Create Your ‘Your Father’s Vision Statement’ | For the parents



Whether it’s for a Fortune 500 business, a small nonprofit, or a personal relationship, having a clear vision for the future is essential.

An effective vision statement defines what, optimally, an organization or individual wishes to achieve over time. He provides advice and inspiration for the long haul. Given the profound importance of the parent-child relationship, I recommend that the fathers I work with develop their own vision statement.

Getting through guaranteed ups and downs, dizzying changes and daily family life challenges without a certain sense of vision, leaves a lot to chance and circumstances. Being passive, taking it as it comes or just trusting your natural instincts is what I call “letting fatherhood happen to you”.

Even with the best of intentions, it’s important to express exactly what you want as a father – such as a close relationship with your child – to make sure that comes true.

Developing a vision statement can help you clarify your purpose as a father, guide you in making parenting decisions, and keep you accountable and focused on your relationships with your children.

Create your “daddy vision statement”

To get started, read the following brief scenario, then answer the questions below. I strongly recommend that you take the time to think about your answers and write them down. The Father’s Vision Statement is meant to be a living document that is developed and changed as you and your children grow up and enter new stages of life. Periodically reviewing your vision can lead to a change in priorities or actions. It’s not about trying to make your child the person you want or think they should be, but a concrete way to stay tuned and actively engaged with your child based on your own goals.

So here is the scenario: Imagine in 20 years your child being interviewed for a documentary film about you. The filmmaker asks your child to describe what kind of father you were and how your child’s relationship with you was growing up.

With this scenario in mind, answer the questions below, being as specific as possible in your answers:

  1. What are the things you hope your child says about you as a father?
  2. What are the things you hope he or she doesn’t say about you?
  3. What are your priorities as a father now?
  4. What personal changes do you want to make as a father?

To get you started, here is an excerpt from my book “The Modern Dad’s Dilemma” of a Father’s Completed Vision Statement:

Daddy’s Vision Statement: Chris Garniewicz

To create a vision statement from a father, I asked Chris to imagine his daughter, Hayden, being interviewed for a documentary film about her life in 20 years. Chris imagined the filmmaker asking Hayden to describe her relationship with him. Then he answered these four questions:

1). In twenty years, I hope Hayden will say:

My dad is trustworthy and loving. I can speak openly and honestly with him, and he listens to my point of view.

2). In twenty years, I hope Hayden will NOT say:

Dad has not been honest with me. He did not follow his speech. He didn’t care what I had to say.

3). Today, my priorities are:

I work hard to keep my word and lead by my actions. We include Hayden in all areas of our life and spend a lot of time with her. We empower her to try new things and take risks, encourage her to have a strong voice, and help her make more decisions for herself.

4). What I need to change:

I need to come home from work in the morning and be less cranky, more patient, and more emotionally available. I also need to be a better listener and make a constant effort to maintain the trust and keep the dialogue open with Hayden.

Remember that your relationship with your child’s mother also has a significant impact on your child’s development. With that in mind, you can do the same exercise by simply replacing the word “Dad” with “Husband,” “Partner,” or “Co-parent,” then answer the same four questions with this revised goal in mind.

Putting your vision statement into practice

If you’re a dad, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of dad you want to be. But without a clear vision, sticking to these ideas can be difficult in the hectic world of parenting. Taking the time to create a daddy’s vision statement is a simple, meaningful, and practical way to be proactive in your relationship with your child.

Depending on the age of your children, you may want to share your vision with them. For your child, seeing that his father thinks about and cares about this relationship – and that he learns the specific steps he takes to work on it – can be powerful and open a rich dialogue.

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