Most of the fam saw this presentation last Friday night at the reunion. You can stop reading now. But for those who missed it, here's the whole script plus pictures (thanks Chea, you're amazing).
I. Leaf/Tree Activity
Narrator: I brought with me today something special. Inside this bag are some leaves, but not just any leaves. These leaves have some important names on them. (Dump leaves out on floor or table.)
Narrator: Can each of you find your own name on a leaf? Take your leaf and hold it in your hand and wait until everyone has found their own name.
Narrator: Where do leaves belong? What do leaves grow on? That’s right, a tree. Leaves grow on trees. I have a special tree here that I brought. A family tree. (Display tree)
Our tree is like our family. We have Grandpa and Grandma Arnett, they are the root and foundation of our tree. Our Uncles and Aunts and cousins are the branches and leaves. Let’s see if we can put our leaves on our tree.
When finished putting leaves on, say:
Our tree looks beautiful with all our names on it. Look at all those lovely first names. Each of us has a name chosen for us by our parents, don’t we? And they chose names that would bestow honor upon each son or daughter. This is because names are an important thing.
II. Name Spelling Activity
Narrator: Just as each leaf and each person has an important first name, we all have a shared family name too. Who knows what that name is? (Arnett)
That’s right. Arnett is our family name. It is held in common by everyone here, whether we married into and took on that family name, or we have a different last name from our Dad, it doesn’t matter, we all own and share the Arnett name.
What would you like people to think when they hear your name? Can you think of some things the name Arnett might stand for?(Allow children to respond, accept any answers)
Narrator: Those are all great things our family could stand for.
I have been thinking about this and we came up with some things that might spell and represent our family.
We need some helpers today to help us spell out our family name. (Have children hold up letter/pics one at a time as
each letter is discussed. Have them remain standing until entire name is spelled out)
A -Stands for Achievement. To be an Arnett means you are willing to try. You may fail at times, but you are an active participant in life.
The famous quote says it well: If we don’t try, we don’t do. And if we don’t do, then why are we here? (from Shenandoah)
We celebrate and promote the spirit of achievement in our family—whether it be athletic achievements, pursuing higher education, starting and running a business, running a marathon, raising healthy and happy children, or overcoming our own personal demons. And yes, this includes even near single handedly building a canal.
R – Stands for Resiliency. Our family, like all families, has had challenges and trials. But the Arnett way of handling the storms of life is through testimony and faith. Our testimonies and perspective on life allows us to develop resiliency and strength. We can face our problems by relying on the Lord. And we keep on going by learning from the past.
Grandpa and Grandma demonstrated the ability to recover from illness, hardships, and disappointment. They have passed on to us the ‘resiliency gene’, the ability to bounce back from stress and crisis –better, not bitter.
N- stands for Nuts. To be an Arnett means you are a little eccentric. It means you may believe in lasers and levitation, or you may trim your toenails with an exacto knife. It means you see the world a little differently, creatively.
Arnetts can laugh at the absurd and don’t take themselves too seriously.
The ability to see the humor in a situation is a gift- one Grandpa Howard had perfected in his life. It is what made him so endearing to others. Humor does that, it draws people in and allows them to relax. It is no small thing to lift and brighten others through one’s wit.
E– stands for example
Grandpa and Grandma Arnett are ancestors we can be proud of. They gave us lessons to live by. They were worthy role models and great examples of wise living.
They had the ability to touch and inspire others simply by being themselves. They were great missionaries and while never serving a formal mission, they converted neighbors and colleagues to the gospel simply through their friendship and good lives.
To be an Arnett means that no matter where you go or live in the world or where life takes you, you have an influence on those around you. We also have a great influence on each other. Uncles and Aunts, cousins, siblings. We all have the ability to lift and encourage one another. When one of us achieves or overcomes or remains constant then we all take lessons from that person’s life. From a very early age, the next generation absorbs the lessons of the previous one.
Looking back to the way our parents and grandparents solved problems may reveal ways in which we can approach our own challenges. Learning how Grandpa and Grandma faced setbacks while raising a family can give us comfort as we weather the uncertainty of our own times.
The love and devotion exhibited between Grandpa and Grandma can be a great lesson on respect and affection in our own marriages.
The framed pictures of our family and extended family hung on the walls of our homes serve as a reminder that faith and character is in our pedigree and we can draw from their examples when we need it the most.
T – stands for Talented.
To be an Arnett means that you are creative to the core and are interested in many things.
We are a family made up of: musicians, photographers, writers, dancers, teachers, event planners, athletes and comedians.
