Understanding that 'they are someone's children'

Columnist Myron Friesen writes how all personalities must be considered when making plans that involve all the children in your life.

A child with a man beside farming equipment.
Myron Friesen discusses the importance of considering all the children in estate planning.
Liz Harder / Harder Stock

I was hauling some rock with our dump truck last fall and passed through a small town.
I came to a stop sign. I stopped and proceeded to make my left turn with no one coming. Just as I started the turn, a car came racing up to the stop sign a block away but never even slowed down. They turned toward me on the same road I was turning on to. Of course, with a loaded dump truck, I wasn’t going to be real speedy getting through the intersection.
Rather than slowing down, they swerved behind me nearly hitting someone else and continued reckless driving while breaking about three laws in the course of a block. I shook my head, but the real ‘special’ part was that while the driver and the passenger were breaking laws both of them had time to flip me off on the way by. Wow. I was obeying the laws and they did everything wrong, and they were flipping me off?!

So what went through my mind? First, I knew I was never in danger, but they sure were. Then I simply thought, those are someone’s children.

myron friesen.png
Myron Friesen

Shortly after that I had an NBA basketball game on, and one of the star NBA players thought he got fouled on a shot, like they all do when they miss a shot. He starts jumping all over the place, throwing a tantrum with all kinds of antics because he is used to getting his way and he has no respect for the official. Pouter! What was I thinking? That is someone’s child.

Then I stopped at a fast food restaurant a few days later, but before I could even order, the lady taking orders was ranting to a co-worker about their horrible boss and how she was going to tell him ‘what’s up’ while using horrible language in front of a line of customers. Wow! What was I thinking? That is someone’s child.

So, then I went to watch a high school basketball game and I observed a horrible foul call made by the referee. I could clearly see there was no contact and a foul should not have been called. The play stopped, the foul was called and the young lady respectfully raised her hand for a foul that she did not commit.


Impressive! What was I thinking? That is someone’s child.

Then I went to church and a young man opened the door while looking me right in the eye. He smiled and extended a hand to shake, and he welcomed me. Respectful! What was I thinking? That is someone’s child.

The son of an area farmer was working for us. He operates our equipment like it is his own. He handles things carefully and as needed politely asks questions about how we want things done. Then he humbly tells us about his goals to farm in the future. Well trained. I’m thinking that is someone’s child.

With these situations you would think all the bad examples are from one family and all the good examples are all from another, but that is not always how it works. Some parents have a variety of children and in-laws that are very different! Sometimes that means that there should be adjustments for those differences.

Thinking that irresponsible and disrespectful children that throw tantrums will somehow magically get along with the responsible and respectful children is simply an unreasonable expectation that will leave both sides miserable. Does that seem like a good plan?

Myron Friesen is the co-owner of Farm Financial Strategies Inc. in Osage, Iowa. He can be contacted at 866-524-3636 or

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