When I reflect on gratitude, it’s easy to focus on you (our customers and supporters) and say “thanks” for the economic opportunities such service affords. But if I ask myself what are some of the deeper reasons I am grateful for you, the following come to mind:
You allow and enable us to fulfill our calling. The theologian Frederick Buechner describes “calling” as “the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.” By working with family businesses in agriculture and hopefully helping you have meaningful discussions with peers and plan for succession, we have a chance to pursue our passion in a way that meets your need. (Many farmers and ranchers, who see their vocation as feeding others and supporting families, can also identify with the intersection of their passion and the world’s needs.)
You help us broaden our understanding of success. Making money is one obvious measure of success for you, but success is also found in families having important conversations. If we can help you improve your relationships - whether together in business or apart, articulate your plans for ownership and management transitions, and help you pass assets and family values and stories to future generations, we understand something more about success and prosperity.
You teach us what effectiveness is in many ways. While we often get calls from family businesses that feel they are not being effective in family business management, we find lots of examples of ways they are being effective. We see rural business owners make significant charitable contributions in their communities. We see innovative approaches to helping employees with education, housing or medical issues in ways no large corporation would consider. We see hospitality toward immigrants, helping attitudes toward strangers, and even patient dealings with consumers who don’t understand, or are even opposed, to your means of livelihood.
We have developed a deep sense of gratitude for all of the ways agricultural family businesses impact the people around them. Helping you helps us, and for this we are VERY grateful!