Sometimes I "see red." It is frustration and even anger when
intentional ignorance or abuse is at hand…and then I see a red flag
which shouts "Wake up!" or "Stop it!"
During one of my presentations for women in agriculture, I
mentioned, "by the way, if you are ever are told by your spouse,
'Don't worry your pretty little head about this. I'll take care of
things,' that's a red flag!"
Upon arriving back to my office and farm in Iowa, my phone began
to ring. I had no idea how that one insight from my presentation
would lead to the sharing of so many stories, fears and
Not knowing something you need or want to know may create more
than worry - it may create major stress and scary results.
I know of two specific instances where "keeping that
information" from a spouse was a guise for hiding the real
financial dealings and debt of the business. In another case, it
was the guise to hide wealth invested in his name only, rather than
her expectation of joint ownership.
In the scary situations, it was the guise for power and control
over someone else. In other words, "Keep her in the dark, insecure
and unstable. Then I control her." Dr. Bev Smallwood, a friend,
psychologist and author of the book,This Wasn't Supposed to Happen
to Me! says,"Manipulative control by deliberately keeping a person
uninformed and off balance is emotional abuse."
Knowledge is power and ignorance is not bliss. If we truly
want to honor a relationship and a business, respectful sharing of
important information is key. It also creates an opportunity to
honor those actively working in the business and assures a basic
understanding if something happens to the spouse.
Each Christmas I ask my husband for one gift - two hours of his
time between Christmas and New Year's Day. I ask to sit
side-by-side and go through those two drawers of the office fire
file so he could educate me on the contents. Oh yes, access is
always available for me and he's not kept things from me. Yet I
know in the deep darkness of those drawers are important documents
that affect the farm - abstracts, contracts, titles, tile maps,
photos for insurance documentation, business agreements and so much
more. It's important to designate time to listen and to learn.
My heart and head fill when I have the privilege to speak at
women in agriculture events. We laugh and we learn. Trust builds,
and stories are told. Lessons are shared. I'll not forget the
tremor in one attendee's voice nor her painful tears. "It's been a
year since my husband died, and I'm still mad. Mad at him because
he never explained things and left me with a real mess, and mad at
myself for not asking questions."
Dr. Smallwood adds, "Every woman should take responsibility for
asking, not assuming; for learning, not blindly delegating. It's
time to do that now."
So, let me ask you, my sisters in agriculture, are we ignorant
of important information because we don't ask? Because we don't
think we need to know? Or because we aren't included in the
knowing? And do we share the important information of our
realm? After all, worry and control can go both ways.
Jolene Brown, CSP
Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and
champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch,
Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best
practices that have the power to increase productivity,
profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her
fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and
helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. For more information
and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at Jolene@JoleneBrown.com, www.JoleneBrown.com.
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