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Most businesses have them—a clear statement of mission, of goals, of what the company wants to be. Families should have one too, a family vision statement, created together by parents and children thinking together about what they want their families to become. We started with a list of the words that we hoped would one day describe our family, then we winnowed it down to a descriptive paragraph, and finally down to a three-word mantra that everyone felt good about and bought into. The words were “Broaden and Contribute” and a couple of years later our children gave it to us one Christmas as a beautifully framed calligraphy and gold leaf plaque that hangs in our family room to this day. It has brought us together and influenced each of us in our choices and our ambitions.

For how-tos on creating a meaningful and uniting mission statement as a family:

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