Family Mission Statements?

There was an article in the Arizona Republic last week on family mission statements. The parents said that their families were run like corporations, so the kids got to help form the decisions for co-ed sleepovers, menus, and who does chores.

I don’t know about your family, but mine was not a corporation. It was a benevolent dictatorship. In those days, the concept of co-ed sleepovers was as foreign as intergalactic sleepovers–it simply wasn’t possible. It wasn’t a matter of who was making the decision, it simply wasn’t a decision children were invited to make.

images1.jpegSo, these family corporations, how exactly are they run? Do mom and dad get a golden parachute if the board fires them? Can they lay off the kids if the kids don’t meet goals? Does everyone fight for recognition, get underpaid and have boring staff meetings? And exactly how do you get promoted in a family? Do you get a review once a year? Are there 360 evaluations in which your siblings snipe at you and you don’t the allowance you asked for?

I really don’t think it’s a good idea to compare families to corporations. In previous generations, parents tried to be friends with their children and that didn’t work. Kids wanted friends their own age. This idea of everyone in a family have an equal say doesn’t really make much sense either.

Families have parents to create order, nurture, give example by living right, and provide food and shelter for their children. Once that breaks down and you have the family writing mission statements, next you’ll have an annual report sent out letting everyone know how well the family corporation is performing. Or maybe that’s what those Christmas letters are turning into.

–Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach who teaches business communications. See her work at