Teamwork is the key

Saturday, January 17, 2004

For many of us, these are tough times. It's not just because we are having trouble making ends meet, although that's certainly a major concern, but it's also because of a number of other things, too.

Some of us are worried about our health and that of our loved ones. Others are troubled because close family members -- husbands, wives, children, brothers and sisters -- have been called to distant lands to serve this nation. And, still others are faced with seemingly overwhelming conflicts within their families over money, alcohol, drugs and alienation of affection.

So, what do we do? How can we, as families, endure these crises? This is an especially stressful time for farm families, who have been hit hard by the drought, low prices and the mad cow scare. Recognizing this, a professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln came to Southwest Nebraska on Thursday night to address farmers, bankers and their families. Ron Hanson was speaking at an Ag Appreciation Dinner hosted by the First Central Bank of Arapahoe, Cambridge and McCook.

Although the professor's remarks were aimed at those in agriculture, his message applies to all of us, no matter what our lot in life may be. So what are the problems that lead to stress? Why do so many of us suffer from breakdowns in communication?

Hanson lists 10 reasons for our conflicts. In plain language, here are his main points: 1. We hide our feelings; 2. We're afraid to admit we're wrong; 3. We don't take time to listen; 4. We talk too much; 5. We're angry; 6. We don't want to be bothered; 7. We don't trust or respect others; 8. We are self-centered; 9. We're not interested in what others have to say; and 10. We lack confidence and have a poor opinion of ourselves and others.

If you think back to the last big argument you had, no doubt one or more of these irritations provoked the verbal attacks you unleashed on each other. So what can we do about it? How can we overcome our differences and live a more stress-free life? In Hanson's opinion, "The single most important word of advice to share with family members farming together is to remember that any successful family operation requires a team effort approach by each individual family member involved."

Although Hanson was addressing farmers, he could just as well have been talking to preachers, teachers, and police officers, or any other field for that matter.

In all walks of life, teamwork is the key. Give and take. Openly discuss your feelings. Commit yourself to getting along. Respect each other. Be willing to listen. Try, with every fiber of your being, to understand and respect the feelings of others.

Do these things first. Become a team. Then, you are ready for one of the greatest of life's experiences: The common bond of working together to achieve goals. Do that, Professor Hanson says, and you will achieve the inner strength necessary to face the daily pressures of life, no matter how overwhelming they may seem.

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