A Family Why Statement

How to create a family why statement
By Augusta D'Ambrosio

The formula:

We __________ so that ____________.

We (verb) ______ (who) _______ (to do what?) _______ so that (who) ____ (verb) _____ (what?) ________.


Augusta & Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s family “why” statement:

“We call yearning hearts into the wild so that they can dare to embrace their inheritance.”

How to fill in the blanks:

  • The story of your family and relationship is unique. Talk about the key moments in your relationship or family life that you both feel are defining. Write down 5-10 words that describe each event and then create a value from that. That can give you a starting point to creating your why statement.

    • Example: with our first child, my husband and I experienced miscarriage. This was very hard on us and we felt deep grief. Instead of turning to distractions, we took time off of work to create a unique funeral ritual for our child, writing special poems and songs that we sang over her and prayed while we burned her remains. It was a beautiful and sacred experience that I’m grateful we took the time to make happen.
      • Description: sacred, honor, ritual, grief, yearning
      • Value: honor what’s sacred

  • What is your shared vision? Take some time to journal 4-5 things you like to do as a family that is lifegiving. From there write 2-3 pillars your family has and how you try to transcend the daily life experience.

    • Example: my husband and I love to host events and gatherings, and are very extroverted. We feel like these are opportunities to pour into those we love and affirm their giftings.
      • Pillars: hospitality, affirmation, vulnerability

Coming up with a “why” statement for your family or business is actually a very hard thing to get right! Like any skill you’re learning, learning how to articulate your family vision takes time. We made probably 50 why statements with different words before finally deciding that this one FIT.

My husband and I created our why statement through doing a “Sherwood Fellows” style sprint retreat for a weekend while we were still engaged (my husband started Sherwood Fellows and creates brands and why statements for a living). But since then, we have tweaked much of HOW we live out our family “why”. So it’s a continual process!

Having a why statement for our family has been INVALUABLE in helping us prioritize what’s important and work towards our common vision, instead of getting bogged down in the ever-present business of life and wondering where the time went. Especially now that we have a child and feel like we have to be much more intentional about our time!

It’s made us more into the family we want to be.

I highly recommend it.

(P.S. if you ever want to invest in creating a family value set, hit up Sherwood Fellows. It’s helpful to have someone else guide you through it and write it FOR you, especially since we all have such limited time for these things yet want them / know it would be so helpful. Shameless plug)

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