Through our forestry association memberships and meeting attendance, we met a very nice middle-aged single mom with whom we have become friends. We enjoy visiting with her about her family and her land, and she has attended several of our seminars.
After one such seminar, she expressed a concern to me about her 20 something year-old daughter’s interest in their land and interest in a new boyfriend that might soon become a part of the family. She was concerned that she might not be able to keep her daughter’s interest in the family land if and when she married. Our friend mentioned her plans to bring her college-age son to our next seminar so he could hear about family communication.
Sure enough, when we arrived at the site of our next seminar there was a young man already seated. Allen introduced himself and realized this was our friend’s son. When time for the seminar to begin arrived, his Mom was not there and the son sat there with a frown on his face and a “don’t care” expression on his face. Allen and I both quickly realized he must have been there only because Mom said so! She did finally join the group later, but her son’s expression never changed.
After the seminar was over, Mom invited Allen and I to have supper with her and her son. During supper the son mentioned he had a big exam the next day and that he had to eat and run. However, he did ask a few questions about the seminar information before excusing himself. At least we felt we had made a small impression on him, but we felt he had not “bought in” yet.
About six months later, I ran into his Mom and asked about her family and forestlands. She broke into a big smile and told me that the previous week she was talking to her daughter about setting up a time to have a family meeting. The daughter told her there was no need to rush, and Mom asked her why not. The daughter said because her brother had told her about the importance of family meetings, and the two of them had already been talking about how the land should stay in their family and how it could be improved. They were just about to the point where they wanted to invite their Mom to join them to help put some final touches on their suggested plans.
I do not know who was the most proud, Mom for what her kids had done, or me for thinking that we had a small part in helping make that all happen for that family.
Even if the next generation does not appear to be interested, keep visiting with them about your land and your goals and keep them involved. The importance of it all may be sinking in slowly, but they may surprise you at how much it means to them at some point in the future.
Image courtesy of Google images