“The engineers of the future will be poets.”— Terence McKenna

I recently visited the farm where I grew up. My sister and her family run the dairy farm now. My brother does crop farming. The farm has been going since 1837; 184 years of family farming.

My visit reminded me of how the stories we lived on the farm while growing up still inform me today. Here are three of the stories that formed my growing years.

A Civil War Marriage
While looking through many old papers, we found the wedding certificate of my second great-grandparents.  They were married less than a year after the end of the US Civil War. Even in the midst of our national storm, they found love and hope. The farm where my second great-grandfather was born carried on with him and with his descendants.

A fact I just discovered, they were married on January 6, 1866 – exactly 94 years before the day I was born.

Today’s picture is of those ancestors in their later years at our family homestead.

Best Innovation Of The Century
I once was reflecting with my mother on the exciting innovations she had experienced in her life. There were people that walked on the moon, television that we watched them on, and now telephones that rival the Star Trek communicators.

I said, “What was the best innovation for you?”

She paused awhile and then said, “Well, I remember so well having to go the outhouse in the winter, sometimes in the middle of the night. I just remember how awful cold it was when the draft blew up my nightgown. Indoor toilets are the winner for me.”

Lucky to Have You
I remember one day when my Dad was teasing my Mom.

Dad: “Dorothy, were you there when I almost died from spinal meningitis?”
Mom: “Yes Fritz, I was there the whole time.”
Dad: “Were you there when I almost died from that motorcycle accident?”
Mom: “Yes Fritz, I was there the whole time.”
Dad: “Were you there when I almost died from that heart attack?”
Mom: “Yes Fritz, I was there the whole time.”
Dad:  “Dorothy, you are just bad luck!”

My Dad grinned ear to ear and they hugged each other with such grace.

Hope. Belief. Practical wisdom. Humor. Love.
Great values to learn from, to live with.

What values are we imparting with the stories we co-create with our peers and with the teams we lead?

Yours in the calm pursuit of excellence,

Alan Willett

Photo of The Willett Farm family home in the 1880s.

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