I’ve heard it said that “you retain 10 percent of what you hear, 25 percent of what you read, 50 percent of what you study, 100 percent of what you memorize and meditate on” (from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Christian Life & Witness Course). That alone should be a great motivator for memorizing scriptures and teaching our children to do so at the earliest of ages.
My 3 1/2 year old, “Sunshine”, recently joined our church’s AWANA group. Only 4 weeks into it, he has already memorized 8 verses -including where the verses are found (that’s the part I almost always forget!). You are no doubt somewhat familiar with this group. Children earn patches or stickers for memorizing key Scriptures. Of course, as our son is learning these verses, Mommy and Daddy are as well. We’ve learned some of them “straight”, and we’ve learned some of them with different rhythm patterns (like a cheer) or hand motions to help as “triggers” when reciting the verses. You may have done something similar in school to learn multiplication tables, historical facts, or poems.
It’s fairly easy to teach young pups new tricks....but what about those of us who aren’t regularly being challenged to learn new things (That’s my way of avoiding referring to any of us as “old dogs”.) Recently, I became introduced to another wonderful technique for remembering chronology of the New Testament and the Life of Christ. I attended a Walk Thru the New Testament seminar. In five hours one Sunday afternoon, my husband and I, along with other church members, learned 77 hand motions for 77 key people, places or events of the New Testament. We learned about why there are four gospels - their purposes, their intended audiences; we “walked” with Christ during His time on earth; we saw with fresh eyes how the New Testament “fits together”. We thought we had really accomplished something until a stage filled with children entered the room to show us what they had learned during that time - the same 77 hand motions!
The following Monday, my husband ran into a coworker he had invited to the seminar but who was unable to attend. His friend shared his regrets of not being able to attend, asked to be invited for future events, and then shared this - his family had attended the Walk Thru the Old Testament four years prior....and they all still remembered each of the hand motions as a result of practicing them together! How encouraging!
Why am I sharing all of this today? Not only to encourage you to check out these ministries (which I hope you do), but to challenge you as a parent to learn scripture with your child in whatever way that looks like. It may be as simple as writing out verses or rote memorization that helps it sink in. That’s great! But know that it’s okay to use other study techniques, too. Is your son into music? Make up songs! Does she like to cheer? Use clapping rhythms! Maybe your little one is a story teller. Use hand motions!
What are some creative or fun ways that you have for learning scriptures or Bible facts?