Take Time For Loved Ones

Our crazy family after church, Mother’s Day 2019

In a fast paced society, our relationships often take a back seat to our careers and other obligations.

Greetings All! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. At our house, we were able get some of our hay put in the barn, attend church, and celebrate our “baby” Boone’s 6th birthday. In a couple days, we will be sending all four kids to school for the first time. We will have a Freshman, two 3rd graders, and a kindergartner. Time with these kids has really flown by!!

This weekend was not without some hard times. I was informed on Saturday that a dear friend had passed away. A man who touched so many people’s lives. A man who was, in my opinion, one of the most genuinely nicest people to walk the earth. The type of person who asked how you were and 100 percent cared about your response. Griff will be missed. I also heard news of another young man who was a friend of a friend passing away in a motor vehicle accident. He left behind a wife and children. Another tragic event.

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit over the phone with my new friend and mentor Dr. Val Farmer. We discussed everything from family vacations to church to writing styles. Among our conversation, we discussed the importance of our relationships to our spouses and our children. Especially in agriculture, our families tend to play second fiddle to our obligations to the farm. We put off vacations, date nights, and other family events because of the work on the farm. This, in turn, causes significant strain on our relationships and causes our loved ones to resent the farm.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am extremely guilty of this. For the first several years of our marriage, it was farm first, family second. I thought to be a successful farmer/rancher/producer, I had to devote every spare second to the operation… and for our family to be happy, my wife and children must make sacrifices.

What a backward way of thinking. It is true, 3 years ago, our farm/ranch from the outside looking in looked much better. Our fields were clipped, our hay was in the barn in a much timelier fashion, our fencelines were weedeated more often. But there was something missing. I felt a certain disconnect between my family and me. We were constantly having to miss family outings, put off vacation. I would not be in the house before it was dark. I was not taking Keri on regular dates. I was more concerned with how our farm was operating than I was how our family was operating.

I believe it was the middle of 2018 when this all changed. I cant point to a specific “a-ha” moment, but it was a combination of things. I read “Ranching Full-Time on Three Hours a Day”, had a sit down dinner with my hero Burke Teichert, and just had a sort of awakening of how life on a cattle operation should really be. Then in 2019, Keri challenged me to run a half-marathon with her and I began to take my fitness more seriously. These things in combination with a new sense of learning and purpose changed my outlook on life on the farm. It’s not something to be stressed about. It’s not something that I should be married to. It’s something I should enjoy and something that should serve myself and my family.

I believe I will re-visit this topic again very soon to get into more of the specifics of how we changed our perspective (and how it is still changing and evolving). But I will end by saying now my happiness is at an all time high. I still sometimes struggle with returning to my old ways and thoughts about how life on the farm should be, but I’m reminded of my new found happiness pretty quickly.

I’ll close by sharing a link to a piece written by Val Farmer about creating unity in farm marriages. If farms/ranches are to be sustainable, we must first ensure that they are enjoyed, not resented, by anyone and everyone living there.

Thanks for taking the time to read Ag State Of Mind. If you enjoyed what you read today, please be sure to subscribe via email. If you know of anyone who is involved in agriculture and wants a fresh take on the happiness and joy that can be experienced by this lifestyle, please share my blog with them.

Jason

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