Wilhelm and Sons

I’m always a little amazed when I see family businesses that are named So-and-so and Sons.  I love my sons but I can’t imagine the three of us working together.  For that matter I can’t imagine the three of us spending that much time together.  What must that be like – forty plus hours a week working side by side with your sons?  Do you ever get to quit being the boss and just be the Dad?  Or do you ever get to quit being the Dad and just be the boss?  It’s mind boggling!

One thing is for certain:  I will never find out.

My sons and I have all taken very different paths.  I for one think it’s a good thing.  Too often Dads think that Junior should be little reincarnations of themselves.  I’ve seen so many unhappy sons and frustrated fathers that one of my goals in life was to NOT have my sons take after me!  Except for loving their children – which they should do. 

My son Tyson is a military man.  He is career Air Force and has worked/lived in several states as well as in Europe.  This fall he is headed to Asia.  He is orderly, disciplined and totally committed to serving our country.  He is a model Airman.  And as a 31 year old Master Sergeant, he has done extremely well in his career.  His life is routine, structured and regimented.  He sees most things in life as pretty much black or white!

My son Blake is a cook and a Sous-Chef.  He is artistic and musical.  He was a theater major in college but his passion is cooking!  In 2001 he left home for the University of Wisconsin in Madison and he’s been there ever since.  At 27 he’s still finding himself.  He often lives on the edge. Sometimes he hangs over the edge!  His life is messy, rebellious, and chaotic.  Everything for him is a shade of gray.

Wilhelm and Sons in Heidelberg Germany

I’m a strange combination of both of them.  I desire structure and routine in my life but I become bored and distracted easily.  I love to give orders like Tyson but I loathe taking them as does Blake!  Like Tyson, I would be too panicky ‘living on the edge’ but I’m little envious of the freedom that Blake has.  Ironically I see a bit of myself in both my sons, even though I have always tried to discourage any “following in dad’s foot-steps” hooey.  Maybe some of it is genetic; maybe some of it is modeled behavior.  Either way, it’s amusing to see them (sort of) become like me at times – they’re probably not amused at all!

My boys are different from one another in so many ways but they share many of the same qualities, too.  And the things in common are the important things:  love for one another; love for their mother and sister; love of family; concern for those less fortunate; and even a ‘soft spot’ for the Old Man. 

As a father, I have a strong devotion to Saint Joseph the patron saint of all fathers.  My prayers always include my boys (and my girl) but while asking God to take care of them, I sometimes forget to thank God.  So thank you for my children!  You did a good job.  And God, thanks for letting me have a hand in it, too.

Wilhelm and Sons? Kind of has a nice ring to it after all!



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