Girl with flower

Here’s My Parenting Mission Statement That Guides Everything (2022)

Mother and daughter, the daughter passes her mother a daisy flower.
A personal mission statement can guide everything, including your parenting.

Mission statements are dry, are they not? They’re hanging on a sterile corporate wall, in a boring frame, generally disembodied from the the organization.

They have always seemed airy to me, disconnected from reality, and a bit eye-roll inducing.

So it came as a welcome and wonderful surprise to find that a personal mission statement can be so deeply grounding, liberating, and valuable.

If you’ve read Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, you’re familiar with this concept.

Covey encourages his readers to prepare a Personal Mission Statement for their life that grounds them in their most highly-held personal principles. The idea is that if you are rooted firmly in your principles, it becomes easier to navigate the hard work of adulting and weathering life’s inevitable storms. 

He warns that a mission statement may take a long time to craft, that it’s dynamic and can change as we grow in wisdom.

They can be quite long or quite short, and take on various formats depending on the author.

While I didn’t define it as a personal mission statement at the time, mine has been in the making for awhile, brewing in my mind, whispering to me in a thousand different ways. So it didn’t take me long to put pen to paper:

“My life’s mission is to embody what I hope for my children.”

This little phrase informs everything I do, including my parenting.

It imbues meaning into even the smallest decisions.

For some reason, when I ask myself what I hope for my own life, I am a deer in headlights, paralyzed by the weight of it.

But it’s so easy to articulate what I hope for for my children. My prayers for them pour out of me at night. My hopes for them know no bounds. My wishes for them unfold out of my heart like a red carpet.

Slowly I realized, they are one in the same.

What do you pray for your children?

I pray that my children lead a life that gratifies them. I pray they allow their inner compass to guide them, to live a life that is true to them, the closest thing that the universe meant for them to be. 

That they have integrity.

That they listen and learn from others who they find along their life’s path, and find joy in their connection with them.

That they wear their seatbelt. (Every time.)

That they speak up when their heart tells them they must.

I pray that when they screw up, they make it right. And that they forgive themselves for their mistakes, moving forward with their head held high. 

That they don’t make a habit of texting and driving.

That their life and home is overflowing with genuine love, abundance, and a whole lot of laughter.

That they eat wholesome foods that nourish their bodies (those adorable, wonderful vessels that I worked so hard to grow.)

That they meet life’s challenges with bravery. 

That they keep healthy boundaries in order to care for themselves.

That they are proud when they look in the mirror, and humble when they go out into the world.

That when they grieve, they fully grieve, paying their receipts in full for the love they knew.

That they break free of painful generational patterns that their parents and grandparents were unable to.

That they wear the clothes they feel the best in, listen to the music that lifts them, and delight in the things that delight them.

That they find joy in the every day.

I pray that at the end of their long lives they can say they truly experienced what it is to be human.

These prayers for my children give me great clarity on who I need to be.

I’ve adopted my prayers for my children as my prayers for myself.

My life’s mission is to embody what I hope for them, for I am teaching them most loudly with my own life.


Remember in the 90’s when WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) bracelets were popular?

The idea was that when you found yourself in a tricky situation, you could look at your bracelet and ask yourself “WWJD?” “What Would Jesus Do?” I’m Jewish, but I loved those bracelets.

I’ve adopted the same format of a question to guide my daily decisions: What do I hope my children will do?

When I’m about to text and drive, I ask myself, what do I hope my child will do behind the wheel?

When I’m speaking to my husband and children, I ask myself, how do I hope my child will speak to their spouse and children?

When I’m conducting business, I ask myself, how do I hope my child will approach negotiations and finances?

When I’m struggling with a tough decision, I ask myself, what do I hope my child will do?

And so it goes with parenting. How do I hope my child will parent? That is what I must embody.

Indeed, that which I hope for my children has become my very own abstract role model.

I fall short of these lofty goals most of the time.

But. What do I hope my children will do when they don’t quite make the mark?

Forgive themselves their shortcomings, and keep trying.

So that’s what I’ll do.

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