A New Understanding
While writing my project proposal I found myself asking questions about the things I was writing about. It was as if I was simply reciting a story I’d memorized, not one I fully understood and appreciated. When I realized that was how I was writing I decided that I needed to throughly research factors of the stories I was telling. I began to delve into many different sources, from fictional novels, to internet articles, to documentary books and even safety manuals. I gained an insight I’d never had on many different topics. My main focus of this portfolio on my family is how we all gained a similar characteristic of being so determined. I formatted my proposal chronologically, looking at the story of some of my ancestors individually and during these annotations I did the same. For each ancestor I characterized I annotated 2–3 sources on the times/conditions they were living in or something about their personality that made them special. I also annotated some sources that generally describe the psychology of being so determined. While researching all these topics that applied to my ancestors I felt connected to them more than simply because they were family.
Brooks, David. “Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Oct. 2015. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
Lady Gaga is often criticized for her odd appearances, lyrics and actions. She is commonly criticized because her actions are something that don’t fall into the “norm” of our society as we know it today. Many ask why Lady Gaga acts as she does. After reading the article “Lady Gaga and the Life of Passion” published in the New York Times, I’ve come to an understanding that she acts this way because it completes herself.
The article speaks about how humans “are the only animals who are naturally unfinished.” and that “we have to bring ourselves to fulfillment, to integration and to coherence.” (Brooks). One completes themselves by outwardly expressing their inner passion full heartedly. This is why Lady Gaga expresses herself as she does, because it is her passion to act as so. By being so passionate, Brooks explains that it puts oneself in danger. Danger because who knows what you could get yourself into while giving away your whole self into something.
The way Brooks speaks about passion reminds me of my family and how they constantly put themselves out there for the ones they love. Their passion. My family members always contribute all their efforts into the task at hand. I believe this plays a role in my family’s seeming distinctive trait of determination. In my family’s case, we are always passionate about being there and providing for each other. For example my great grandfather, Stanley Koes, was passionate about making a good living for his family. To do so he worked in the coal mines and constantly put himself in danger of accidents and disease. Though it was a risk to his life, it was a way he felt he could fulfill and complete himself.
It’s odd that a modern day pop star and my great grandfather living in poverty could trace a common thread. It just goes to show that passion isn’t some special talent needed for people to be successful, passion is something within oneself that can apply to everyones life in different ways.
Henderson, W. O. “The Loss of the Colonial Empire.” The German Colonial Empire. 1884–1919. London: F. Cass, 1993. 117–61.
This book speaks about the German Colonial Empire over the span of thirty five years. I chose this book because my ancestors are from Germany. Though i could only trace my family name within America, my family has been able to inform me through word of mouth that i am some what German. I decided to read this book because I wanted to see why my ancestors left Germany; what was the driving force? Thought this book outlines everything from the origin of German Colonization to the founding of the German colonies, I am most concerned with the chapter at the end that describes the loss of the colonial empire.
In this chapter many different contributing factors are described such as; distribution of the white population in Germany’s colonies in Africa and the Pacific (1911), foreign trade of the German colonies (1901–1912), German trade with the Middle East (1908–1913). These are just a few factors from the 5 major highlighted ones in the book. At the end of the book there are also table that show statistics of the factors. For example on page 148 there is a table that visualizes the number of whites in different categories such as “civil servants”, “Army and police”, “Planters and Farmers”, etc. that were in each of Germany’s colonies.
This book became helpful to the understanding of my ancestors decision to come to America. Though my family, along with many other immigrants, made the decision to voyage to America, I get a sense for what type of people my ancestors were. They did what they had to to make a better lives for themselves, which ultimately got me where I am today. If it weren’t for my ancestors bravery and courage in situation I would be living the life I am today
“Ellis Island.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
Because of my family story, I only know so much about my family prior to coming into america. My ancestors that first immigrated to America changed their last name from Koesinski to Koes when they went through Ellis Island. Therefore, I only know so much about my family when they were in Europe. I’m interested to find out some characteristics of the people that came through Ellis Island to hopefully gain a better feel of my ancestors.
