|May 2014, Orem City Cemetery, visiting their great-grandma Pete (Leola Peterson)|
As I was pondering this month's link up topic "Why Share Family History With Children", I kept thinking about why I want my children to know about their family history and their heritage. Why is it so important that they know? And what do I want them to know?
I want them to know that they belong to large family organizations full of people who love and care about them. Full of people who have experienced hardship and happiness, struggle and success, and sadness and joy. And that all of these experiences and emotions are part of life and are normal. I want to share with them stories and pictures of family members so they can learn from others experiences and can find their own strengths as they overcome their own challenges.
I want them to know that those family members who have died still love them and are concerned about them. As a mother I know how deeply I love my children and I know I will love all my grandchildren and great-grandchildren throughout the eternities as I know that my grandparents and great-grandparents obviously love and are concerned about me. I want them to know that they are in the middle of generations past and generations yet to be that love them.
I want them to know about their history and the heritage and freedoms given to them by their ancestors. I want them to know about their family members sacrifices. I want them to know how they fit into history, where their family members lived and what they accomplished in their lives.
One day, as a young teen, I was reading a story about my 4th Great-Grandparents, Elisha Hurd and Lucy Simmons Groves. I was amazed to find out that they were called by LDS Church leaders to settle and establish the area in which I was living. My parents had individually moved to this area to attend college and my mother did not know the story of her ancestors. I promised myself that day that I would know the history of all my ancestors and I would pass those stories, lessons, emotions, and memories to my children. Why? So that my children would know their heritage.
As a parent I have a great responsibility to know the stories and the history so that I can teach values and principles to my children. If I don't know them myself, then how can I teach my children?
There is an amazing power that fills my life when I am working on my family history. I have literally felt, not only the love, but also the protection of my deceased family members. They care about me! They care that I am interested in learning about them and they have power to protect me in my life. It is not just the principles I learn from their history (frugality, sacrifice, hard work, etc) that provide protection. It is actual physical and spiritual protection directly provided by them. I want my children to have this protection.
|“Ministry of Angels” – Kerri Guthrie, used with permission|
Prophets have also promised protection when we participate in family history.
“As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.” - Elder David A. Bednar, The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn, October 2011 General Conference.
“Do you … want a sure way to eliminate the influence of the adversary in your life? Immerse yourself in searching for your ancestors, prepare their names for the sacred vicarious ordinances available in the temple, and then go to the temple to stand as proxy for them to receive the ordinances … Have you prayed about your own ancestors’ work? Set aside those things in your life that don’t really matter. Decide to do something that will have eternal consequences.” – Elder Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Redeeming the Dead,” General Conference, October 2012.
Why do I want my children to know? I want them to know that they belong to something much larger than themselves, that all the people in their family love them and will love them throughout all eternity. That having knowledge about where their family came from and with what they struggled will provide power. That their ancestors who are in the spirit world can literally provide protection to them throughout their lives.
This is what I want my children to know and this why it is important for me to share family history with them.