Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Freeland Family Mission

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This afternoon the kids and I drafted our Freeland Family Mission. I do this for work all the time, and thought we should give it a try for the family. A mission statement defines the purpose of an organization, what that organization does every day, its reason for existing. We decided that our mission is to help each other “Grow Our Mind, Body, and Spirit.”

Freeland Family Mission

Freeland Family Mission

Even though the kids are pretty young (Zack (10), Amelia (8) and Cormac (5)), they engaged positively and added several items to the list. We only spent about 15 minutes on this and towards the end I asked them what wasn’t on there that seemed to come up all the time in our conversations. After they threw out several ideas, I asked them why they hadn’t mentioned screen time and video games. We then added “Play” to the list, and had a good conversation about how video games and cartoons and movies are fun and engaging, but don’t really support the things we most care about and the mission we just created. Not sure I’ll hear fewer “screen time” requests, but at least I have a framework for addressing the asks 🙂

The other thing we called out is that Spirit is the bottom of the triangle. It’s the foundation. It’s where we generate our “Will to Win”, and how we deal with the disappointment when things don’t go our way. We talked about the need to bounce back from losses, to be resilient, and we called this “Courage to Continue.” Amelia, the old soul, noted that spirit is also the source of our “Love” for the things we do and the people we do them with. She wrote it on the mission herself. Sharp girl.

As we created this framework, I realized that our culture is oriented almost solely towards mind and body. School evaluates us on our intellectual accomplishments and ability to achieve academic success. It is a temple of the mind. Our culture is also very focused on athletic success, praises those who achieve material success, and gives lots of messages about the importance of physical beauty. It is a temple of the body. There is very little focus in mainstream culture on the importance of developing the spirit. In this context I’m not just talking about religion, though I personally believe that it can be helpful. I’m mostly talking about our philosophical depth, our character and values, that allow us to approach life with purpose, humility, authenticity, gratefulness, service to others, and love. I think this lack of cultural focus is because there is no metric for spirit. We have these for the mind – the report card – and for the body – the salary, trophies. How can you “measure” and “get more” spirit? You can’t, which makes it both the most difficult and most important part of the mission to develop.

Hopefully we’re off to a good start 🙂

Update: Right after we wrote this Amelia crafted her own mini version and hung it over her bed. She constantly reminds me that she has an old soul (wise beyond her years, strong emotional stability, deeper understanding of the world around her, carries the wisdom and experience from previous incarnations into this one)

Amelia version of Freeland Family Mission

Amelia version of Freeland Family Mission

 

 

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Written by nealfreeland

May 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Family