I stumbled across an article writing by History.com that discusses what Ellis Island was, who came through, why most people came and the statistics of the immigrants. The article states that, “it has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.” (History.com). I, most obviously am classified in this forty percent. This article also recognizes that most of the immigrants that came through Ellis Island were either troubled by push factors in their country or were minorities. I’m not of any ethnicity that has ever been a minority, therefore my ancestors were going through a difficult time, or the tale I’ve been told through word of mouth was true.
No matter the reasoning of immigration, the article also recognizes that to journey that far to a place you know nothing about took courage, and a lot of it. This says something about my ancestors that traveled here, they were willing to risk their lives for something much bigger than themselves. Obviously they are looking out for their best interest at the time, but I believe that they knew in the long run this decision to completely pick up and leave would benefit people they would never even meet, like me. I believe this action is what sprouted the small drop of determination in my family’s bloodline in America. My ancestors were dedicated to having a better life and they did so, even if it meant traveling half way around the world.
Zabetakis, M. G., and L. D. Phillips. Coal Mining Safety Manual. 3 Mar. 1849. Washington, D.C
I obtained a safety manual pertaining to coal mining. This manual was published by the U.S. Department of the Interior on March 3, 1849. This manual contains everything from the the origins of coal, to the way it should be processed and used. I am interested in the information that was provided by the government to the people because my great grandfather was a miner and died from black lung. Though the government might have not known of black lung being a hazard at the time, I’m interested to see what information was provided that could precaution mine workers like my great grandfather.
The chapter on hazards is what was most appealing to me. Within it the manual speaks about hazards it mainly refers to accidents when dealing with machinery. It also mentions mishaps with transportation and electrical problem. This section concludes that the main solution to all of these hazards is experience and training. There is even a graph shown with a negative slope illustrating that as time on the job increases accidents decrease.
I am only left to assume that the U.S. Department of the Interior didn’t realize what the chemical and conditions of coal mining could to a person’s lungs. This explains why no precautionary actions were made by the government, coal mining companies or the coal miners themselves to protecting worker’s health. I only wish that this disease didn’t sneak up on so many innocent, dedicated men like my great grandfather.
Derickson, Alan. Black Lung: Anatomy of a Public Health Disaster. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998. Print.
A disease that blind sided an nation- an industrial, hardworking, dedication nation. Millions of workers that worked in the booming industry of coal mining obtained an unknown disease and lost to their lives to it. Today we call that disease Black Lung. It is a disease obviously in the lungs that is called by inhaling too much coal dust. Miners, company owners and doctors didn’t know at the time that the prolonged exposure of coal dust could cause such a deadly disease.
The book “Black Lung Anatomy of a Public Health Disaster” walks the reader through what miners went through in discovering there was something wrong with them. For example if you were to just read the names of the chapters, they are ordered chronologically, “They Spit a Black Substance”, “Twice a Boy”, “The Atmosphere of the Mine Is Now Vindicated”, etc. I previously obtained a safety manual provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior on coal mining to see if anything pertaining to this disease was mentioned, but it wasn’t. I was left curious about the mass panic that occurred within many different areas when this disease erupted, therefore I searched further for a source that could answer my questions.
I am so interested in this topic because my great grandfather, Stanley Koes, worked in the mines his whole life, obtained Black Lung and continued to work in the mines. After being diagnosed with this disease and continuing to work is remarkable to me, even though I know my great grandfather was a remarkably dedicated man. I wanted to look more into the pandemic of this disease to fully grasp the sacrifice Stanley made to support his family.
