One of those topics that has been haunting me for years. I kept telling myself, "It's just not my time," while also believing that this was not something just for the elderly. But each time I tried to add family history research into my life, it took so much time just to learn how to do it that I'd end up frustrated.
Then, to add to the nagging feeling I was already having, Elder Bednar came out with an excellent talk wherein he spoke of family history serving as a protection for your children. Who doesn't want that?! But, again, I would try, time after time with seemingly no success. And so, instead of working on it myself I'd tell the kids, "You guys need to work on indexing." A mother's prodding is never really enough though - - especially when she's not willing to do so herself!
So, with family circumstances as they are (busy teenage schedules, husband adjusting to new job, and me home all day "with nothing to do" - ha-ha) my husband suggested I take over family night and teach all of the lessons for awhile. At first I was worried that if we did this the kids would never learn how to teach. Really? Yeah. I'm good at making excuses. ;-) So, that's what we've done - - I took over family night lessons.
When I sat down to prepare my first lesson, I was struck by the family history topic. The primary section in lds.org is so fabulous for finding material on lessons with a wide age-range of kids. And really, the lesson was nothing special at all. It was fun, short and inspiring.
We started with this fun ABC's of Family History quiz (the kids love it when I pull out the desk bells).
Next we watched this Mormon Message about a boy who was on fire with family history and how he got his family all involved.
Then, we took a stroll to look at what I've called our Family History Wall. I have something made by
my grandma Pack and grandma Fawson hanging on the wall. On this wall I have also hung our family tree, something my mom made for our wedding. I hope to add some items from J's family soon as well. Anyway, we talked about these items and what an heirloom is.
To conclude, we each chose a family history goal we would work on that week to report at the next family home evening. These goals ranged from write in their journal to find a name to take to the temple.
Overall it was very successful just as an introduction to the topic and everyone was involved and eager to join in. I left determined to have one family history lesson each month.
Just last week we had our second family history lesson. Honestly, this one was much less organized than the last one. I actually deferred the lesson to our daughter, Brooklynn, who showed us how to find names in our family who need ordinances performed. What the night ended up looking like was actually way cool and inspiring!
We realized that only my husband, our two oldest kids and I had LDS Accounts. So, we got each child set up on a different device and got them their own account. We spent the rest of the evening looking for names. Let me tell you how exciting it was when a child would shout, "I found someone!" Or even better, "I found a whole bunch of names!" And, just yesterday my two younger boys asked, "Can we do family history!?" Ummm.....of course!
So, right now I have a beautiful stack of temple cards ready to take to the temple!
What I Learned
Family History does not have to be challenging.
Family Night Lessons do not need to be complicated.
Now I just need to keep the ball rolling!
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"I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories....I testify Elijah returned to the earth and restored the sacred sealing authority. I witness that what is bound on earth can be bound in heaven. And I know the youth of the rising generation have a key role to play in this great endeavor."
Elder David A. Bednar, CR November 2011