Creating a Family Mission Statement with Marble Jar, the App that Celebrates Success

Morning are a huge struggle for our family. HUGE!

Regardless of how early and smoothly bedtimes occur or how much prep we do the night before, there always seems to be something… SOMETHING… that throws us into a tailspin and makes getting out the door on time impossible.

Either I misplace my keys and we have to spend an extra 10 minutes looking for them. Or we have to run back into the house for the homework… or the library book… or the permission slip…

Or, I realize at quarter ’til that my son is out of clean uniform shirts because I had to make dinner and completely forgot to toss a load of whites into the dryer the night before– both equally as important, but not equally as urgent at the time…

All day long, I am bombarded with things that are urgent, but are they important? And how do you tell the difference?

As the head of a household, you HAVE to know the difference. You have to know, out of the hundreds and hundreds of tasks before you at any given moment, what to devote your limited resources–time, money, or energy.

As a parent, it’s even more vital that you are able to teach this skill to your children… but HOW?

The best way to figure it out is by creating a family mission statement. From there, you can begin to set goals for your family and make choices based on these ideals.

A great tool for this is an app called Marble Jar.

What is a Family Mission Statement?

Very simply, a family missions statement is a reflection of what your family is all about. It asks the questions: “Why are we doing this?” and “What should life be all about?”

Families With Purpose  provides this fantastic description on its blog:

Family mission statements are expressions of the overall intention, purpose, and priorities of the family.  They help families keep focus not only on the things they want to achieve (i.e. family goals), but the manner in which they want to achieve them, and the benefits or results the family wants to gain. 

A family mission statement has three parts, an action, the quality of action, and the benefits.

By recognizing what matters most to your family, it creates a context for your life and makes it simpler to filter day-to-day decisions.

For example, if our mission is to be a family that “embraces simplicity and order”. This could be accomplished by limiting our purchases to only things that have a place in our home or taking the time each night put away our shoes, toys, and… ahem, car keys.

Every family is unique in terms of what they value and hope to accomplish in life. There are some terrific resources on how to figure out yours:

How do you use the Marble Jar app to set goals?

Obviously, our family’s mission in life isn’t being on time to school. However, having mornings that start off pleasant and free from empty threats and yelling contributes to making our home a welcoming and accepting space, which is one of our goals.

To bridge the gap between the day-to-day tasks and the long-term vision, I highly recommend using Marble Jar!

Marble Jar is an app (available for download in iTunes) that was created to help families highlight  the positive moments (“bright spots”) in their lives, build teamwork, and notice what’s “working well”, as opposed to setting up reward charts and dolling “time outs”.

I gave a quick tutorial on how to use the Marble Jar app in an earlier post.

Basically, you set up your jars based on whatever it is that you hope to achieve. Then, as a  family, you come up with the steps on how to accomplish that goal, track your progress, and celebrate your successes.

So, in my case… Yay! Happy Mornings, which is a reward in and of itself. However, the” tangible” reward for my children is a little extra playtime at school in the mornings. Then, we set up clear and specific baby steps that will help us get to this end result.

What does it take to get started?

At its very core, creating a mission statement requires the realization that every member of the family makes a valuable contribution and has an impact. Therefore, every member of the family should be involved in the process of setting goals for the family. From there it simply starts with a conversation…

On the way to school and the train station one very rushed and hectic morning, I asked my husband and kids what we could ALL do to make mornings go smoother for us. This means no yelling, everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing (and when) without having to be nagged to death, and that we all get out the door on time…

I started the conversation in a neutral tone and approached it from the perspective of  “Hey, mornings are tough for us. What can we do to make them easier?”

Without any prodding, my five-year-old son admitted that he could spent less time doddling over his breakfast. (True!) My husband offered to pack his bag the night before and set it by the door, instead of scrambling at the last minute. (Yippie!) I decided to spend less time watching TV at night, in favor of an earlier bedtime and fewer missed alarms… (Bah! but do-able!)

All of these are little things that, together, make a huge impact in our life. And, even though my two-year-old daughter basically mimicked what her brother said, she was still a part of the process, which is to say, part of the solution.


Marble Jar is available for the iPhone/iPad for FREE in the App Store.  To learn more about this app, read my introduction post on Marble Jar in which I outline how (and why) to start using this app.


Disclosure: This post is part of a compensated series sponsored by Marble Jar . The thoughts and opinons expressed in this post are my own, and do not reflect those of Marble Jar or its developers. 

{Image Credit: Laertes, Flickr}


  1. Love the idea of using the app to work towards the family mission! I think it’s high time we revisited our family mission statement-thanks for the food for thought.

  2. Love how you got the whole family invested in the creation of the mission statement. Sounds like a great first step!

  3. Hi I’m a new follower and fellow member of Catholic Mothers online. This post is full of great ideas! I want to write a family mission statement!!!

    Please feel free to stop by anytime!

    For Love of Cupcakes

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