By reading this book i quickly learned that the disease and its symptoms were nothing to push. They were deadly. I also learned that “conflict of social insurance began at the state level and escalated to the national level.” This disease warped the lives of millions all over the country wether it pertained to their health, or political actions. My great grandfather was one of the millions who pushed through this phase to ultimately support his loved ones. This theme remains in my family. Throughout hard times my family is always determined to accomplish all they can to be there for one another
Brunt, Stephen. 100 Grey Cups: This Is Our Game. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2012. Print.
The book 100 Grey Cups by Stephen Brunt recaps 12 Grey Cup championships over the past 100 years. I decided to read this book not only because my grandfather, Ron Koes, won a Grey Cup, but so I could understand the game of football in the CFL. Though I know the rules and environment of football in America, I’m sure the way the game is played in Canada differs. Though the year my grandfather won isn’t highlighted in this book, I read it to fully understand his passion.
The main purpose Brunt was trying to obtain was to explain how each game over the past century has contributed to the growing and changing culture of professional Canadian football. Burnt explains that “through more than a century, through two world wars though changing times and changing tastes and in am evolving nation, the Grey Cup has been a constant, Canada’s great autumn ritual.” (185).
My grandfather was very family orientated person and mastered in cooperating with others. In other words my grandfather was the perfect team player and was very much so one to carry on traditions. From the sounds of this book the Grey Cup was something uplifting that brought a nation together over a common passion. I believe my grandfather respected the characteristics of the Grey Cup that the book describes and that is why I believe my grandfather deserved to specifically win this championship out of all of them. Picturing my grandfather in this sort of environment also helps me grasp an understanding of where his determined yet compassionate nature came from. Playing in the CFL while also winning a championship with such meaning behind it was a source that shaped my grandfathers personality. Without this experience in his life I wouldn’t obtain the drive I do for honorable success, that I learned from my very own 1960 Grey Cup champion.
Hagger, Martin, and Nikos Chatzisarantis. Intrinsic Motivation and Self-determination in Exercise and Sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007. Print.
The way we learn to live is strongly influenced by those who raise us; it’s been proven in science. We learn our “rights and wrongs”, beliefs and morals from our guardians. My curiosity about my roots and routes always leads back to one common question, where did my family get its motivated and determined nature from? My conclusion, so far, has been each generation has emphasized the nature of that attitude strongly. My newest question on the characteristic of self-determination and motivation is what exactly goes on in someones head to make them feel so eager to accomplish tasks. Not where did they learn to be like that, but simply how it happens within someone. Is it genetic? Is it learned? What’s the psychology of it?
Martin S. Hagger and Nikos L.D. Chatzisarantis edited a book full of psychological explanations of intrinsic motivation and self-determination in terms of exercise and sport. This book caught my eye because my grandfather Ron Koes immediately came to mind. Though he didn’t fully raise me, his actions while being an athlete and alumni always inspired me to execute myself to the fullest, especially in athletics. The book describes self-determination in terms on self well-being as “the self as an active agent engaged in an outgoing process of integration with ambient cultural and environment inputs (Deci & Ryan, 1991, 2002).” (Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 103). In simpler terms when it comes to taking care of ones self the determination to do so is motivated not by competition, but by yourself because of the environment one was raised in.
I like the contents of this book because it really goes farther than why someone is driven to succeed in sports, as you can see it even describes why someone would want to take care of themselves, either in the context of sports or simply daily tasks. Though this text immediately helps me understand the determined nature in sports, a common characteristic of my grandfather and I, it also applies to all my family members as to what goes on in our brains while accomplishing tasks to the best of our abilities. This goes to show that this significant trait of being determined and motived isn’t hereditary, but it is something that is passed down within the Koes family. It is an acquired trait that each generation develops because they were raised in the environment that encouraged it.
Burstiner, Irving. “What It Takes to Succeed in Your Own Business.” The Small Business Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Starting and Running Your Own Business. New York: Prentice Hall, 1989. N. pag. Print.
