These Magic moments

Teaching genealogy has its magic moments. We long remember those “light bulb” moments when a student struggling to grasp some critical point has that moment of illumination when the lights grow bright and you know someone is home in that noggin as they exclaim– “Now I see what you mean!”. These are wonderful triumphs of the mind.. But the really magic moments are a the triumphs of the heart and mind. Let me tell you about one such event

Winnipeg Manitoba is an interesting place to teach genealogy. Lots of bright eager learners. I was speaking at the wrap up banquest of the event — one of those light, slightly humorous talks many of us are called upon to deliver when we are the out-of-town talent. After the usual lame humor I wanted to become a bit more serious and so I paused and watched as all eyes looked at me expectantly. I said “I know, and paused again then shared a personal conviction of mine concerning the relationship between the me as a genealogist, and my ancestors. Like a silent cool breeze soothing our faces on a hot day, somehow what I said and how I said it seemed to touch each person. I noted a special sort of stillness and quiet, and could see one or two people dabbing their eyes. It was a magic moment.

What happened? I was quite delighted and amazed. I felt like a million bucks. Over the years I have watched other teachers, lecturers etc have that same moment.

I think there comes a point in every lesson, every lecture when you are summing up your message that potentially you can find something in that message that you have learned in your mind and in your heart from experience. Its when you respectully share that heart and mind experience, setting it apart from the rest of your speech, that it touches the learner, heart and mind, that you know what you are speaking about. That sincerity and respect resonates in the learner. Good vibrations.

Have you experienced the thrill of that magic moment? Your comments are welcome.


One response to “These Magic moments

  1. Ken,

    I had one of those moments at our society Christmas party last December. We often share personal stories at these events, and this year it was “tell us about your favorite Christmas memories.”

    Mine was how we always went to my grandparents house on Christmas Eve (they had a chimney, our apartment didn’t), and part of the tradition was to sing Christmas carols at bedtime, with my grandmother leading them. It is my absolute favorite memory of her.

    Of course, when I got to that point at the meeting I choked up and couldn’t complete the sentence. The room went still, and I could see eyes blinking and tearing through my own tears – and replaying my own special memory of Gram.

    I may have more to add after Monday – I’m giving my talk on “Genealogy is Fun! Seriously!” on Monday, which includes some genealogy humor, my definition of genealogy fun (basically, the challenge of the hunt, whether it’s my own ancestry or someone elses), some “fun” times I’ve had researching, and some genealogy wisdom.


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