When Memorizing Comes Easy
Mothers, Do You Realize How Easy It Is for Your Young Child to Memorize Scriptures?
“HUMPTY DUMPTY sat on a wall . . . ” Then what happened? You know—everybody knows. We all learned about Humpty Dumpty when we were just little folk. The remarkable thing is that we still carry that nursery rhyme around with us to this day. Maybe now we are even teaching our own children who it was that “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” could not put back together.
You have remembered that nursery rhyme—or others that may be used in your country—down till today for two very simple reasons: They were easy to memorize and they were fun. But memorizing is more than that to children. It is also
Highly Recommended by Schoolteachers
One sixth-grade teacher of gifted children feels very strongly about memorizing. He insists: “Let’s face it, kids are memorizing a lot. Even very young ones pick up the words to dozens of songs, endless sports statistics, or the like. Such memorizing is often useless and sometimes harmful. Memorizing wholesome, ennobling things provides a sound pattern of thinking for youngsters. It is a wonderful discipline. It generates ideas, stimulates creativity. It makes a platform to build on later.”
Another high school English teacher adds: “I have noticed that students who are not stimulated and challenged when very young tend to be one-dimensional and physically oriented by the time they reach junior high school. They often do not communicate well and can become dullards.”
Your children, like you, will probably as long as they live retain some of the things they memorize. So why not teach them something they can use and that will help them as long as they live? Why not select a few Bible verses for them to memorize? Some Christian families are doing this with great joy and benefit.
They Can Do It and You Can Do It
Andrew’s mother had helped him to memorize over 80 Bible verses word for word by the time he was six years of age.
“It wasn’t a race,” she says. “Our pace was very relaxed and natural. In fact, when someone finally asked, ‘How many verses does he know?’ I had to stop and add them up. Andrew enjoyed mastering new verses very much, and the list grew quickly.”
But how did she do it? What books did she read first? Is there a trick to it?
“Oh, no, no,” she objects. “Nothing could be easier. I just read him a verse a couple of times, then he repeats the verse after me a couple of times—like a wedding vow. Then we repeat this session a couple or three times a week until he has it down. I was amazed at how much he liked to learn them and how quickly he picked them up!”
“Yes, really, that’s all there is to it. When people try to give me credit for being such a good teacher, I have to admit that I have not done anything special. I just keep putting new verses in front of my son, and he scoops them up like cookies.”
“You mean your son really likes to memorize individual scriptures?”
“No, I do not mean he likes to—he loves to! My husband and I are positive, enthusiastic, and encouraging to Andrew, and he is very proud of his achievements. Other children may learn quicker or slower than our boy, but I am certain that all children would enjoy spending this sort of time with Mom or Dad.”
Think About the Benefits to Your Child
As you teach your child what the Bible says, you will be “bringing [him] up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Ephesians 6:4) You are planting God’s thoughts in his young mind so that in time God’s pattern of thinking will become your child’s pattern of thinking. Let’s see how that might work:
Perhaps you will choose to help your child memorize Matthew 24:14 first. This passage has worked well for others because it is one that children may often have heard. The first few times, you can just read the verse and then help your child to recite it. Then you can begin to add to his fund of understanding about it.
For instance, after he recites Matthew 24:14, you may mention what the “good news” is in a sentence or two. At a later sitting you could briefly define God’s Kingdom. Another time you can describe a different area of the world where true Christians are also preaching and what the work is like there. Sessions can be brief, informal, and fun. There is no need to be a drill sergeant. Keep the atmosphere light and spontaneous. You may well invent a few family games along the way.
Patiently go over your child’s verses a few times a week until he is really comfortable with them. In time he may not want to repeat any of his earliest verses any more because he knows them so well. That’s fine—add a couple of fresh ones to keep his interest. About this time he may feel so confident about a favorite verse that he will be eager to share it at a congregation meeting. He may even delight in speaking up to someone whom his parents have met in their house-to-house preaching.
But do not rush him or force him. Young folk all grow at different rates. Some may know their verses very well but be more shy about expressing themselves outside the home. The important thing is, after all, not that your child impresses others but that you and he have a warm, loving time learning what God’s Word says.
On other occasions, you may direct him to learn a verse that gives needed correction or discipline, perhaps one that highlights respect for parents or getting along peaceably with others. Scriptures on key Bible doctrines, such as Genesis 1:1 or Revelation 21:3, 4, also have their place.
In truth, of course, there are no verses you and your child will not enjoy and gain from because “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16) Since it will help your child so much, be so easy for you, and so enjoyable for both of you, why not start right away?