Tuesday, 21 July 2015 23:13

Life on Little House - I Am A Pioneer

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Little House on the Prairie... you know you cried, and couldn't stand Nellie, you adored Pa, wanted to make Ma proud and eventually fell in love with Almanzo. And mostly, you wanted to run through a flowery, hill-side field when your chores were done, just like Laura. No? Well, I did. Growing up, I was convinced I was a long-lost member of the Ingall's family. I really wanted to be a pioneer. Compound that desire with the fact that I grew up in Utah, where pioneers are pretty much king – and have a whole day to themselves to annually celebrate their achievements. July 24th is Pioneer Day in Utah – it's as big as the 4th of July. For some, it's bigger!

What's not to love of a people that accomplished this:

“The Mormons were one of the principal forces in the settlement of the West. Their main body opened southern Iowa, the Missouri frontier, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah. Samuel Brannan’s group of eastern Saints who sailed around the Horn in the ship Brooklyn, and the Mormon Battalion that marched 2,000 miles overland from Fort Leavenworth to San Diego, were secondary prongs of the Mormon movement; between them, they contributed to the opening of the Southwest and of California. Battalion members were at Coloma when gold gleamed up from the bedrock of Sutter’s millrace. ... Brigham Young’s colonizing Mormons, taking to wheels again after the briefest stay, radiated outward from the Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber Valleys and planted settlements that reached from Northern Arizona to the Lemhi River in Idaho, and from Fort Bridger in Wyoming to Genoa in Carson Valley ... , and in the Southwest down through St. George and Las Vegas to San Bernardino.”

But the feeling that I had missed out on something (by a century or more), changed for me when one day I heard the following:

“It is not enough to study or reenact the accomplishments of our pioneers. We need to identify the great, eternal principles they applied to achieve all they achieved for our benefit and then apply those principles to the challenges of our day. In that way we honor their pioneering efforts, and we also reaffirm our heritage and strengthen its capacity to bless our own posterity... We are all pioneers in doing so.”

I didn't miss out on anything! I. Am. A. Pioneer!  And so are you!

Over the next week or so, I'll post some questions, that explore those principles of being a pioneer. Follow me on Instagram, use and explore the hashtag #IamAPioneer and join in sharing YOUR Pioneering stories. Use the questions to interview family members, and start some fun dinner-time chats with the ones you love. And if you don't have plans for the 24th of July – come to Utah and join the party!

Last modified on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 15:38
Carol Rice

I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.

As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."

Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.

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