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A Seat at the Table of My Family's Revolution

"If you aren't doing your life mission, you need to get in the face of God and figure out what it is."

~ My friend Sharon from Denver

A while back, I wrote a blog entry about starting a family revolution to make sure that the bad things that have happened to my family as a result of this recession -- foreclosures, unemployment, wage cuts, etc. -- won't happen again. This revolution is part of what I've come to know is my mission: To share what I know and uplift my family.

I didn't get a chance to report back on how the first meeting for my family's revolution, a series of talks titled "Something to Think About," went on October 8 (see blog entry about the revolution here). What I'd like to do is give all of you readers a seat at the table, so to speak. Whatever topics Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) and I cover with our family in this series of talks, I'm going to cover with you.

At our first meeting, only one couple, my niece and nephew-in-law, attended. I'm not dismayed. More younger family members have committed to come to our next meeting in December, but in any event, BMNB and I will have discharged our duty to share, or at least attempt to share, what we know. We discussed writing a family mission statement and the ground rules for the family sou-sou we're going to form at the next meeting. Below is the agenda from the meeting. It lays out what we're going to be talking about. Maybe you and your family will want to follow along.

I do want to touch briefly on having a family mission statement. Whether you're single or part of a family, you should have a mission statement. Why? Because it helps you focus on what you're on this earth for, helps your prioritize how you spend your time, and makes it much more easier to say "no" to things that don't serve your mission. For example, I have been urged by a few folks to run for a seat on the board of my HOA or to run for city council. For most of my life, I've been one to chase a challenge without really weighing what I'd get out of the challenge other than a sense of accomplishment. I had an unsettled feeling in my soul that I didn't want to pursue these challenges. After I referred back to my own personal mission statement that I wrote long ago, it hit me: These challenges are not part of my mission. They're not what I'm put on this earth to do, even if I know I could do them well. Once I realized this, I felt grounded in my refusal.

BMNB and I have drafted a family mission statement. It's still in the works, but here it is:

The Black Man Not Blogging Family's Mission Is To:

  • Serve God and put Him first

  • Love, encourage and uplift our family and friends

  • Use all our gifts for God's purpose for us

  • Share our knowledge

  • Uplift and serve our race and community (I define "community" very narrowly)

  • Love, respect, and take care of each other and our children (no, we don't have kids yet. We're working on it.)

  • Raise our children to be good, educated, God-loving people who can stand on their own when we're dead

  • Enjoy our lives

  • Maintain good health

Again, it's a work in progress, but it definitely helps in shaping how we spend our time. We're using Steven Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families" to help us shape our family mission statement, and we highly recommend it.

We also talked about the benefit of holding regular family meetings. BMNB and I have family meetings to discuss our goals and accomplishments in five areas: our household, our health, our individual and marital goals, our family goals, and our community goals. It is through our family meetings that we started working on our family mission statement. We congratulate each other on accomplishing our goals (BMNB finally got some real glasses -- YAY!) and encourage each other to accomplish what remains to be done. Our family mission statement may reshape how we hold our family meetings, but the meetings are crucial. They force us to stop, get off the hamster wheel of life, and reflect on what we really are here to do and what we really want to do. A life without some introspection is an aimless life, IMHO.

As for the sou-sou, we decided to start small: $25 per family per month. Any family that fails to pay on time forfeits what they've contributed. We'll see how it goes.

Here's to my family's revolution, and perhaps your family's, too.



A Series of Family Talks


October 8, 2011

I. Prayer and Call to Order

II. Purpose of "Something to Think About"

  • Knowledge: Share what we know (mistakes and all); learn what we don't

  • Encouragement: Helping each other reach our goals

  • Action: Holding each other accountable for taking positive steps toward our goals

III. Five Goals for The Family:

  • Financial Literacy

  • Home Ownership

  • Having a Career

  • Educating Our Kids to Prepare Them for College or A Vocation

  • Multiple Streams of Income

IV. Topics to Be Covered

Financial Literacy

  • Credit

  • Budgeting

  • Investing

  • Retirement Planning

  • Insurance


  • Finding the Career You Want

  • Getting the Career You Want

  • Keeping the Career You Want


  • Taking Stewardship of Your Child's Education

  • Education Financial Planning

Home Ownership

  • Mortgages

  • Finding Your Home

  • Home Buying Process

  • Home Maintenance

Multiple Streams of Income

  • Starting a Business

  • Capital and Small Business Finance

  • Business Plan Writing

  • Marketing

V. Today's Topics:

  • Writing a Family Mission Statement (Resources: Steven Covey, "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, pg. 77-95 on writing a family mission statement)

  • Starting a Family Sou-Sou (Resource -- My blog entry, "Got Sou-Sou?")


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