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In this age of technology, visiting face to face is something we all need to improve on. (Marytina Lawrence/Special to Agweek)

The art of the visit

We are a farm family that raises beef cattle. As such, we spend a large amount of our summer traveling the countryside showing cattle at fairs and expositions. In addition to gaining exposure, we also have created a great opportunity for our children to meet new people. While traveling the country, I have noticed something interesting that definitely applies to the "farm family" but could be considered applicable for all.

When I married my farmer husband almost 22 years ago, one of the things I fell in love with was his ability to visit with anyone anywhere and gain bountiful amounts of information from all kinds of sources that could prove invaluable in future situations.

Twenty-two years later, there are times I must admit that this characteristic sometimes drives me crazy. That being said, as I have matured personally, I have come to again appreciate what I call "The Art of the Visit." I am now doing my very best to teach my children how to visit.

Communication is taking on so many different modes of delivery in this day and age. Technology is ruling over our society with such dominance that in some ways we have forgotten how to look someone in the eye and just visit.

The one sect of society that that still understands this lost art is the farmer. Boy can they visit. And visit. And visit. I admit I've had times when my patience has worn thin standing next to my farmer waiting for him to finish "visiting." I also have experienced an epiphany about this process.

You see, in order to be a master visitor, you must be a good listener — less talking and more listening is the key. Somewhere buried in the talking are the golden tidbits of life experience that permeate our beings and teach us the value of the past. It is the place we learn about who we might become and how the influence of others can change and shape our future.

Over the years, I have learned more about farming, cattle and family in the middle of a barn aisle than I ever have in any classroom. The wisdom, knowledge and personal stories have inspired and impacted me in ways that are immeasurable.

That doesn't even account for the countless connections and personal lifelong relationships that have been established merely through the willingness to visit. One of the truest compliments I have received about my children comes from adults who appreciate young people who look them in the eye and converse. It truly is a lost art.

Farmers are known for being talkers and we could learn a few things from their verbal prowess. I know that I certainly have, and it has proven to be something I now cherish about our times on the show circuit, in church and any other social gathering. It has made me better in my profession and motherhood. In fact, I have become a better listener and also a bit of a talker.

If you haven't had the opportunity to, I would strongly recommend you give it a go. It will be worth the visit.

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