Home Features Get to know the fam in 21 days

Get to know the fam in 21 days

In May, a small group of BYU-Idaho students, alumni and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created the 21 Day Family Connections Experiment. With over 5,000 participants last time, they decided to start it again Oct. 1, but they said you can join at any point.

Their hope, according to Quincy Walker, a freshman studying communication and member of the founding team, was to “see if your mood can be boosted in 21 days while doing different forms of family history work.”

According to the team’s press release, it worked. While they admit it was not a controlled scientific study, their participants indicated that doing family history helped improve their mood.

Taralyn Parker, a BYU-Idaho alumna and member of the team, said the experiment is supposed to combat the isolation caused by the pandemic by helping boost mental and emotional health through strengthening family relationships.

“One of our participants said that instead of the days running together like they had been thus far during the pandemic, the experiment gave her something to focus on and look forward to every day,” Parker said. “She didn’t think about the negative things going on in the world as much. She was motivated to get up every day and encouraged by our online community.”

Parker said one of the hardest things about doing family history is that people often feel like they don’t have enough time to do all the research and fact-finding.

To help combat this, the experiment breaks down family history into smaller, more manageable pieces. Parker said, “You don’t have to do everything, you can dive in and do what you can in five minute increments.”

Some of the tasks and challenges {{the team came up with that}} participants can do is to start a COVID journal, where you write what life is like during this time, or making a list of things found in your purse, backpack or wallet, so that future generations can get to know you. Other things include learning about where your ancestors grew up with maps and histories of that location or recreating old family photos.

“This experiment takes family history work and puts a different spin on it,” Walker said. “Family history is more than just recording stories. Family history is finding and trying family recipes, learning family traditions, finding family heirlooms, and connecting with others. Family history work is way more broad than you would ever think, and participating in this experiment really opens your eyes to that factor.”

For those interested in joining the experiment or learning more, there’s information and family history challenges on the Connections Experiment website.

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