Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Feb. 12, 2017.

My life, like yours and like everyone’s, comes with a history. Every family tree is full of people and stories — some we remember and cherish, some we know very little about, and some we might just as soon forget.

And just as the highest branches of a tree draw nourishment from the deepest roots, we each are a product — to some extent — of those who went before us. But the great thing is that no matter our past, we can build a bright future with hard work and optimism. That’s one of the lessons from my family’s story.

My name, Oscar Hammerstein, conjures images of my well-known ancestors and their impact on American culture and musical theater. My grandfather Oscar Hammerstein II was the lyricist and playwright for many beloved musicals that remain the gold standard by which present-day musicals are judged. His stories resonate in our hearts because they are universal yet extraordinary.

Each person’s story is remarkable, unusual and common — all at the same time. In a way, my grandfather’s stories are everyone’s stories. And that’s why we love them as much today as we did when Grandfather wrote them decades ago.

All my life I’ve been told that my grandfather was a genius, but he always denied it. Instead, he credited his success to two things: He worked hard and he made tons of mistakes. In his mind, there was nothing magic about it — it was more a matter of perspiration than inspiration.

The other lesson from Grandfather’s life is a little less obvious. Even though he’s known today for his many successes, he learned much more from his failures. Rousing applause tends to drown out the lessons you need to hear. But a flop often leaves you alone with your thoughts, and you learn valuable lessons the hard way.

He used to tell his sons on the tennis court, “Don’t think about the last ball. Think about the next ball.” That kind of optimism sprang from his belief in the power of storytelling and in his tireless resolve to keep trying.

Grandfather’s life story, like his name, lives on in my life as I live by the lessons he learned and taught. And the same can be true for all of us. With our stories and with our families, with hard work and optimism, as Grandfather wrote, we can "climb every mountain" and "follow every rainbow."

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), mormontabernaclechoir.org and youtube.com/mormontabchoir. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.