Sunday, September 4, 2011

Scripture Memory as a Way to Train Happy Hearts in Young Children

Recently, whenever my four-year-old does not get what she wants, she begins singing loudly and obnoxiously, “Do to other, do to others, as you would have them do to you.”  (Luke 6:31)

Now, this isn’t exactly the application of a Bible verse that I would like her to use since it is rather self-centered.  Yet, just the very fact that my daughter chooses to sing these particular words encourages me.  She is on the right path.  Her singing demonstrates that the Word is in her head and is on its way to being truly written in her heart. (Hebrews 8:10)

Likewise, when my almost six-year-old son is being dishonest, I often gently correct him by playfully singing , “Keep you tongue from evil, keep your tongue...” Whereupon he sometimes giggles and chimes in “and your lips from speaking lies,” (Psalms 34:13) before offering an impish smile and admitting that he was fibbing. 

Just as often, my son turns that same verse around on me.  In fact, if he asks me a question that I feel too tired or busy to answer, I am prone to saying “I don’t know.”  He doesn’t take that for an answer.  Instead, he tugs at me, saying “Mo-o—m” and then sings a chorus of “keep your lips from speaking lies.”  At this point, I smile in thanksgiving to God for giving me a son who reminds me to utter truths even when truth requires more energy than I feel I have at a given moment, thank God for grace and, then, turn to my son to beg his pardon by saying something akin to, “Thank you for reminding me to be truthful, son.  You are right.  I do know and will give you an answer as soon as….”

And, so it is that Scripture Memory has been paying off with not only the young ones in my home, but for our entire family.  By having the Word written in our heads and hearts, we are better able to abide by it and to remind one another gently (and sometimes persistently!) of the way we should go. (Proverbs 22:6)

As a Catholic who is just beginning to learn Scripture verses by heart along with my children, I cannot encourage others to do so enough.  Internalizing verses offers us such a source of strength.  We develop a constant touchstone in our minds and hearts for living God’s will.  He speaks to us through his Word and, with it in our consciousnesses, we may find our own vision conforms better to His.  As temptation arise, the Word is right there to helps us deflect it.  As choices unfold, the Word guides us.  As we find ourselves seeking just the “right” way to express joy, consolation, petition or praise, the Word models for us.  His Word whispers, urges, shouts and sings within us, advising us about how to live our calls.  It does the same for our children.

Without doubt, sharing the Word with our youngest children is vital.  Memorizing it with them can edify us.  It can also be a lot of fun.

In my home, Scripture Memory happens through song.  We were given copies of Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em in Your Hearts CD’s, Volume 1 and 2.  They have become staples in our choice of music to listen to while driving.

What a joy it is to witness my children encouraging one another and building each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:10-12) through speaking and acting upon the Word.  What a gift Scripture Memory can be for young children.

In what ways do you practice Scripture Memory with your children?  Is there a favorite verse that guides you and your children?  Do you know any great resources for Scripture memory with young children?  I welcome your thoughts and questions and encourage you to share about how you continue to train up the young children in your life to love and live the faith. 

Please continue to join us here each Sunday for new thoughts, tips and sharing about Training Happy Hearts: A Call to Faith Formation for Young Children.

Disclaimer:  If you click on any Amazon links at the blog and make a purchase, I may receive a small percentage that can help defray the cost of training my children up.


Monica said...

I came back here to check the title of those CD's (you had them posted several posts down last time I was here) and saw this post! Where you mentioned the CD's!! I am going to have to check those out.

We have a verse of the week that we hang on our fridge and recite after morning prayers. Typically I use something from the Sunday's Responsorial Psalm. Once our preschool year starts though I will be using the weekly verses in the Catholic Icing book that tie to the letter of the week.

Mägi said...

My parents packed the verses in my brain at a young age through song, and for that I'm grateful. It's the song-set ones that have stuck with me all these years.

So I guess I learn it just as in your home.

One that I really am glad I learned was Philippians 4:8 and Matthew 5:44.

My parents usually wrote up the songs, just simple diddies on the piano.

I might check out that CD for my own sake.

I'm headed away for a few months (to L'Abri - Francis Schaffer) and hope to memorize a verse a day.

the157vine said...

Hi. My name is Phil Walker. I and my wife Jacky are in full time ministry encouraging a passion for Scripture. I was highly blessed by your family testimony. We would love for you and your friends to encouraging joining our community of Scripture enthusiasts at the free website for Scripture Memory encouragement, inspiration and help. I too love those Steve Green DVDs. Other high quality DVDS which can also be downloaded as CDs can be found at NIV Kids Club.

In Christ, Phil Walker

the157vine said...

Hi. My name is Phil Walker. I and my wife Jacky are in full time ministry encouraging a passion for Scripture. I was highly blessed by your family testimony. We would love for you to join us at the free website for mutual encouragement and inspiration. Other high quality children's Scripture songs can be found at NIV Kids Club. Lastly, with little ones at home, you may be interested in the National Bible Bee for ages 7-18

In Christ, Phil Walker

noreen said...

Hi Martianne,

You're raising your children to love scripture so it'll always be in their hearts. May God bless you!


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