When the kids were younger,we took them to perform a little program for a senior citizens group. They did a play, sang a medley of praise songs, and quoted Psalm 103. Afterwards one of the ladies came up to me and asked how old my son was. When I told her he was five, she replied, “He must be really smart to memorize all that!” Later, another lady made a similar comment. I’d like to tell you that my son is extra smart, but to be honest, he’s just an average five year old. How did he learn all twenty-two verses of Psalm 103? By lots of HARD WORK! (His and mine!) Perhaps you feel that your children could never learn whole chapters of the Bible, but they can! Perhaps you’ve even struggled with teaching them a chapter or two, and then given up. I’d like to encourage you to keep on!
I have been going through Psalm 119 with my kids, and teaching them all the names for the Bible (law, statues, word, etc.), what we are to do with it (delight in, keep it, etc.) and best of all, what it will do for us if we learn it and obey it. I want them to know how important the Word of God is so that they will want to memorize and obey it.I want them to learn to treasure God’s Word!
We believe the Bible has the answer to all our needs and is the guide book for our life and the most important book there is. Why then don’t we teach it to our kids? We teach them other things – why not help them memorize God’s Word?!
Most of us don’t have kids that are extra smart, or have outstanding memories. Therefore, we have to determine that it IS important for our kids to learn it, and then determine to put forth the time and effort to do it. There is no easy way. You have to get involved and spend time working with them. Here are some ideas to help you get started, or keep you going!
1. Decide what verse/passage you’re going to teach them.
I used to teach my kids a lot of individual verses, but I didn’t do a lot with passages. Then they started doing memory work in the kids’ Eager Beavers Club, which gave me the direction I needed. The kids were given a list of passages to learn, in order, which gave me direction.When we finishd one passage, I didn’t lose time trying to choose the next one to memorize.
2. Don’t wait for your child to start.
Your kids may not be very interested in learning verses at all. That makes it harder because they have no desire. However, I’ve found that my kids don’t complain since they know it’s going to be a regular thing. It’s just something we do every day without question. I say it’s Bible time, and they come. There are some times, of course, when they’re more interested than others.
This is why you might want to use incentives. For example, I may tell them, “If you work real hard and learn this next verse, you can go out and play for 20 minutes.” Or you may want to offer rewards sometimes to perk up their efforts. Recently I started the kids on a new chapter with only seven verses, and I wanted them to learn it in a week. Rather than just drill them a lot, I told them that if they all learned it in a week they’d get a pack of gum (a big thing to them!). This way I got some teamwork started. Since the girls can read, they helped my five year old son. They went in their room and practiced and practiced. In four days they knew it!
3. To keep it a little more interesting, practice with expression, and use motions, or pictures to give hints.
I’m a terrible artist, so my nine year old usually draws pictures of a keyword or two per verse. This helps her learn it fast and also makes it easier for them all to remember what comes next. Also, the girls read the chapter everyday to help get it in their minds. All three kids and I practice them together each day with the pictures or motions. (I love it because I learn them too!) For my son, I record the verses. He can listen to the tape to learn them, and to review old ones.
These things help make it more fun and interesting. However, if your kids still don’t really want to, don’t quit! Make them learn it! Yes, it may seem like a hassle, but is it worth it? Definitely! The Word of God will cleanse their way and keep them from sin.
4. Expect opposition.
Be aware that once you determine to be faithful in this area, you can expect opposition. The devil knows the power of God’s Word and you can expect to be in a spiritual warfare. There will be days when you just don’t feel like working on the memorizing because you’re tired, or you may be so busy that you feel you can’t fit it in that day. Don’t give in – recognize where that’s coming from and fight it.
Why not set some goals today for teaching your kids God’s Word?
Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee. Psalm 119:11
(This post is an excerpt from my book Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Best Mom of All?