The other day I was watching my two young adult sons walking from the shed back towards the house after a day of work. It was lovely to see them chatting to each other as they finished their workday on the farm. I am sure they weren’t talking about anything much but it was a nice feeling seeing them get along.
Some families don’t get along. I hear people saying that they don’t talk to their brother, or sister, or mother or father and it breaks my heart. I just hope that we have brought our kids up with enough generosity and thoughtfulness and love that they will respect their siblings no matter what life sends them.
Brothers and sisters will always be there. Since you first enter the family nucleus they teach you patience and sharing and how to be thoughtful of other peoples feelings. They know all your secrets. They were the first people you shared the bathroon with, the first people you holidayed with. In my case we endured hours in the car on the weekends driving to little rural towns where we watched my Dad play cricket. Three of us in the back seat, for the most part annoying the heck out of each other. You can always connect with your siblings when reminiscing about those trips and can always bond over the idiosyncracies of your parents.
Family are a very important support. Through good times and bad. I think the quote “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family” means you are lucky to get those people as your family. I hope that my kids will choose their siblings to be their friends for the rest of their lives.
When running a farming business there can be extra pressure on relationships as the siblings grow up. Who wants to be a farmer? who gets the farm? Who might want to be a farmer but leaves to make their own way, because they know there can only be one person taking over the business. I have seen this cause rifts, anxiety and sometimes siblings just drift apart. As our children get older that is foremost on my mind. I want to make sure the farming business doesn’t affect them as friends.
The inheritance of a farming business can be tricky. We are trying to keep all our four children involved; with lots of communication, discussions at the dinner table and eventually they will be at the business meetings. They know that they are part of our business whether they are here on the farm, involved with the day to day running or off pursuing their career in the ‘big city’. All of our children know they will be involved and supported in the future, the best way we can.
I am lucky to have one brother and one sister, both whom I love and respect and actually like to spend time with socially. Mind you it has taken a few years for me to realise that they are very important to me. It wasn’t that we never got along, more the fact that we didn’t realise how much we liked each other and we all just click. My sister and I have many things in common, we both love Yoga to name just one interest. My brother and I both have a love of the sea, surfing and swimming. Unfortunately I live about three hours travel away from both my brother and my sister but we see each other as much as possible. I am grateful for any time we get together. I am blessed to have such a beautiful family. It will bring me joy seeing my kids liking their siblings company as much as I like mine.
The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo