Learning where I come from - Jason Smith

I've been thinking a lot about looking up my family history.

I know about my ancestors, to some degree, but not nearly as well as I should.

One day last week, I was watching a television program with my wife and mother-in-law, called "Who Do You Think You Are?"

In it, celebrities researched the history of their families. I've only seen a few, brief moments of the show, but it was enough to pique my curiosity about my relatives from long ago.

It was interesting to see famous people, like Rosie O'Donnell, and Vanessa Williams, becoming emotional when learning about the struggles of their ancestors.

As I watched, I began to think about my own family, and how I want my daughter to grow up knowing where she came from.

I know I have a predominantly Irish background on my mother's side, and an American Indian influence on my father's side. But beyond a few past generations, I don't know as much as I would like to.

I was thinking about that program this weekend, when I was at - of all places - church. One of our deacons was preaching the sermon, and he said something which really stuck out to me.

He was talking about how God wants His people to follow Him, not from a sense of compulsion or obligation, but because it is the desire of our hearts to do His will. One of the points the speaker made, was about reading and studying the Bible to know what God's will for our lives is.

He said it is important for us to know our family history, from a spiritual standpoint, as well as a physical one.

His statement hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had been thinking about looking up information on my ancestors, but how much time do I spend reading and studying about my Heavenly Father?

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with doing a genealogical study about my family, but I should put forth the same effort, and even more, toward diving into the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Most of the time, I don't do that, like I should.

As I thought about the sermon, my mind drifted back to my little girl, and what I want to teach her as she grows older, about who she is, and where she comes from.

Yes, I want her to know about her blood ancestors, but it is so much more important to me, that she learn about God, and His plan for His people.

As for whether I will research my physical family history, I suppose it depends on how much time I have to devote to such an endeavor.

But, when it comes to knowing God, and developing a passion for His glory, the best time for me to begin that process is now.

Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.