My Aunt Karen is not only my biggest insight to my family’s history but she also obtains what makes the roots & routes that makes my family so special. Throughout her lifetime she has accomplished many goals of hers such as making her own clothes instead of buying them, graduating early, providing her own college education, raising a successful family and most recently during the growth of her family, she has managed her own business. Keeping in mind my ultimate question is how did the Koes family become so driven, my Aunt Karen has became the perfect person to not only interview about our family history, but to also about how she became the way she is.
To obtain a different perspective before interviewing Karen, I decided to look into her most recent accomplishment of managing her own business. When thinking about this task I simply thought to myself, well what does it take?, so I obtained a book that outline exactly that. The Small Business Handbook, is a book that outlines everything from personality traits to financial needs and organization skills. The chapter that relates most to my inquiry about my Aunt Karen is the chapter “What does it take to succeed in your own business”. This chapter explains the risks and challenges one must be prepared to face, but it also states that a man or woman must have “obvious traits such as drive, willingness to take chances and persistence.” (burstiner, 9).
Solely looking at personality traits, this book practically definesmy Aunt Karen. Though this book focuses on these characteristics for only a small portion, I know that those initial necessities is what a business will rely on. Without my Aunt Karen obtaining the drive she does, her business wouldn’t be up and running and in turn she wouldn’t be able to provide for her family. Reflecting on all it took for my Aunt Karen to be successful, I become more curious on the details of her path to success. This interests me in asking her many more questions solely about her journey to success. More specifically how much effect did our family have on her journey to success?
Murphy, Alexandra. “Parental Influence on the Emotional Development of Children.” Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt University, 7 May 2014. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
My main question throughout my project proposal has been how can each of my family members differ, yet share the same characteristic of being so determined, driven and motivated in all that they do. Well previously the book Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Exercise and Sport, the conclusion had been that the environment and people around you influence and shape your work ethic. This book specifically related to exercise and sports. I thought that this idea could apply to everyday life and all our actions so I did some research.
The department of Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt University published an article that speaks about the way parents influence the emotional development of their children. This correlates with how the book, Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Exercise and Sport, spoke about environments influencing ones actions. This article written by Alexandra Murphy describes that much more than (the assumed) physical attention in the early infant stages contributes to the emotional stability of a child. In summary, Murphy writes “Children see how their parents display emotions and interact with other people, and they imitate what they see their parents do to regulate emotions”. My hypothesis that sprouted from previous sources is proven true with evidence in this article.
By reading this article, my ultimate question of how did the Koes family get to be this way? is practically answered, it started with my oldest ancestors. Each generation of Koes’ have been excellent at parenting and being great examples of dedication. Each generation has learned from the one before them by observing and imitating great work ethic and dedication to what they love. This now makes me question specifics about each generations parenting skills. Did the children just watch and learn or did their parents specifically tell them the correct way to be dedicated to something. This is a new question that can only be addressed through personal interview with my Aunt Karen, considering a book cannot tell me how my family members have acted in the past. This new curiosity will help me understand more of the routes my family took to become the way they are today.
Hartley-Brewer, Elizabeth. Raising a Self-starter: Over 100 Tips for Parents and Teachers. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, 2004. Print.
I’ve discovered the secret to my family’s success is the way each generation has raised the next and through children mimicking their parents actions. Maybe that’s an obvious assumption, but I wanted to make sure that was accurate. I’ve done so by reading books on general parenting and the psychology of motivation. Though these books have answered an earlier lingering question, they have also brought about a new inquiry, which is exactly HOW do you truly raise a motivated child? In other words, how does one raise a “self-starter”? I was lucky enough to come across a book written by Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer that explains exactly that.
Hartley-Brewer defines and explains motivation in many different aspects. She describes motivation in terms of inspiration, perspiration, aspiration, explanation, and as self-exploration. I think its important to visualize motivation in different terms because it can apply to individuals differently at different points in their life. I think my ancestors must have understand that when dealing with the type of motivation they needed when dealing with the motivation needed to work hard at their job compared to teaching their kids how to motivate their children to getting simple tasks done. Hartley-Brewer also describes that self-esteem is the heart of motivation. It has been proven that “the feedback we get from people whom we love, trust and admire has a profound impact on our self-belief and therefore on our motivation.” ( Hartley-Brewer, 9). This correlates the two texts I’ve read on the way individuals become motivated.
