When Bignificent was two years old, we decided we wanted to make Bible memorization a part of our family culture. I pulled out my old A to Z memory book from Bible Memory Association and thought we’d work through it slowly, spending a week or two on each verse until she knew them well. So the first night, I showed it to her, told her how much I had loved it as a kid, and introduced the first verse to her:
A is for All: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6
When I pulled it out the second night and started to go over the verse again, she looked at me, totally puzzled, and said, “Mom, why are you on that page? I already know that one,” rattled it off perfectly without batting an eye, and said, “What’s the B verse?”
My husband and I looked at each other, a little speechless, shrugged, and I turned to the B verse. It went that way every night, and she knew all 26 verses in that book backwards and forwards in less than a month.
This was a really eye-opening experience for us. We realized that we tend to grossly underestimate the memorization abilities of our children. Over the course of the next year, we kept introducing verses and she kept shocking us with how quickly she knew them, how long she retained them, and even how she was applying them to different situations (right or wrong!)
One of our favorite stories was the day she was coloring at the table and called over to her dad, “Dad, come draw near to me, and I will draw near to you. James 4:8.” That one obviously needed some more explanation but the memorization was perfect.
Expanding my Bible Memorization Experimentation
By the time she was four and her little sister was almost two, I decided to expand my memorization experimentation. I thought that if she could memorize so many individual verses, maybe we should try memorizing larger chunks and even stories. So for Christmas that year, I picked out some big chunks of the Christmas story, and we decided we’d START memorizing it as a family, adding hand motions and having fun with it, thinking we’d do as much as we could that year and add to it each year till we all knew the whole thing.
The two of them absolutely astounded us by memorizing ALL of Luke 1:1-4; 26-33; 38; Luke 2:1-21; AND Matthew 2:1-12 in that one December at ages 4 and 1/2 and almost 2! They would act out the story with their Little People Nativity Scene while quoting it verbatim! (That’s an Amazon affiliate link, by the way.) Daddynificent and I sat and watched them with our jaws on the floor throughout much of that December! And we had to do extra studying on our own because we couldn’t memorize it as well or as quickly as they were!
I had great intentions of reviewing it throughout the year, but I didn’t, so when the next Christmas rolled around, I figured we’d have to start over. I was fine with that and figured it would be good for all of us. While the girls had forgotten a lot of it and couldn’t just quote it from start to finish, we were surprised how much they remembered and how quickly it came back to all of us! Since then, we have reviewed the passages each year and teach it to the younger ones when they are old enough. We’ve added a coloring book with the verses on it that they color while we practice. This year, we had our fourth two-year old join in the memory work, and it was such a joy listening to them all (and working to remember it myself!
I decided at the end of December this year to video each one of them saying it. I wish I had done this each year to show how their confidence and memory grows each year (and how cute they are saying it when they are so little!) I thought you all might enjoy watching the videos as well so I’ll include them here. (If you can’t get the videos to work, click on the kids’ names and it will take you to their video on YouTube.)
Bignificent (age 11)
This video is the most fuzzy of the bunch. I took it with my iPhone and the rest with our Flip camera after seeing this one’s lower quality. But she did such a great job that I didn’t want to make her redo it.
Middlenificent (age 8)
Littlenificent (age 5)
The little guy was fairly distracted by the whole filming process as you can see by the airplane sighting at the end of Part 1. This was his first year learning with us, but I think he did really well. He actually knows more than these videos show. He likes to hold our coloring book and pretend to read it, but sometimes it is a bit distracting as you can see in the videos. He knows which words go with which pictures so he doesn’t want to say the verses when he’s on the wrong page. You can still hear that he has learned a lot of verses though which is the whole point!
Here’s part 1:
And then here’s his part 2:
Isn’t he adorable?!! I really wish I had gotten videos of the girls saying it when they were little! Oh well. Live and learn.
We’ve now started adding in other big passages and recording those for review and for posterity. I’ll be sharing more about those in the coming weeks.
How about you? How have you made Bible memory a part of your family culture?