Do you want it as bad as Carl Edwards?
For you, “it” refers to your family history project. For race car driver Edwards, “it” refers to crossing the finish line, something the NASCAR driver achieved Sunday despite a horrific 200 miles-per-hour crash near the finish line.
Front-runner Edwards was nearing victory when his car was clipped from behind and sent flying into the catch fence at Talladega, Alabama. It came to rest 100 yards or so from the finish line, demolished and on fire.
The uninjured Edwards crawled from the window of his battered Ford and ran towards the finish line, which he crossed with a sort of hop. Although Edwards, who is known for his victory back flips, was not credited with finishing the race because his car didn’t cross the line, the symbolism was clear.
Do you have the same determination in finishing your family history project or do the following scenarios more accurately describe you?
- I really love hearing the old family stories and looking through the family photos. I hope somebody saves them for future generations.
- My grandparents lived the most interesting lives. Although I missed the chance to save their stories when they were alive, I’ll bet my aunts and uncles could tell me about them if they were asked.
- My parents sure lived through a lot while raising me. We didn’t always get along, but I’m starting to understand why they did what they did. I hope my own children somehow figure out what I’ve learned from them someday.
- I have so many scattered boxes of photos, letters and scrapbooks about my family that it would take years to sort it all out. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday.
These scenarios are all family history killers. If you don’t take on the responsibility yourself, your own important family history could just fade away, depriving future generations of the wisdom gained from previous generations. Family history doesn’t have to be a tedious, tiresome process. Quite the opposite. It should be fun, educational and enlightening.
If you need help, find a personal historian and set up a plan that works for you.
Writing prompt of the day: Identify family members who might help with a family history and contact them. Use them as resources for your project.
Larry Lehmer is a personal historian who helps people preserve their family histories. To learn more, visit his web site, send him an e-mail or follow him on Twitter.
Flickr photo courtesy of rykerstribe.