A few years ago, we became addicted to family history. This was a very inconvenient time to develop a pernicious habit because we were already crazy busy. We were balancing two full-time jobs, a Master’s program, demanding church responsibilities, and looming health and financial issues. Most important, we had four beautiful children under the age of 12. We were potty-training both our daughter and a rescue dog with behavioral issues. We already had more hobbies than time or money would permit. What’s one more, right?
Actually, family history provided a much-needed respite from our chaotic world. In the process of connecting with our ancestors, we discovered ourselves. We particularly loved reading stories from old journals and imagining life back in the day. There was one big problem though. How do we find time for our new hobby and still make room for our precious little ones? We decided that somehow, we would have to involve the children in family history discovery.
That’s not easy to do. Historical research takes time and concentration. Children take even more time and don’t possess much concentration. Even reading those captivating stories of our forebears together couldn’t hold the kids’ attention for long. We wanted to get them involved, to know their ancestors. But we were stumped. Luckily, we don’t give up easily.
After a lot of brainstorming, we came up with two ideas. We realized later that both of those ideas were flat-out crazy. But at the time, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We naively went forward with plans that would require years of struggle and stress but would ultimately lead to some of the most rewarding and satisfying work we’ve ever done.
The first crazy idea was to make a movie. You read that right. We dressed the kids up in period costumes and shot a short film about our ancestors’ destitute plight in the Colorado Dust Bowl. It took over two years, 100+ volunteers, and countless hours of learning and practicing the art, filming and editing the scenes, composing and recording the music. And we had a blast.
The kids felt like they had walked in their ancestor’s shoes. And in a way, they had. We built family memories to last a lifetime. We had so much fun, we even started a little YouTube channel. You can find it under “Cufflinks Family.”
But what about the second crazy idea? We had already found a terrific way to share our ancestors’ stories. We also wanted a fun and easy way to share our own stories. So, what came out of that brainstorm? Well, we’re very proud to present it to you now. It’s called CUFFLINKS CHALLENGE and we sincerely hope you love playing it as much as we loved making it.
Look for more crazy ideas to come, including expansion packs, blog posts, and video content. And thank you from the bottoms of our crazy hearts for supporting CUFFLINKS CHALLENGE!