Personal Histories

One thing that the church asks us to do is write our personal histories, and to write the personal histories of other family members. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a hard time thinking that anything I do will be of much importance to those that come after me. I live a really simple life, and I doubt that I will do anything truly life changing. I am just trying to be the best person I can be, and help those around me, not exactly an exciting life. But I do know the importance of personal histories.

One example comes to mind. My grandfather, who we always called Baba, was a simple man. He worked hard all his life, and tried so hard to help those around him. I know that he was not very comfortable sitting down with my mom to give her the interviews that allowed her to write his personal history. But I am so grateful for that history. Baba passed away when I was ten years old. We had a very special bond, and I have fond memories of him as my grandfather.

However, it wasn’t until I was twenty three years old, and asked my grandmother for a copy of his personal history that I truly learned about all that my Baba did to help others, and all that he sacrificed for his family. He grew up during the Great Depression, and as a young boy he would sell newspapers to help support his family. When he was seventeen he lied about his age so he could join the CCC and help support his family back home. He had a job during World War II that allowed him to avoid the draft, and yet he still signed up and served as a marine. He received a Purple Heart, after he was injured trying to help another soldier who was shot. Baba sacrificed his dream of owning a carpentry business, so that he could make a solid living for his family. On top of all this he was constantly serving others and helping whenever he saw a need.

Reading this personal history has given me strength as I have struggled with decisions about what is best for my family, and his sacrifice and service to others stands as a strong example to me. I only hope that as I live my life I can make him as proud of me as I am of him.

Over the next few days I am going to write some tips to writing a personal history, and how to get started with the seemingly daunting task. Do you have any personal histories from your family which mean a lot to you?