Helping Others without Spoiling the Fun

The spiritual thought at a recent Consultant Meeting gave me food for thought. The director said, in essence, “We do family history because we should, because it is right.” Then using a very LDS example he went on to say, “For some, the experience is like Laman and Lemuel returning for the brass plates; arduous and unpleasant. For others, it is an adventure because they enjoy the journey.”

The journey lovers often try to entice the unconverted by doing their research and presenting them with mounds of information. The indifferent may find one or two tidbits interesting but their eyes soon glaze over while we happily prattle on about how exciting everything is. They may be grateful for our help but their heart has not been changed. Sigh.

How can we help someone feel the joy that we feel? Part of our enthusiasm comes from FINDING the information we are seeking. Looking at your grandmother’s pedigree charts is not as much fun as going onto the Internet and finding your great grandparents on a ship’s passenger list. Our spirits are touched by the Spirit of Elijah as we seek for our ancestors and find them. The pleasure comes from putting forth effort and eventually having success.

Perhaps we can provide others with a successful experience by scouting ahead and finding information about their family. When the time is right, we can help them by teaching them about a research tool, then letting them plug in the name and find their person. Bingo! Success! They sought for something and found it. Maybe something will stir within them because they had a positive experience.

Patiently waiting for the right time to teach and lead may be a greater gift than stacks of stuff they cannot appreciate at this time. Teach them how to fish. It will taste better than the fully cooked fish on a platter.

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2 Responses

  1. Well said, Cina.

    For years my wife has done the genealogy in our family. When I would try to get started, she would give me what she had and point me to where I might go from there. The problem was that the place she stopped was where she had hit a roadblock. So I was left with trying to learn by doing research in areas that were very difficult. Naturally, I never had any success, so I never got enthusiastic about it.

    I have recently started again, but this time I am starting on the task of filling in source information for my ancestors who have already been identified. My wife has done a good job of entering sources for most of my ancestors. But even there, I can add the scanned images of the original documents. And it is a good thing I am taking the time to do that. Many of the photocopies of documents that she ordered years ago are starting to fade. And I am learning the research process by searching for the documents that we don’t already have.

    This time around I am having success. It feels good and makes me want to do more. I am finally catching the genealogy “bug”.

    • John,
      I had considered putting in a P.S. to my blog but your statement, “The problem was that the place she stopped was where she had hit a roadblock. So I was left with trying to learn by doing research in areas that were very difficult.” said it all. I am glad to hear you have started adding sources and scanned records. Not only will this project preserve the records you have already obtained it will provide the next generation with a firm foundation for their research. Best of all, you finally have the benefit of learning the research process. I am glad you have found your niche; your perserverence has paid off!

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