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Published January 12, 2012, 11:30 PM

Famer: Column nearing end prompts reflection

My career in a helping profession and journalism is fast approaching an ending. I have three months left to pick and choose my final thoughts to leave with you before my last deadline. It brings perspective into sharp focus, kind of like a diagnosis of a terminal illness.

By: Val Farmer, INFORUM

My career in a helping profession and journalism is fast approaching an ending. I have three months left to pick and choose my final thoughts to leave with you before my last deadline. It brings perspective into sharp focus, kind of like a diagnosis of a terminal illness.

The moment is magnified. Time is suddenly more precious. I have been given a gift from trusting editors and publishers – a wonderful audience of good-hearted people in the heartland of America and Canada. What do I want to say to you over the next three months? The reality is that this opportunity will never come again.

My goals for the next three months include the following:

<•> I have some columns in mind I have procrastinated on because I viewed their importance to me as deserving of special consideration. These are the columns I need to write before it is too late.

<•> I want to pick some of my best columns for reprint – columns I feel have been especially significant and worthwhile.

<•> I would like you who feel so inclined to share your story about how a particular column or this column in general has touched your life, produced a significant change, or helped you professionally.

I will use your comments, anonymously if you so choose, in writing about the impact of the column on the lives of my readers. If you haven’t done so and wish to send me a comment or a story, this is your chance to do so. You can either send an email to val@val

farmer.com or a letter to PO Box 207, Grover, MO 63040.

<•> I will also be introducing my successor to the column to you, Dr. Mike Rosmann, and inviting a guest column from him prior to my final deadline.

<•> I would like to describe my post-retirement plans with you along with an update on my family. That is my plan.

Appreciation for the column in my life. I want to say thank you to all of you who have helped me along my path in one way or another.

Somehow I’ve managed to keep up with an ambitious life and schedule. It has been a challenge to write a column that is worthwhile and significant every week. Looking back, I take satisfaction and wonder how I did it all. Fortunately it happened one week at a time.

<•> I’ve grown from learning, researching and writing this column. When I discovered something of value, I wanted to share it with you, my readers. The column also helped me reflect on my own life and define what I believe and feel.

<•> My wife, Darlene, has shared this journey. She has been an equal partner in this endeavor. She has shared the ordeal of weekly deadline that hung over her life as well as mine. She has sacrificed a lot. Her inspiration, love and encouragement have been a huge support.

Besides her support, she contributed an unerring sense of judgment and perspective. I have trusted her insight. I thank her for not letting me get by without giving my best.

<•> My adult children had to put up with a dad who was, at times, more preoccupied and unavailable than either they or myself would have chosen. They have been and will always be more important to me than all of this.

<•> My business partner and friend, Dixie Davis, at the Preston Connection has been a large part of this effort for the past 21 years. She has lifted my load, handled the distribution and editing of the column, fielded correspondence and phone calls, etc. She has been a tough critic at times and has looked out for my best interest. She gave me a big portion of her life.

<•> My work colleagues in Mitchell, Huron and Rapid City, S.D., and in Fargo have experienced some of the friction of this column and tolerated my imperfections. I admired their work and learned from them. Their friendship and support enriched my life.

<•> My counseling clients deserve a large part of the credit. They had the courage to improve their lives, no matter what it took. They trusted me as we worked through their challenges together. Their problems and lives made it all real and kept me in touch with the human condition. Without them, this column wouldn’t have had passion.

<•> My former colleagues at AgriTalk gave me a great opportunity. Ken Root and others introduced me into the world of radio and how powerful it was in the lives of rural people. What memories we have!

<•> Last of all, my readers have been generous with notes of appreciation. Others have shared personal struggles. This feedback and gratitude inspired me to keep going. It also makes it incredibly difficult to quit. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.

Val Farmer is a clinical psychologist specializing in family business consultation and mediation with farm families. He lives in Wildwood, Mo., and can be contacted through his website, http://valfarmer.com.

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