With this one tweak to your mindset (and your budget), you will grow God's kingdom along with your local church.
Child development experts understand the value in repeating a concept. “The deepest aha's spring from an encounter and then a return. Repeating the encounter fuses it into one's awareness. One of the biggest mistakes a teacher can make is to forego the return or repetition.” – Robert F. Bruner, University of Virginia
For years and years our church used a well-known mid-week curriculum, which focused on kids memorizing lots of verses, and receiving little trinkets along the way. We believe wholeheartedly in kids memorizing scripture, so that was a definite strength of the program. We all learned and grew spiritually because of it.
If you work with kids, or have kids, or know kids, you are sure to come across a broken-hearted child: one who has a downcast spirit due to the actions of someone else. It might be after one (or more) of their peers has been cruel to them, or maybe it’s after someone talks behind their back. It might even be a foster child whose own mom or dad has broken the sacred trust of parenthood.
What are you investing in? Most of us spend the time (and money) for our kids' extra batting practice, swim lessons, and homework tutors. These things are great, but none of them are as valuable as time spent hiding God’s word in a tender young heart. Which of these activities will sustain them when a family member is diagnosed with a dreadful disease? Which will guide them when peers are pressuring them to do something they shouldn’t? Which will lead them toward a relationship with the all-knowing Creator of the cosmos who happens to be crazy in love with them?
Right now, if your children are young, you are with them quite a bit, giving them much needed guidance. But as your kids grow older, you cannot be with them every day. And you shouldn’t be! None of us want to be hovering, controlling parents. We should be raising our kids to be independent adults. However, if you invest the time now, God’s word WILL be with them. His word is living and active. And it’s always 100% perfect! None of us can say that about our own words. It is far better that they have God’s word in them than to have us next to them (John 16:7). And John 14:26 tells us that God’s Spirit will remind them of those very words they have hidden in their hearts. Let’s give the Spirit something to work with.
There is a young couple in our church that recently got married. When they began dating during their junior year of high school, they came up with goals for their relationship and agreed on certain behaviors that would help them meet those goals. They wanted to seek God first, to remain pure, to be a witness to others. This all came from these two 16 year old kids–not their parents. One of the behaviors that would help them with purity was never to be alone in a house together. If they weren’t hanging out with friends or family, they would stay out in public at a park, a restaurant, etc. If they were out together and wanted to go home to watch a movie or eat, they would call home to make sure someone was there so they wouldn’t be alone.
One day the young man called his mom to see if anyone was home because the two wanted to hang out there. His mom told him the family was out but they should be home in about 20 minutes. It was a precious sight to the young man’s parents to drive up to the house and find the young couple sitting on the front steps in full view of the neighbors because no one was home when they arrived. Let me reiterate, they made this choice–not their parents. By the age of 16, they had hidden God’s word in their hearts and they were led into righteous living by God’s Holy Spirit (Psalm 119:9).
As parents, we really want our kids to have the inward motivation. If you have to “voice-activate” all of your child’s behaviors, the next voice that comes along can have the same affect! Inward, Spirit-led motivation is what counts!
The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip. – Psalm 37:31
Summer is upon us. It’s a great time to first review the verses your kids soaked in during the KidzLife season. Those seeds are planted and they might just need a light watering. (Easy tip: Play your Memory Verse CD while you take a road trip.) And then, find verses that hold a special meaning to your family and memorize them together. Set a realistic goal and make it fun.* Summer is footloose and fancy free in so many areas that are usually stressed and hurried. It’s a great time to be extra intentional in memorizing His word. You will never regret the time you spend on it.
* Write your verse in the sand every day on vacation, make up a song as you road trip, write it in sidewalk chalk, write each word on a separate piece of paper and do a scavenger hunt, etc.