How will you be remembered? In answering that question, think not about your accomplishments or the people by whom you’ll be admired, but of the ways in which your descendants will learn about you. They won’t be able to follow you on social media, and even if they could, what you like and follow today may not reflect what you like and follow tomorrow, or who you are as an actual person. If you don’t keep a journal, once you and those who know you pass, your only lingering mark in this world might be a small rock on a plot of land in the local cemetery. FamilySearch is looking to change that. With their new social media campaign, #52Stories, the LDS-owned genealogy site provides users with a series of writing prompts, in the form of questions, for their personal journals or family history projects–one for every week of the year. The idea is to help people not only write in their journals, but write meaningfully–thus providing their life stories with more enriching and fulfilling details.
The questions so far have been simple. This week’s question is: what is something you taught yourself without any help from someone else? In answering that particular question, it might be useful to read the example of alumni Christopher Wilms, who taught himself how to start a successful soda and sweets shop called Pop ‘n Sweets. In other weeks, you might be invited to write about your most important and valued friendships, or your childhood home. The whole list of questions is available here. But don’t feel restricted to only these questions if you want to take part. As college students, you could tailor the experience more specifically to your needs and life circumstances. For instance, you could write a post about your academic goals for this semester. (For help on this, check out this blog post.) Or maybe you could write an entry about your favorite professor or a faculty member who’s been particularly meaningful in your life. If you’re more determined, check out the resources available to you through FamilyHistory.byu.edu.
Dennis B. Neuenschwander, in a 1999 LDS general conference address, said: “A life that is not documented is a life that within a generation or two will largely be lost to memory. What a tragedy this can be in the history of a family. Knowledge of our ancestors shapes us and instills within us values that give direction and meaning to our lives.” Whatever rules and goals you set for yourself, be sure to make #52Stories a meaningful experience for you so that you can be remembered accurately and fully by your descendants. Make the time–it’s well worth it!