Growing up, I didn’t always get along very well with my parents. As a child, I remember my dad refusing to give in to my begging for a horse and my mom denying my requests to buy the Oreo brand cookies instead of the generic. As a teenager, we bickered on what time I had to be home at night and whether or not I could have a boyfriend. Once I moved to college, I finally had my freedom to make choices without their approval. Following college, I moved to the tiny town of Elgin while working at Gar-Lin Dairy. My life quickly changed from having my closest friends within walking distance and our time spent together partying or studying to having phone calls and texts, now going months at a time without seeing each other. At some point during my time there, I began having long phone calls with each of my parents. Sometimes they called just to ask how my week was going, other times my dad would be asking for advice on treating a cow. I believe a turning point in how I viewed my parents came when they gathered all four of my siblings and drove 2.5 hours to the farm to surprise me. I couldn’t believe each of my siblings came along despite their busy schedules, and I know it is never easy for my dad to schedule help for chores, but he did it. I realized, “Wow! They noticed how much I missed all of them and did something about it. Maybe they do know me better than I thought.” Once I returned home to farm alongside my dad, one of the things I wanted to change was how he mated cows. I told him us kids had all outgrown the showring, and so we needed to mate our cows for production rather than type. I worked with a mating specialist to generate a list of bulls I felt would improve our genetics. However, my dad still continued to breed a few of his favorite cows to showring bulls. To add to my disapproval, he would breed certain cows several times, rather than marking her do not breed. Often I would plead with him to do things my way, but he wouldn’t budge. Finally, I gave up the struggle. Since then, I’ve come to realize why he was so stubborn. He enjoys having a few cows in the herd that stand out as being pretty and knowing each cow’s history gives him justification to try harder, giving extra chances to keep certain special cows in the herd. Though I’ve tried to resist, now I’m also guilty of giving extra chances to certain cows I look forward to seeing each day. I see that when I changed my approach, by no longer trying to sway him, I could finally see things from his point of view and be accepting of it. I’ve learned it also pays to change my approach when working with my mom. When she and I had the task of moving cows across the farm or sorting dry cows, it always left me frustrated that she wasn’t as good at moving cows as I was. Besides this, she had little confidence and kept saying, “Can Dad help you with that instead?” or “Let’s go get Dad to help us.” One day I finally quit telling her “You’re doing it wrong” and began giving suggestions, such as “Walk towards the cow from this side” and “Try standing over there instead.” Making these changes led to us being able to work together without getting frustrated. More importantly, they led to her being confident moving cows and doing other tasks on her own. I still remember the day a cow turned around and got past my mom, running through a manure pile. I proudly watched as my mom calmly turned around and climbed along the fence, as she had seen me do, and got the cow back to the lane without asking for any help. Growing up, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have a horse or get Oreos. As an adult, it turns out I now deny my husband’s requests for Oreos because we don’t need them and we are hoping our daughter, Morgan, isn’t interested in horses so we don’t have to have that conversation. I realize my parents may have been right about not needing a boyfriend in high school and the need for a good nights sleep. I now look forward to nights when I can get to bed early and realize how important it is that I have found a genuine, loving partner in my husband, Chris. Changing the way I approach my parents when we aren’t on the same page has led to a stronger relationship that I am extremely grateful for. Laura Scholtz farms with her father, John Rosenhammer, and uncle, Greg, on Roseview Dairy near Sleepy Eye, Minn. They milk 200 Holsteins and run 580 acres of cropland.