Dr. Val Farmer
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Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Readers Respond: Keep On Writing

July 20, 2009

Letter one. My wife and I have always found your writings to be helpful and informative in our marriage and for raising children. I frequently copied the articles and made them available in my office to farm and ranch families.

You have been a positive and objective voice for many. It is without doubt that you have touched and impacted many people as they journeyed though life's maze of decisions. You have challenged many to pause, think and reflect. Of course the final decision is theirs, but in the thick of the journey, we don't often know what questions to ask. You have provided the questions.

Thank you and as you reflect, just know that your writings are your God given talent and He is using your hand to guide and help your neighbor. - Loan officer and ag mediator

Letter two. I wanted to write you and say how much my wife (especially) and I have enjoyed reading your articles throughout the years. I’m sure it takes time to keep coming up with ideas for your columns but I truly believe you have a special gift and I hope you continue with your insights.

We can relate to everything you write about every week! Your advice on raising kids, working in a family farming operation, how important faith is and how enjoyable a loving marriage can be are just a few things that come to mind.

Because of your advice we have family meetings and keep our children aware of how our operation is doing. They know and can access all of our family records and share in our hopes and dreams for the future. At our last meeting my wife gave each of our four kids a binder full of your articles that she thought they needed to read. She loves your writings very much. - An Iowa farmer

Letter three. After reading your column, I decided I really needed to take time to thank you for the many times I depended on your advice to sustain me.

I was a town girl who married a country cowboy at age 17…how crazy was that? Over the years of living in the country on a very remote ranch we eventually had seven children.

We made it through the 80’s deeply in debt and our marriage was in trouble with many obstacles to overcome. We were never able to get any counseling and that’s where you came in. For some reason we were always able to keep our daily newspaper coming and thank goodness for that. You have so much common sense when it comes to country relationships.

It’s a whole different world in the country…men have the idea they are above helping with the housework, paperwork, or hours of childcare. You have been such a good ally of country women in general.

Something else I have appreciated so much is your faith in God that you have passed on to your readers. We just cannot survive without a relationship with God, no matter where we are. So often people in the country

have passed it off as "too hard to make it to town on Sunday".

Please continue writing! You have been given a wonderful gift you must continue to share! - A faithful reader

Letter four: Your column is always so insightful and applicable to life, business, faith, and family. Your subjects always challenge me and encourage me to make the right choices in life. I have saved many of your articles and have shown them to others.

My wife and my business partner (my father) have enjoyed your writings as well. We appreciate your understanding of rural life, values, and the multi-generational relationships that are present. I appreciate your advice and wisdom. Thank you for continuing to write your column. – Farm equipment dealer.

Letter five. When the paper comes, your column is the first thing I read. I have saved many through the years. Sometimes they seem to be written just for me as they apply to something that I'm going through at the time.

Thank you for all your columns. They are very helpful and have made a difference in my life. Your values, family focus, faith are what we need today. We are all dealing in choices daily. Please continue to write. - Female reader

Letter six. When is it the right time to be "put out to pasture?" Can the people and/or clients get along without us? What does it do to our ego when we realize that we now must go "out to pasture"?

Also when a person gets along in age, he or she has to slow down and doing things takes more time and effort. My wife has also been very supportive but the last couple of years she has mentioned that maybe this should be my last year of working. But I tell her that I enjoy my work with my clients and that they need my expertise and that I know their business well and they continue to want me to work with them.

Your situation is similar in that people can use your expertise now and in the future. To decide when to stop working is a very personal issue and it requires taking others into account as well as yourself.

I can assure you that as long as you write a column, I will read it but don't feel that you must continue for my sake! I will just be thankful that for quite a while I was able to be helped. - A retired farm management consultant