An unexpected side effect of the Year of Celebration last year for me was family history research. I already knew that my dad was an Eagle Scout and that his dad earned the Silver Beaver, but as I worked on some of the requirements for my ribbons, I ended up learning quite a bit more, which led me to asking more questions and learning even more about the history of Scouting and how it related to my family and the Church.
One of the requirements I chose to do was to write an article about a Scouting leader who made a positive difference in my life. I decided to write about my granddad, because, even though he was not my Scouting leader, he was a Scouting leader, and he definitely had a big impact on my life. I asked my dad some questions, and in the course of writing the article, learned not only some fun things about both my dad and granddad, I realized a few things about leadership that I had not thought about before. You can read the full article here.
I also made a Scouting Family Tree. This involved asking my brothers and dad for a few details so that I could fill out the chart. Through this I learned things I didn't know about my brothers' differing exeriences and opinions about Scouting.
I even came across, through chance, some interesting information about the history of Scouting in the Church. You may know that the Church became the first official chartered organization of the BSA three years after Scouting came to the US. But did you know that the Church actually implemented Scouting as part of the YMMIA two years before that, and that it was Gordon B. Hinkley's father who made the motion to make the affiliation official? (source) I thought that was an interesting bit of trivia.
Scouting can provide a similar opportunity to open up some family history conversations with your relations. It might give you some common ground you never knew you had with fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, etc. One leader I know has been enthusiastic and done great things ever since she was called. I was not surprised to learn that it was due in large part to her dad being an avid Scouter. It is certainly a worthy legacy to live up to.
I look forward to being able to pass on the things I learned to my boys, to be able to share with them their Scouting family history.