With all of these gifts and talents comes the expectation that we will share them in the service of others. Arnetts are good at this. We share because we recognize the giver of our talents and because it makes us happy.
T – stands for Testimony
Just as there are physical resemblances between us, there is also a deeper connection –a shared spiritual DNA. To be an Arnett means you come from ‘believing blood’. Our parents and grandparents, just as their parents before them, had this strand of spiritual DNA: a firm and unwavering testimony of the Savior and of His gospel that has linked generations.
They knew that the answer to life’s challenges and difficulties is found in the life, mission and teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Grandpa and Grandma left us a legacy of faith, obedience worthiness, service. These are all fruits of testimony. Their good lives demonstrated in a very real way, the wisdom in centering our lives in Him.
It is our testimonies that help unite and bind us all together and give meaning to our family relationships.
Narrator: Can you tell what we just spelled? That’s right, we spelled Arnett. It’s a name we can all be proud of and a name that stands for many good things.
Narrator: What does it mean to honor the family name?
It’s possible that some day we may all have to account to those who have gone before us as to whether we have honored the name which they bestowed upon us through our family heritage. Will you and I be able to say with confidence that we have tried to live with honor? Will we be able to show them a life that has brought honor to the name they left to us?
__________, has a short story to read that reminds us of the importance of honoring and living worthy of our family name.
III. What Have You Done with my Name
(Story & Picture) (George Albert Smith)
President George Albert Smith, who was named after his grandfather, George A. Smith, had known his grandfather for only a short time because he was just five years old when his grandfather died. But bearing that same name helped greatly in determining President Smith’s wholesome life pattern. He often said, “It has meant much to me to have that sacred name to take care of.”
President Smith once told of a spiritual experience he had concerning his name.
“One day, while seriously ill, I lost consciousness of my surroundings and thought I had passed on to the Other Side. I realized, or seemed to realize, that I had finished my work in mortality and had gone home.
I began to explore, and soon I found a trail through the woods. I followed this trail, and after I had walked for some time, I saw a man coming towards me and recognized him as my grandfather.
I remember how happy I was to see him coming. I had been given his name and had always been proud of it.
When Grandfather came within a few feet of me, he stopped and looked at me very earnestly and said: ‘I would like to know what you have done with my name.’
Everything I had ever done passed before me as though it were a flying picture on a screen---everything I had done. I smiled and looked at my grandfather and said: “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”
He stepped forward and took me in his arms, and as he did so, I became conscious again of my earthly surroundings. My pillow was wet with tears of gratitude that I could answer unashamed.
I have thought of this many times, and I want to tell you that I have been trying, more than ever since that time, to take care of that name. So I want to say to the boys and girls, honor the names that you bear, because some day you will have the privilege and the obligation of reporting what you have done with your name.”
(adapted from Your Good Name, Improvement Era, Mar 1947, p. 139)
Narrator: Perhaps the response which President George Albert Smith gave to his own grandfather is a good barometer by which to assess our own efforts to honor out family name. Can we say to those who have gone before us or to those who will come after us that we are living in such a way that they need not be ashamed to also carry our name?
Narrator: In Proverbs 22:1 we read:
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
IV. Take Upon Us the Name of Christ
Narrator: We have been talking about how our family stands for certain things. What we do reflects back on our family. Each of us has the responsibility to continue to honor our family name.
Besides our own names and our family name of Arnett, we take another name upon ourselves when we are baptized. Does anyone know what that name is?
Narrator: At baptism we become members of Jesus’ church or members of his family. We make a covenant with Heavenly Father to take upon us the name of Christ. We are ready to be known as Christians. We are willing to ‘stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things and in all places’ (Mosiah 18:9). We want to act like Christ and be like Him.
Narrator: With this name comes the obligation to honor Him and follow Him, just as you and I might honor our own parents. There will come a day when we will meet Jesus Christ, and the question might be asked, “What have you done with my name?” Hopefully, we will be able to smile and answer like George Albert Smith did to his grandfather.
Narrator: (Mosiah 1:11-12) I shall give this people a name…that never shall be blotted out.
Ultimately, it is His name, the name of the Savior, Jesus Christ that we wish to associate ourselves with and honor in our lives. The power of having His name placed upon us and honoring that name is a blessing.
The Savior’s invitation, to follow Him and take His name upon ourselves, is also a pattern for us to follow in striving to pass down to our children a name which they will be honored to bear.
President Hinckley reminds those who have taken on them Christ’s name:
“As his followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing his image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves.”
(Be Thou an Example, p. 90)
May we remember that as we honor the Saviors’ name we will be honoring the Arnett family name and all it stands for in memories and legacies as well.