By: Amy Dalke
Before you sit down to read this, I need to provide one of those little disclaimer clauses:
I’m really not a Practical Tips person. Mostly because practical is not one of the top ten words anyone would use to describe me. I mean, I really like blog posts and Pinterest articles with 5 Steps To This or That; but practically speaking, I get distracted halfway through Step 3.
And I’m not even being dramatic or extra-Christiany when I say that it is by the grace of God alone that I have any kind of wherewithal to add value to your life. (Just saying.)
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about a project I’ve been working on with my 9 year old son, Luke.
At the end of last year, my husband (also known as Larry) and I discussed our family priorities and goals. Through that process, we determined that memorizing scripture is one of the key tools we want to pass down to Luke. (Okay, I actually determined this part on my own, and Larry nodded his head in agreement.) (He doesn’t really get into the goal-setting stuff.) (Also I’m not sure he was really listening.)
Nonetheless, if there were such a thing as a Scripture Memory Salesman, I want to be one. Because I have discovered that Romans 12:2 is not just a nice thought.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Our minds are renewed and our lives are transformed by the Word of God, but that is not an automatic process for every card-carrying, Bible believing Christian. We are wise to seek out the scriptures, and investigate his word like our lives depend on it – because they do! So we decided to actively memorize some holy scriptures around this house.
Frankly, I started this project with the mindset that we would do one new verse every week. (But, hold your horses, because that turned out to be slightly overambitious.)
So we stretched the plan to start a new verse every other week, and thus far, Luke has 12 verses tucked away in his heart for instant recall when the need arises.
Not only are these 12 verses hung up on the walls of his mind, they also hang on a wall in our home.
I’ve been shocked at Luke’s enthusiasm over this project. You know, because he’s a 9 year old boy who generally doesn’t care about home decor and such. But he gets excited when each new verse gets put on the wall, and (when he doesn’t know I’m looking) I’ve caught him intently reading the words in each frame.
Since this has been a fun, effective way to memorize scripture as a family, I just had to share it with you. (Also, I’m hoping you’ll call me if you need a partner for picture frame shopping.)
How does this work?
- Pick a Bible verse. We start our new verse on Sunday evenings, except on Sundays that I forget. In which case we do the thing on Monday afternoons. We don’t have an official plan as to which verses we choose next, because we like to fly by the seat of our pants. (Although a quick Google search will drum up plenty of resources if a plan is your thing.)
- Write/Draw/Color your new verse on a 4×6 piece of card-stock. It’s important to create some visual association with each verse, which is why I suggest you use markers and crayons to free-hand your verses. This part is key, because I even know from scientific studies (yes, I said that- just go with it), that when you write things out – your memory muscle is activated to a greater degree than if you just read something. Also, while they’re writing, have a conversation with them about what the verse means. Lazy Parent Confession: at least 2 times, I have created a colorful graphic for the verse on my own. Those just happen to be the verses that Luke wavers on during our weekly reviews. (Which totally proves those scientific studies I mentioned.) The moral of this story: it’s okay to be lazy every now and again, but when you are, try to rehearse the verse a little more throughout the week so that it sticks.
- Put your new verse into a 4×6 picture frame. We keep our verse of the week in a frame on the kitchen counter. When it’s time for a new verse, the old verse goes up on the Memory Verse Wall. Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree are my heroes when it comes to picture frames. I found some at Walmart for $2.00 once, but they fell apart and it stressed me out a little.
- Weekly Review. If you don’t use it, you really do lose it. (Just ask my former Spanish speaking skills and my oven.) We don’t have a formal routine for memory verse review; rather, I’ve found that tackling this on-the-go is awesome. We review our verses in the car, over breakfast, on the way out the door for school, as he’s getting ready for bed, etc.
I left out the Step 3b, which is basically “make sure you haphazardly hang the frames with no preconceived order.” Because hello, that’s evidently what the Dalke’s did.
Ironically enough, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve let some a lot of OCD issues go for this project. Yet I cannot emphasize enough how much I don’t even care about the uneven spacing, the mis-matched frames, or the off-kilter lines. Because we are literally surrounding ourselves with God’s word. And that’s the whole point.
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul…You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” (Deuteronomy 11:18-21)
p.s. I’m available for Hobby Lobby any day.