Family Stories fire on a stick

How are family stories like fire on a stick? Michael Leavitt explains.

“Family stories are fire on a stick.” That s a quote from Michael Leavitt.

Michael O. Leavitt, three-time governor of Utah and former US cabinet member under President George Bush, was a keynote speaker at RootsTech 2016. He.entertained the RootsTech audience with stories. Not stories of his ancestors, as you might expect, but rather shared his own memories.

For instance, he told of calling home–in this case the governor’s mansion–and speaking to his young son.  His son whispered to his dad that mom couldn’t come to the phone. Neither could his older sister. “What are the busy doing?” asked the governor.

“Looking for me!”

He also shared stories of public life. Not surprisingly, some of the ex-governor’s fondest memories from his years in office revolve around the Salt Lake City Olympics Games.

Family Stories and the Olympic Flame

He “got” the significance of the Olympic flame. Flammable materials are lit–combusted–by the sun. As a result, the flame represents “the perpetual light of the sun.” However, It took him longer to grasp the power of the torch. At first he was surprised at the interest of carrying what he thought of as “fire on a stick.”

But he came to understand that more than fire was passed from one torch bearer to another. Each passed their values, their beliefs about what matters in life, to the next torch-bearer with the flame.

Each new runner or carrier didn’t simply take up the flame. They carried a responsibly. The assumed the aspirations of the torch’s forebearers. They picked up the pride and the hope.

“Family stories are fire on a stick.”

Well said, Mr. Leavitt.

Your Turn:

What family stories could you share? Where’s you fire on a stick?

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