Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dads and Their Sons, a Snapshot from 1972

We go through life learning from our parents. In the best of circumstances they teach you how to become a whole human being. In the worst of circumstances, they can also teach you what not to do. - actor Bryan Cranston,

From the TLC show, Who Do You Think You Are, sponsored by aired Aug. 2015.

I remember when I was a young boy I had a mixed relationship with my father. (I am speaking of Karl L. Koerner 1918 to 2000.)  I highly respected my dad yet part of me was afraid of him. He most always seemed distant and out of reach, but there were times when he was very supportive and kind and fun to be around. As I look back, the overall memory I have of my dad is a good one.  He was a good example of a man to follow who kept family and professional life balanced and who supported my mother and tried to do the best for us kids. Me being the last of six kids, I think he mellowed somewhat, or he just ran out of energy. Either way I understand how that can be.

My dad had a temper and when he would get angry you did not want to be in the room, but he also had a sense of humor, and could tell a corny joke and laugh at one like the rest of us. That part of me remains from his DNA.

As part of my job at the prison, I have the opportunity to counsel inmates.  Twice this past week, I spoke with incarcerated dads, trying to rekindle relationships with their sons.  After the conversation I thought about my relationship with my dad and sons. I ask myself what did I do right? What could I have done better with?  How can I improve?

Recently I found a notebook in the garage with my Dad's notes from our trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in July of 1972. In this particular slide (left), my dad is commenting on me and Chuck hanging our camp food between trees for the night to keep the bears from getting it.

Some quotes from his notes: July 5, 1972 - Gus and Chuck (Jaecks) putting up a Bear Pack something like this. I imagine if the Bears saw them do these things they would die laughing. I'm sure if they were hungry or they would get it down.

Notes like these from our parents are precious to family history.  I urge all my readers to keep them safe.

So how is this going to make me a better father?  I'm going to keep loving my kids, just how they are and supporting them in the paths their on.  If they want my advice I'll give it to them, otherwise I'll continue to urge them to do their best, stay close to God and honor their spouses and children.  I hope my kids can take my good qualities and emulate them, and my less desirable traits and be careful not to follow them.  Either way, in that way a dad can have a positive influence on his children.

- gus

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