It only makes sense that instilling confidence and looking at motivation in different perspectives is what my family members used to teach motivation because today that is how I feel when i try to instill motivation in others. As I think of all the instances I have tried to motivate someone I use the tactics that Hartley-Brewer explained, which have also seemed present in my family. I don’t think the members of my family realize this is the way we raise each generation, but we do and it has become the Koes way.
Northern Cities versus Southern Cities: Different Personalities? (college, Gated) -General U.S. — City-Data Forum.” Northern Cities versus Southern Cities: Different Personalities? (college, Gated) — General U.S. — City-Data Forum. City- Data, 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
I’ve delved deeply into the personality trait of determination so far. I’ve discovered how it’s learned, why it’s important and exactly what motivation is. I did so because i believe thats the common trace in my family that has been exemplified in my family through our routes. I’ve focused on everything about my families roots & routes except for the impact from the location they are today. The majority of my family has grown up and still resides in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area. Needless to say, we’re yankees. My father and I are actually the only member of the Koes family that does not live up north. My family’s history all occurred up north considering my ancestors came through Ellis Island. When this realization hit me I started to wonder, “maybe that another factor that plays into the seemingly common strand of dedication and motivation that resides in my family.”
To further research this topic I began to evaluate stereotypes of northerners. I started to draw connections between common stereotypes and the hard working ethic of my family. While researching this I found a web article titled “Northern cities versus southern cities: different personalities?”. As i began to read the article it explained that northerners are often described as “no-nonsense, aggressive workers”. The author explains that they believe northerner’s act as so because many northerners have an ethnic background where their ethnicity was, at some point in time, a minority and faced hardship while immigrating and assimilating to the U.S. This means that “the Northeast tier, even most white people had to “fight” for their place through the generations and display a brusque and somewhat more aggressive, and defensive of their economic success.”. (City- Data).
The way of life thats more aggressive and straight forward has rubbed off on my family and shaped the hard workers my family has become. Now that I connect the dots of location and personality, I believe that my family’s routes in the north are an influential factor in the way we are today. At times my family does fit the stereotype of a northerner, but I like the think that the north is just a part that fits into my family’s stereotype. A hard working northerner.
Fischer, P., Sauer, A., Vogrincic, C., and Weisweiler, S. (2010). The ancestor effect: Thinking about our genetic origin enhances intellectual performance. European Journal of Social Psychology. 41 (1), 11–16.
After all my research on my family history and the history of their times I’ve started to think, “how does all of this effect me?”. I decided to look up some sources that explain the effect, if there is one, of researching ones genealogy. I came across an article published by the European Journal of Social Psychology that explains something called “the ancestor effect”. The ancestor effects in the simplest terms is “thinking about your ancestors leads to a mental state that boosts intellectual performance and decision-making.” (Fischer, Sauer, Vogrincic, Weisweiler).
After discovering this my question, most obviously, became why? I assumed this on my own, but I believe that the thought of all the hard-work and sacrifices our ancestors inspires us to work harder ourselves. Maybe this is a subconscious happening, but I think our known instinct of wanting to “follow in our family’s footsteps” kicks in. It also becomes noted that our ancestors got us where we are today and some day years from now someone will be saying the same thing about the actions we had today. I also think this is a thought that subconsciously runs through our mind while researching all that our ancestors did in their time.
Now that I’m addressing this topic I can understand how this mental state boost takes place. Not only looking up our ancestors through ancestry.com, but by annotating sources in correspondence to their times and personal situations makes us truly understand our ancestors. It a most helps us get a true feel for who they they were. By thinking about our ancestors it boosts our brain into a thought process that is wanting to constantly go go go.