Monday, February 28, 2011

Bible Memory encouragement

*This is an edited note I felt I needed to add after I read some of my comments. In case I didn't make this clear when I was writing----Do NOT use Bible memory as some sort of 'punishment' for your children. For example, do not say "Now Johnny, you told Mommy a lie, so you have to memorize the verse in the Bible about not lying and write it down ten times!" No, no, no! FIRST learn the verse, and THEN encourage your children with it when they're already showing that particular positive quality. That way, they associate Bible memory with a positive feeling, and not a negative one. Just wanted to make that clear before you read on :)

Joel and I believe that teaching our kids Scripture is one of our most important callings as parents. Our family regularly works on Bible verses together. Even Noah, who can't talk yet, memorizes motions for the verses and 'says' them along with us. We often pick a verse to help us along with something happening in our lives. For instance, if the children are having trouble obeying, we might spend time memorizing a verse on obedience. We have all been missing my mom lately, so we've been memorizing Revelation 21, which tells us how for Christians, there will some day be NO MORE death, sorrow, crying or pain.

I would like to encourage you all to memorize with your little ones! If you're not already in the habit of doing so, it might seem daunting at first. Here are a couple of hints to get you started.

1. Start small. Don't try to memorize a whole book at once!! Go for one short verse at a time! Some easy ones to start with include: John 3:16, Genesis 1:1, Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:19.

2. Be consistent! Pick a certain time each day (such as right before bed, or while you're eating breakfast), and go over your verse every day at that same time.

3. Take it line by line This is especially important for young memorizers. Don't overwhelm them with the entire verse at once. Read the whole thing through, talk about what it means, and then learn one line at a time.

4. Add hand motions! This helps younger children especially, but even my six year old finds the hand motions to be helpful. For example, point up to heaven to refer to God, fold your hands for the word 'pray', make an angry face for the word 'anger', etc, etc.

5. Gradually grow As your children get used to memorizing, gradually add longer and more difficult passages.

6. Encourage, encourage, encourage! When they've got that verse down pat, use it! Say "Wow, you obeyed Mommy really fast, just like we've been learning in our Bible verse!" Invite over Grandma and Grandpa (or friends, or Aunts and Uncles), and have your kids quote their verses!

This is a foundation of Bible Knowledge that you can lay for your children when they are still young! As they grow older, it will be one thing that you will NEVER regret spending time on! (And hey, you just might learn some Scripture yourself in the process :)


Anonymous said...

For anyone who reads this... trust me, Jaime is a pro! This is ALL her!

- Joel :)

plantmyappletree said...

Ha, I just had just a wide grin in my face when I saw Joels comment - that's a proud husband! :-)

I totally agree that an early Bible Memory for kids is really priceless for the faith in future. We learned passages for church sundays when we were small and nowadays I still know most, while new just will not stick in my head (am I getting old)?

Just one sidenote (without wanting to say that you don't do it wisely enough to avoid this) - my parents had the 'clever' idea in linking Memory Verses to my behaviour as well, unfortunately they did it in a manner, that it became linked to me as punishment.

Let's just say I still hate-hate-hate the (beautiful) verses on the fruits of the Holy Spirit, just because it reminds me of some nasty fights with my parents that resulted in me "having to" memorise that passages (and having to copy them in handwriting several hundred times as far as I recall).

Like I said - I don't believe you would ever do it this way, but I think there is a small chance it might fire backwards in some situation the memorising in relation with the kids' behaviour becomes a punishment.


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