The "6 Week Challenge" is coming to an end this week and we hope you and your family have been blessed by committing God's Word to memory to start off 2017. We have been so encouraged by stories and videos on Facebook and other places of kids working diligently to hide these words of the Lord in their hearts! Way to go!!
As you may have heard, we will be celebrating those kids who completed the challenge over the next few weeks. Have your child recite Psalm 1 to their teacher, small group leader or Watermark Kids staff and they will receive an invitation to join us at the 6-Week Challenge party!
If it's not already obvious to you, Watermark Kids places a high value on Scripture memory, believing that God's Word is alive, active and sharper than a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), that it provides illumination to the steps our feet take so that we are directed in safe paths (Psalm 119:105) and that storing up God's Word in our heart is a means for keeping us from sin (Psalm 119:11). There are 12 key verses that we teach to our Preschoolers that we hope they have hidden away in their heart by the time they move into Kindergarten. We also have a memory verse for each of our 36 godly character traits that we go over and memorize each month with our Elementary kids.
These verses are the truths that our children (and we as parents) so desperately need to hold onto as anchors for our faith. We want to encourage you, parents, to grab those verses each month that we're working on with your kids, commit to memorizing it as a family and talk about what those verses mean for you. Lead the way here, Mom and Dad, so that you and your children can be like the blessed man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night.
Memorizing Scripture, especially with little kids, may seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few principles and best practices for making Scripture memory a regular part of the daily traditions in your home.
Sometimes we look at long verses or even long passages and we immediately assume it's too hard for our kids. Don't believe it! The reality is that developmentally, your kids' brains are capable of far more than yours in the way of learning and retaining information. Challenge them and don't be afraid of tackling something like Psalm 1 or even longer passages as a family. And on that note, don't be afraid of using a more "grown up" translation like the ESV or NIV. Think about what version you hope your kids will use as they get older and start them memorizing verses in that translation. This sets them up for success in the future, but it also gives you a chance to discuss bigger words that they might not know the meaning of, setting your family up for great conversations about the meaning of the verses. Which leads us to the next best practice.
The goal of Scripture memory is not so your kids can do cool party tricks or win some Bible competition. The goal is transformation of our minds so that we can test and approve what God's good, pleasing and perfect will is for our lives (Romans 12:2). So, spend time discussing what the verses they are memorizing mean, why it matters, and how it practically changes the way we live or think here and now.
One of the best things you can do in helping your kids understand the meaning and value of God's Word is to put it into practice. You probably know the story that Jesus told of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). Both men, Jesus said, heard his words, but the wise man was the one who did what Jesus said, while the foolish man chose not to do what He said. We can help our kids understand the value of God's Word by connecting acts of obedience to the Scriptures and celebrating the wisdom that comes from them. Likewise, we can use those verses "for teaching, for reproof, for correcting and for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).
As we memorized Psalm 1, we should take note that the blessed man is the one who "delights" in God's Word. That word should inform us that there is great joy in the memorization of and meditation on God's Word. Make a game out of it at your dinner table, letting each person go around the table saying only one word and see if you can make it around the table.
Beyond that, music is a welcome and helpful companion to the memorization of God's Word! We have set each of the 12 preschool unit songs to some simple childhood tunes to help memorize those (click here to download the songs). In addition, we are HUGE fans of Seeds Family Worship as well as "Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs". Simply letting these songs fill your homes and cars will fill your family's heart with more Scripture than you even realize. You can find most of their songs on iTunes as well as on their websites.
Again, we hope that your family has been encouraged and blessed by these first 6 weeks of 2017 as you've committed Psalm 1 to memory. If you missed out, don't let that discourage you or your kids. Start with the memory verse your child is working on in class or pick another passage like Psalm 1 to memorize. Don't worry about doing it perfectly, but do something to hide God's Word in your hearts so that you might be "like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not whither. In all that he does, he prospers" (Psalm 1:3). His Word is the key to living a blessed life!
For more on this topic, check out this episode of Real Truth, Real Quick that discusses how to memorize Scripture.