On August 26, our home went under new management. No, we didn't sell out or hire anyone. Our new manager came into the scene weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 18 and 3/4 inches long. You see, Heidi and I were blessed with a safe and healthy beautiful daughter, whom we named Courtney Ann. Big brother, Parker, and big sister, Kendra love baby and are very helpful with all the new changes brought about by this new management. Although, it must be noted that Parker has officially decided life outside with Papa is much better than around this new boss.
In September, I was gifted a seat to attend a one day conference in Wall, South Dakota called Preserving Your Family Lands & Heritage, "I wish we had talked!". This was put on by the South Dakota Family Business Association and Western Dakota Bootstraps Association. The day's speaker was Olivia Boyce-Abel from Boyce-Abel Associates.
The session was made up of lecture and group activities, where strong multi-generations were in attendance and worked through the activities together. I was extremely impressed with the day and learned tips on facilitating and mediating family discussions. The only regret I have about the day was that I didn't take along one of my parents to attend with me, as this one-day education hit closer to home than I ever imagined. The book, Passing Down The Family Farm, The Other Farm Crisis, is so closely related to this conference that I recommend either one for anyone considering multi-generation family operations.
Our family hasn't held any official family meetings and the likelihood of that event occurring doesn't seem to be a realistic notion. Living with the Serenity Prayer at heart, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference", I recognize my family is not going to adapt quickly to open discussions with each other about Heidi's and my future on this ranch. I do attempt to provide my family members with any information I obtain, however, I cannot force them to work through conflict or tension. At this juncture, we will continue down the path of "no talk, no problem".
While the goal of "no talk, no problem" is family harmony and peace by ignoring any issues, the opposite is actually occurring and worse tension and conflict is growing. In fact, my brother and I have now talked through our differences, but that was not before he dang nearly left me standing on the side of I-90 between Mitchell and Sioux Falls.
As an older generation member convinced me during the conference, "don't wait for your family to work with you to build your own future, you must proceed and let the business and emotions work themselves out", I have begun to move on.
Until family tension is openly discussed and resolved, expansion in cattle ranching is probably not in the near future for Heidi and I. Our vision has moved onto a broader realm of goals. We desire not to leave this country life, nor leave friends we have made here, so we focus on developing new ways of rejuvenating youth in rural economies. New technologies, broadband accessibility, telecommuting jobs, distance & online education and renewable energy program are all keys to making rural regions viable again. Anyone that would like to talk about these opportunities with me, I eagerly await your correspondence.