing your mission statement.

Several years ago when I sat down to create my mission statement, I thought of the many ways in which I wanted to live a full, happy life that honored my values and priorities, and called upon my strengths and talents. I imagined all the areas of my life—self, family, friends, work, and contributions to others. When I think of living my mission, I focus on creating positive results in my life, being proactive, and envisioning new habits.

I’m now the parent of a young adult, and I have never written a mission statement focusing solely on my role as a parent... Yet I like the idea, as it gives me clarity about who I want to be in my daughter’s life. Here is my draft, I hope you find it both interesting and thought-provoking.

Getting clear about your mission as a parent

My mission as a parent (of a young adult):

  • Show my love for my daughter.
  • Listen deeply to what she is saying, thinking, and feeling.
  • Support her decision-making process.
  • Encourage her personal development.
  • Keep my own counsel/hold back advice unless asked for it—and remain “unattached” to whether my advice is used.
  • Understand mis-steps and difficulties as stepping stones to learning and future achievement.
  • Cherish the time that we have together—though nurture differing ideas and opinions as they are crucial to healthy dialogue and ever-evolving relationships.
  • Be/live my best self, and when I fall short, work to acknowledge that, repair any damage done, and move forward.
  • Be engaged, consistent, and kind.
  • Share my enthusiasm for life every day.
  • Share, (as appropriate), the challenges that I face and the successes that I create, in my personal and professional lives.
  • Focus on who I want to be—for myself, my family, and my community.

When you are ready, you may want to reflect on your values, beliefs, and strengths, then develop several drafts, playing with ideas and experimenting with language until you craft a statement that feels right to you.

Read more about the roles of parents and teens in the college search process here, www.majorinyou.com.

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Written by Jill Greenbaum

Jill Greenbaum-profile-picture

Dr. Jill Greenbaum is an innovator in coaching teens and parents during the college search, using a strengths-based approach with teens to help them understand themselves, meet challenges, and learn to manage-and even enjoy-parts of this process. Her visual coaching style encourages self awareness, enhances self esteem, reduces distress, facilitates growth and goal achievement, and it sets Jill apart from her colleagues.

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