Scott Haltzman, M.D.
Happy healthy family with mission statement
How do you create a happy healthy family? In my book, The Secrets of Happy Families, I talked about a family mission statement, and the first step in terms of making a family mission statement is to define your goals and your joint goals as well. Now, if you’re gonna have any two people working together, then, they’re going to have at least two different goals. And, if you tell me your top three, well, then you could have any one of a thousand different variations on a theme.
The bottom-line is that you have to sit down with your partner and sort out which are your top priorities. And, then, what I suggest that people do is actually make a bit of a matrix, the same way that you would make a matrix if you were trying to figure out which fish can swim together in the same tank. You know, you lined up certain fish on the top, you lined up certain fish along the side, and you said, “Will these fish get along with each? Can they swim in the same tank?”
Each person’s values have to be like that. You have got to decide. If one of you loves fame, fortune, elegance, and good looks and the other wants to save a lot of money for education, those two things might conflict with each other. But, if you both decide that what’s really important is genuinely getting a chance to travel and learn new things, then you can put your money in that particular area, and you can move in the same direction.
When it comes to couples defining a mission statement, the interesting thing is that they often focus on the things that they disagree about. But, the reality is that they probably agree on a lot more than they disagree on. You know, if you said, “Well, I’d like my child to get 50 piercings the time that he or she is ten years old.” I think most parents would say, “No, I don’t agree with that.” Or, “I think we’re both gonna pack up and join a mission.” Both parents would probably say, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea either.”
There are lots of things that you will agree on in terms of where you live, what language you’ll talk in your household, or whether your kids are gonna get a higher education or not. But the bottom-line is the arguments and the fighting tend to happen over things that you disagree on, and those are the things that you get into trouble with. So, what I’d like you to do is think a little bit about the things that you tend to think are really important. Spend the time to get to know your partner. Listen to his or her values. Don’t judge, but just listen so that you can learn more about what your partner is like. Then, you’ll be able to work together to find good solutions to having the type of relationship that you’d like to have.
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