Monday, January 7, 2013

New Year: Resolutions or Mission Statements?

A few nights ago I was at a dinner party (for my 36 birthday) when a discussion of New Year's Resolutions came up.  Our hostess commented that she had her husband had opted to create a New Year's Mission Statement rather than resolutions.

I am highly intrigued by this idea!  A mission statement is a statement of purpose, an over arching goal, and/or a guide for decision making.  Rather than making a few trite "pledges" what about giving our lives an over arching mission or purpose and then making conscious choices of behavior to fulfill that mission.

This sort of reminds me of the "What Would Jesus Do?" movement in the 1990s which was, interestingly, based on a book (In His Steps) written @100 years before.  I think much of the 1990s movement ended up being more about people wanting to look cool by wearing a little WWJD bracelet rather than legitimately seeking to create and live by an actual mission statement.

The school were I teach also has a mission statement:

Southmoore High School, in partnership with parents and community, is dedicated to developing a tradition of excellence by providing support, time, and resources necessary to grow an exception academic and extracurricular curricular program that empowers all students to realize their unique potential and emerge as lifelong learners who are responsible members of society.
While I think this is a great statement of purpose, I wonder if it's length makes it too unrealistic for every staff member in our building to consciously think of this "mission" when making decisions pertaining to lesson plans, discipline policies, reading lists, technology usage, athletic team lineups, community outreach programs, etc., etc., etc.  Since the opening of our school in 2008 and the creation of this mission statement have developed a motto which seems to provide an easier to remember overarching purpose: "CATS: Creating Avenues to Success".

Prior to the party, I had not yet developed a "resolution" and now I find myself desiring a "mission statement" for the year.  I'm just not sure what it should be.  Should it be something broad enough to try and encompass all aspects of my life or should I have one more smaller scale that focuses on social relationships or professional/career activities?  Do you have any suggestions?  What would be your mission statement for 2013 if you were to create one?

I'll try to settle on a mission statement within a few days and then I'll return to post it.  No matter which direction my mission goes, no matter how broad or how specific, I'm sure it will continue to enable to me explore the unknown and/or unfamiliar as I further endeavor to roam the roads of lands remote.

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