Part of our vision for our family is that we really live by the Word of God. Memorizing it and really knowing it. We will work hard during these early years to train our children through discipline and character development, but the power behind that training is the Word of God. What God desires for us and for our children is what matters. Otherwise, it’s all just behavior modification.
How can we help our children learn scripture that the Spirit can use powerfully in their lives?
Obviously, a chart of some kind is involved. 😉 I admit, I love charts and lists. Anyway, here are some ideas I am considering (not that I’m going to do all of them).
Please PLEASE throw in your ideas and suggestions too! I’d love some inspiration from the experienced parents as well as the newbies like me.
- Yes, using a chart. A list of scripture references and a bunch of squares next to them. Kid says the scripture that day, kid gets a star. Perhaps even a dollar store trip to pick out a prize when the row is complete. A wonderful presentation at the OCEANetwork conference was by a mom of 4 preschoolers, and she gave me that idea. (the link shows a picture of the charts)
- Reading the verse/passage to them every day. Perhaps after prayers during each meal time, and/or right before bed or other key times. This, and several of the other ideas here, are from this blog called Home Joys.
- Using a visual. Using a whiteboard by the dinner table so that quoting the current verse is easy. Putting cards around the house so that you AND your kids can keep the verses visible and work on them. For littles like mine, drawing a simple picture or symbol on the cards and board will make it useful for them.
- Providing review. Making a binder with the scriptures that have already been learned. Perhaps with the helpful drawings and/or the cards? Maybe even laminated or in page protectors so the kids can flip through them to review. Pulling out the binder and reviewing past scriptures over a meal might be helpful. Or even just an index card holder would work. That’s what I use for my own scripture memory cards.
- Making it useful but not too hard. For kids my son’s age, some scriptures might be best boiled down to a short phrase so that memorizing and retaining them is achievable. They can always learn more complete versions later. But I’d agree that learning the reference is important. Knowing where it is in the Bible can be a powerful tool.
- Making it fun.
- Rewards for memorizing well were already mentioned. I see no problem with that. God rewards us.
- Add hand motions to the key words in the scripture.
- Use music. This is the idea I’m super excited about right now.
- I’m currently loving a couple of the songs from Fernando Ortega’s “The Shadow of Your Wings: Hymns and Sacred Songs“ that are just scriptures set to music. It’s not really for kids, but Jaron started singing “It is Well With My Soul” one day from the Chris Rice hymns album, which I listen to constantly, so I think he’ll like this too.
- For my littles, I want to get some CDs from Sing the Word. A family put them together. I love that they’re simple and repetitive and cite the reference in the song!
- As they get older, I’m really excited about getting music from Seeds Family Worship. No references in the songs as far as I can tell, but it’s right from scripture and the music is much less irritating to adults than most kids’ music.
- I also like The Singing Bible from Focus on the Family. It’s for kids 4 and up. It has narrative before and after the songs talking about the story. I don’t think it’s straight scripture, but I like it anyway. It reminds me of my husband’s favorites from childhood, which I’m sure our kids will know well: Agapeland’s Music Machine and Bullfrogs and Butterflies.
This seems like a lot of work, but I think it can be pretty simple, and it’s totally worth it! We don’t want to just memorize the words to recite them so we look good, or getting our kids to recite it so they (and, therefore, we) look good. God’s Word changes things! It changes us.
We want to saturate our lives with it, so that it is like breathing in habit and urgency. To wake up with His Word on our tongue, to hear it in our minds and hearts as we navigate life – this is the goal. Moreover, we want that for our children! It’s more than just words. It is the heart and mind of Jesus! It is Jesus Himself!
God holds all of this in His hands – the whole universe exists and is moving because of His love. If He decided to be done, and let down his Hands, I imagine it would be like a great dissolution of it all. But by His grace and mercy it does not end for now. We continue breathing, feeling, and experiencing. We continue in relationship with Him and others. We already live because of His Word, but to live by His Word is a part of the great intimacy He desires to have with us.
And through me, this great, powerful, holy, compassionate God will kneel down and whisper His words into my children’s ears. Knowing that I, alongside my husband, get to teach my children about God and what He wants to say to them makes me literally cry. It is profound and humbling, and I still shake my head in amazement that He picked me for this responsibility! He picked YOU to do the same for your children!
Isn’t that AWESOME!?!?
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.”
~ Isaiah 40:6-8