We had a snow storm last week. It was the biggest we have seen this year—probably 8+ inches in the valley. My wife and I started up the snow blower and used it to make one pass down the driveway. Its swath was significant, because the fallen snow that had accumulated in our neighborhood was wet and heavy and deep.
Unfortunately, however, after one pass down the driveway, the snow blower coughed a little and stopped running altogether. So we tried starting it and made sure the machine had gas, but no luck. So back to the snow, we resorted to shovels. I am not saying that we did it begrudgingly, but I thought how much easier it would be with the snow blower.
Gratefully our neighbor lent us his shovel, so at least we had two shovels to complete the task. The snow was deep and heavy. While we worked, my daughter came outside and started building a snowman. She formed and stacked the balls of snow to form the body, and then she placed a scarf around its neck and used branches for the arms. Placing a carrot for the nose and other accessories, it was soon complete. Since we were in the yard shoveling snow, it was a family affair, and we enjoyed being all together. And that kind of family fun is frequent and just a taste of what is yet to come.
Instead of an unpleasant morning shoveling snow, we had a delightful experience and made a memory. My mother was really good at that. When we lived on the farm, she was known to make our drudgery of the farm much more enjoyable. A large pitcher of cool lemonade and homemade chocolate chip cookies made the work projects more than bearable; they were fun. My mother had the uncanny ability to turn a simple task like cutting down a Christmas tree into a treasured experience and a lifetime memory.
We would don our hats, coats, and gloves, then throw sleds and snow-flings into the back of the truck for our fifteen minute drive to the mountains. We spent the whole day together as a family—no wonder my best friends are my siblings. Our activities were never lavish and usually consisted of homemade accommodations, but now those memories propel me along and give me great joy still today.
What I am saying is that our hardships, struggles, and experiences in life can have a tremendous influence on our futures. And what is true for memories from our childhood is also true for our lives in the present day. There are amazing technological breakthroughs, modern wonders, and life-changing opportunities all around us, but we must be diligent to treasure and capture those memories, so we can enjoy them throughout the remainder of our lives.
I had an aha moment the other day in this regard. I was reading from 3 Nephi when I unexpectedly encountered an incident that described the importance of capturing the treasured experiences of our lives and writing them down for the benefit of others and to glorify our Father In Heaven. The Savior asked to review the records which the Nephites kept. He found that the testimony of Samuel, the Lamanite, unto these people regarding the many saints that did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them had not been included. Nearly forty years after the fact, the oversight was captured.
Still snowing like crazy
In a similar way as the snowstorm that hit my home recently, the flurry of technological media today gives us a voice that can extend far beyond the biggest blizzard. It can reach outside your city, state, and even the country. Your voice can bless and help family members today and echo into future generations yet unimagined. It’s unfathomable. And technologies are changing every day. Our influence will be greatly magnified as the Internet phenomenon continues to grow in size, capacity, and availability. What message do you want to share with your family and posterity infinitum?
Family history is now on the Internet and as such will perpetuate for generations. Histories are on our phones, email, iPads, Instagram feed, Facebook, blogs, websites, and digital documents and music. It’s all around you and still snowing like crazy; the storm of technology appears it will only grow in size and capacity and availability.
After the restoration of the gospel and the priesthood in a matter of several decades following the organization of the Church, the world was about to change forever. Perhaps you have heard the quote attributed to Charles H. Duell, who was the Commissioner of US patent office back in 1899. Mr. Deull’s most famous attributed utterance is that “everything that can be invented has been invented.”
What the church and the world then witnessed over the next century is astonishing even to the casual observer. Automobiles, airplanes, information age, space travel, and more recently the technology explosion all came about in a matter of a lifetime. My mother-in-law in her 90’s saw most of it happen. When I was a boy, I spoke with my 99-year-old grandma who remembered it all. The point is that for nearly two-thousand years, man traveled by horse and significant growth and discoveries happened slowly. But now, in the matter of a single lifetime advancements and discoveries and inventions have cataclysmic effects on our lives and our posterity yet unborn.
How can it change even now? We have such amazing media sources to choose from. I don’t know how the media types will develop with flexibility, availability, and capacity. I just know they will. For instance, audio histories could take on increased use and visibility in the years to come. Imagine that. Listening to your grandmother’s voice or father’s voice tell the stories you cherished while growing up would have a sense of authenticity and particular individuality that has previously been impossible. It’s not only possible, it’s happening.
Digital recordings are common and already in use. Dozens of pictures, videos, and audio media are available and already created by our posterity. My grandchildren already have more digital memories than I will ever have, and they are only months old. And that’s the way it should be. Gratefully, they will leave a legacy of information and memories for their families and posterity unlike anything possible in our ancestors’ days.
So this article started with a description of our snow storm and the snow blower woes. We took it down to the mechanic. He took a look at it while we were standing in his entrance. He said “I know what the problem is. The Spark plug cord has come loose.” Problem resolved in less than five minutes, and though the problem was minor, we had to refer to an expert.
So what lesson is to be learned from this story? Don’t let the most important treasures of your life pass without your capturing them and celebrating them now and saving them for your posterity. If you need help, go to the experts. They are your children and grandchildren. They can help you do it.
It’s still snowing like crazy … make the most of it.
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.