Who are you?

Ah, summertime….the time we look forward to all year in Arizona so we can complain about the heat.

Wait, that’s not right…

Ah, summertime…the time we teachers look forward to all year so we can catch up around the house.

That’s more like it. The heat has actually been bearable this year. Of course, it is only June. There’s time, there’s time.

When school ends and summer starts, I like to sit down and make a list of all the things I want to accomplish in the few short weeks of freedom I have. It’s that basic list most people have. You know, deep clean the fridge, weed out the clothes that don’t fit the kid anymore, work in my garden, work on the food storage and genealogy, completely repaint the interior and exterior of my home, redo all the flooring, the fireplace wall, the bathrooms, the laundry room, buy all new furniture, write a novel…..

This is why, in reality, I don’t make a list. It gets out of hand way too quickly. It is a bit easier to just focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes, the summer ends and I look back to find I didn’t do much of anything besides swim with the kids and make monster balls. Sometimes I look back and pat myself on the back for all the stuff I’ve done. This summer, I’m just enjoying each day.

I’ve been dabbling in family history lately. Someone once said that we are all reaping the rewards of the hard work and sacrifice of those who have gone before. (At least I think I heard that…if not, I made it up!) Reading through some of my own family histories, I am amazed at some of the trials and hardships my ancestors have gone through.

We did a fun thing for father’s day. Usually, the family all gets together for events like this on a Sunday. We eat and then we kind of gravitate to little groups by age. It’s fun and it’s fine, but it has started to feel a bit shallow. At least for the person/s, we are supposed to be celebrating. I wanted to focus on my dad this year, so I printed out a list of questions for him to answer. I got the idea from our Stake Conference the night before. One thing I love about my church is the little gems we receive all the time to help us grow and strengthen our family.

I made the questions into a sort of game. I would ask my dad the question and everyone else would think of what THEY thought the right answer was. My dad would give the right answer and anyone who got the answer right would give themselves a point. I had a Hershey bar as a prize. The questions started simple like: What is your full name? What is your birth date? What was your father’s full name? What was your mother’s full name? They got harder as we got into things like, What was your first car? Did you get into trouble in high school? What is one thing your family doesn’t know about you that would surprise them?

I kind of thought the kids would get restless or bored, so I skipped through some of the questions I had. What actually happened was kind of great. My dad didn’t just answer the questions, he told stories. Lots of amazing stories. He had a twinkle in his eye and a big smile on his face. He laughed, he cried, he joked…everyone loved it.

What I didn’t know, was that my dad had been similarly inspired to add some family history to our event. He had printed out some profiles of our ancestors, mostly fathers, and we had to guess who they were from his clues. He even brought pictures for us to see.

It was an amazing day that ended up so much better than I had expected. Not only did everyone totally love learning about my dad and some of our ancestors, one of my nephews asked if we could do that at every family event AND if we could start writing it all down so we could make a book.

I think we give the youth too little credit when it comes to family history. I think that sometimes, for me especially, we just get caught up in the here and now and we forget about all those who came before us who set us up so well. Some of my ancestors were complete rock stars who worked their tails off building Arizona! Some traveled across the plains in covered wagons, enduring all that hot and cold and just…stuff I wouldn’t want to do…just so I could be here. The kids actually do want to know this stuff. They do care.

The thought that stuck out to me at the Stake Conference was proven right that Sunday. I don’t remember who was talking, but they said that research shows that children who know their family…really know them…and not just the ones living in their house, but the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and ancestors, were more likely to stick with that family and follow the teachings of their parents. They need that sense of belonging to something bigger than just them. Don’t we all need that?

I almost attacked a poor woman at church yesterday because she had the same last name as my grandparents. I cornered her and made her get out her phone so we could see if we were related on the family tree app. “Find a relative near me.” I was so excited to find out we were 11th cousins! But the really cool thing is that it wasn’t through the name I had thought. We may be related on both sides; her’s and her husband’s side. I was so excited!

I never really got into genealogy before, but I have the bug now and I think I’ve spread it to my family and I couldn’t be happier!

What do you know about YOUR family tree?

Check it out…Cause I said so!

Photo is of My Grandmother and her family.

Familysearch.org