Providential encounters, courage to take risks, a thirst to understand human development, and a love story that lasted 69 1/2 years; these are things that characterize Jacob Goering, of North Newton and his life of 96 years. In his memoir, he included a couplet by Goethe. "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it, Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
Still active, Goering is a member of the North Newton Community Foundation, which started two years ago. The Jacob D. and Beth E. Goering Charitable Fund supplies part of the money the NNCF donates. The NNCF is currently accepting grant applications for their 2013 year of operations. NNCF Chair Jim Goering said they value Jake Goering's wisdom and experience.
Born in 1918, Goering grew up in McPherson County, near Elyria. As a baby, he suffered from a nearly fatal dermatological disorder called, ersipelas. He still carries the scars of this experience and credits his survival to his mother's care and belief in him. He feels the experience contributed to his lifelong willingness to take chances and risks.
Goering met his wife, Beth, as a student at Bethel College in 1938. She was there through a chance meeting between her father and a member of the Bethel College community, Willis Rich. "Beth was the sweetest person in the world," said Goering. She passed away several years ago.
In his memoirs, Goering says, "...it may be that the central feature of what I learned at Bethel was self-respect, a sense of self-worth and the importance of taking personal responsibility for my life. I learned there that the quality of my life would be determined largely by the choices that I made as I responded day by day to the issues and events I encountered." He graduated May, 1941 and married Beth in August, as war marched towards the USA.
Goering served in Civilian Public Service camps in; Denison, Iowa; Lapine, Oregon; and North Fork, California. Always eager to show that he wasn't afraid of hard work, Goering participated in forest firefighting in CA.
After the war, five years of service and a baby, Goering's desire to continue in psychology led the family to Chicago. He received a BD degree from Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Through the efforts of a Dr. Jesse Ziegler, he was accepted in the master's degree program in human development at the University of Chicago.
The need to support his growing family cut short Goering's studies. In 1950, he accepted a position of psychologist/clinical assistant at Brook Lane Farm, an active psychiatric treatment center established by the MCC in Maryland. He spent seven years there, receiving "virtually a private tutoring in psychiatry."
While working at Brook Lane Farm, Goering took evening courses during three years at the University of Maryland to complete his degree. In 1957, he joined the Institute for Child Study faculty and became a full professor in 1972. He was a faculty member for 26 years, until his retirement at the age of 65.
Goering enjoyed many educational adventures abroad. In 1964, he received a Fullbright scholarship and took his family spent to Berlin for six months as he worked on Parent Education Project. Goering was greatly influenced by Carl Jung and spent time at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich at different times during the 1970s. In 1978, he was awarded the Diploma of Analytic Pyschology, becoming a member of the International Association of Analytical Pyschology, which had at that time only 1,000 members worldwide.
After his retirement in 1983, Goering had a private practice of psychotherapy and Jungian psychoanalysis for 13 years.
Goering moved to North Newton in 1996, for Beth's osteoporosis treatment. They are known in the community for parenting the Sand Creek Trail at Bethel College. Along with other retirees, they created a safe walking trail for enjoying nature.
Ever the mentor and psychologist, Goering continues to share wisdom and encouragement to people he meets. He encouraged me, beginning with a quote from Soren Kiekgaard, "the task of life is to become that person who you truly are. For that you have to respect yourself...it's the most dignified thing in the world to be a human being. If you want to get religious, Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. If you can't love yourself, I'm not sure you can really love anybody else. In Jungian psychology, the key is balance. Thinking is not everything; thinking and feeling have to be balanced. And now you know the whole story."