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We are a family of faith who farms. We also count our blessings when things are going smoothly and we are getting along. Some days, there is conflict, but it is all resolvable. We choose to talk, express our perspectives, and create solutions without attacking the other person. This can be the culture on your farm, too.

What is the model of forgiveness on your farm?

“I don’t go to church, Elaine”…That is not what I asked you! When conflict tensions have been fueling sleepless nights and your headaches and your stomach is tight, what is your plan to make things better? Making quick repairs is a good way to live and reduce stress.

Just recently I met with a young farm couple who works very intentionally on being emotionally and mentally healthy, even when the parents are hostile, aggressive, and profane towards the couple. Yikes. I have written before that profanity on farms does not pay. I have also written that “culture beats strategy.” Culture is the glue that holds the farm family together, what you believe to be true, how you behave with each other, and how you make decisions.

Why are you still accepting bad behavior?

Where is it written that you need to listen to F-bombs and graphic language that makes you feel horrible?

Jesus is a model of kindness, grace, and compassion. Many farm successors long to live in a culture where grace and mercy are the first line of communication, not judgment and comparison. Comparison is a joy stealer. We need to all be working towards replacing destructive interpersonal patterns with healthy healing patterns.

Here are examples of health patterns, use this checklist to assess your farm culture:

  • Respectful communication
  • Balancing work with recreation
  • Appropriate boundaries (coming over to visit when invited or planned, no surprises)
  • Incorporating appreciation, joy, fun, and celebration into farm life (ham and scalloped potatoes for a family meal together)
  • Eating healthy food
  • Getting enough sleep and exercise (walking down the lane together)
  • Establishing clear roles and responsibilities (using a family participation plan)
  • Showing love and respect regularly
  • Holding regular farm meetings (operational, strategic. All voices are heard.)
  • Reaching out to outside consultants for help when needed. (addiction counselors, mental health workers)
  • Planning ahead (sharing calendar on google documents, keeping folks accountable to timelines agreed upon)
  • Dealing with problems as they present themselves instead of procrastinating. (nipping conflict in the bud rather than when months have gone by)

What is the next step you need to take to incorporate healthy patterns in your life?

If you have found this checklist helpful, you’ve just caught a glimpse of the nature of our online course “Get Farm Transition Unstuck.”

I wish all of you a great planting/seeding season. Every day you wake up and get to choose your path: be a learner and take responsibility for your actions, or be a judger and drag everyone around you in the pit.

I just got off the phone talking to another farming family who is not able to consider transition planning because there is tension between the siblings that is not yet resolved.

Please buy my books to get a new language for more powerful communication. Understand that you are not alone.

Embrace the keys of good conflict resolution:

  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Take the other person’s perspective or seek to understand their position.
  • Be okay with tears and the expression of emotions. Sit and let the silence do the heavy lifting when the right words are hard to find.
  • Reach out and ask the other person “What would you like me to do differently?”
  • Adapt to the changing ages and roles you are experiencing on your farm. Be willing to change your habits. Call ahead and ask permission if the time is right to visit the grandchildren.
  • Reflect on the best language to use with a tone of grace and compassion. Think before your speak.
  • Listen more.
  • If you are really hot under the collar, step away and explain to the other person that you need time to cool down and collect your thoughts. You can promise to get back to them after supper. Don’t let your irrational brain take over when you are escalated.

Book a conflict dynamic profile for $55. This may be a life-changing exercise for you to understand your hot buttons, and seek a calmer way of being. I don’t do well with folks who are aloof or unreliable. Knowing your triggers helps you show up as an adult, not a temper tantrum child.

Forgive one another. Love one another deeply. Cultivate richness in your relationships.

Employ a healthy model of forgiveness on your farm. You can do this.


Elaine Froese, CAFA, CSP, CHICoach works with farm teams across North America to find harmony in understanding. Visit www.elainefroese.com. Sign up for her online work at www.arlanacademy.com

Did you enjoy What is your model of forgiveness?  You might want to check these articles out too:

Too Frosted to Forgive?
Farmers Need Forgiveness
Letting go of the Anger of Failed Succession Plans

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
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
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
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
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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