Too Frosted to Forgive

“Man, I can’t believe that guy, every time I make a mistake, he just can’t accept my apology, and he keeps really good track…for years!”

Does your farm team have the ability to apologize and accept mistakes?

I was saddened to hear a young farmer confide with me that in all his years, he has never once heard an apology from the farm manager, his father.

Many farm families are saddled with an invisible load on their backs. Everyday they carry the baggage of hurt, caused by a habitual pattern of family members who just can’t seem to let go of past offenses.

It is time for farm families to learn how to make “quick repair” as John Gottman calls it, and we are not talking about duct tape here! Forgiveness is one of the critical issues that farm families need to take a hard look at. Why do they avoid it?

Accepting the fact that you are hurt is one thing, but the tough part about forgiveness is that it is the offended (you) who has to seek the forgiveness of the offender (another family member). “Forgiveness is difficult because the person who is hurt does the forgiving and not the person being forgiven,” according to Anger is a Choice authors Time Lahaye and Bob Philips. (Zondervan, 2002)

I was angry with my friend;
I told my wrath; my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe,
I told it not my wrath did grow

-William Blake, A Poison Tree.

We don’t forgive and forget. We remember, but we have a choice of what we do with the memories. LaHaye says, “I can let my memories lie and move on in my life, or I can let my memories over-power me. Forgiveness is letting go. It is the relaxation of your death grip on the pain you feel.”

Pain and the baggage of hurt from un-forgiveness may be keeping your farm team stuck. You might want to consider the art of surrender. Archibald Hart says, “Forgiveness is surrendering my right to hurt you back if you hurt me.”

You choose to forgive; it is an act of the will.

If your farm succession plan is not going well, it might be due to a lack of forgiveness. Tom Hubler of Hubler Family Business Consultants feels that lack of forgiveness is the second biggest obstacle to succession planning. Number one may be stubbornness and pride!

To be able to forgive, we have to look at the issue of hurt directly. The reasons for lack of reconciliation are many:

  1. Death: the offender has died, but the hurt lingers.
  2. Denial: refusal and rejection of the offender who says “I didn’t do anything wrong to hurt you!”
  3. Desperate fear. You lack the skills, courage or motivation to ask for an apology. You avoid drama. “Are you kidding, I can’t ask for an apology or forgiveness, that is impossible!”
  4. Deciding not to let go of the hurt. The un-forgiveness is on your part as you say “I will never let go of what that person did to me.”
  5. Missing: The offender has moved and cannot be located, you can’t have a conversation. Today with social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other media, it is easier to track people down.

Choose to move to a better place: reconciliation and forgiveness.

Decide to “extend the olive branch” and make the first move. Seeking healing by asking for forgiveness is an act of the will, a choice.

Emotions may flow, but that is okay. Tears are not a sign of weakness; they are healing. If things get emotional, accept that. Your feelings are a normal part of the process. Don’t wait until you feel like it to offer an apology. Do you only go out to feed the cows when you feel like it? Deal with the manure in your life that is keeping you down!

Alexander Chase said, “To understand is to forgive…even oneself.”

All farmers, male and female, could benefit from great self awareness. We all make choices. A woman at a farm crisis meeting once said, “Mom always told me that I had a choice in how to respond to what happened to me in my life. I could get bitter, or get better!”

You might want to ask a third party, a minister or counselor or facilitator to help you do a forgiveness ritual. This session can become a marker of “starting over” or “cleaning up the mess” to create a new chapter for your farm team. You identify the key issues that are keeping the family business stuck. You talk about what I call the bull in the middle of the room, the Undiscussabulls.

Focus on forgiveness, making repair and crafting a new code of conduct which aligns with your family business values and cherished beliefs.

Healing is the goal that will move your family and business forward.

Forgiveness is one of those “soft issues” farm families get frustrated with when they are “too frosted to forgive.” Don’t wait or procrastinate. The time to act is now. There’s a multi-million dollar farm waiting to grow, and rich legacy of relationship that needs to be re-established.

Remember, it is your farm, your family and your choice. Make the choice today to mend the offenses and fences on your farm.

Fixing Your Time Stress Mess

60 minutes

Workaholics will discover helpful strategies for managing their time stress. Gain understanding for the tensions of your age and stage on the farm. Learn why some problems are not solvable, but just need to be managed as polarities. Self-renewing people are joyful and productive producers.


Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
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Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
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Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

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