The thing about New Year’s Resolutions is, well, they get old pretty quickly. No matter how resolute we feel on the first of January, most of us seem to lose that resolve by the time February rolls around. We should probably start calling them New Year’s Considerations. Or how about New Year’s Not Very Likelys!
With so many worthy resolutions out there, from getting healthy to getting organized, from spending less money to reading more books, why do we lose our drive? Why do we give up? Why do great intentions that start with such sparkle end up fizzling so fast?
Even the most worthy aims, the resolutions that would have the most valuable consequences for our families, can get lost in the busyness of a new year, new activities, new stress. One such goal, one that is bound to have significant implications on our children, is Scripture memory. Committing to learning and memorizing Bible verses is a resolution that goes far beyond dropping a dress size or growing our savings account; it’s a goal that could have an impact on the rest of our kids’ lives.
Knowing how slippery those New Year’s resolutions can be and that some goals, such as Scripture memory, are worthy of our very best effort, consider these ideas as we head into 2018. They are tips for making Bible verses stick the whole year through.
Make it a family affair. Instead of announcing Mom’s good idea or declaring that Dad made a decision, invite children into a discussion of valuable goals for the new year. Ask them for input, which will provide accountability for everyone involved, then write a resolutions list together. Suggest Scripture memory as one of the family goals, and together list reasons why this is a worthy task. Open the discussion, and lead your kids to think about the value of learning God’s Word.
Keep it simple. Instead of the huge, sweeping resolutions that tend to get overwhelming and eventually left behind, make Bible memory happen in small, doable, and therefore, more realistic steps. Especially for younger children, be sure to choose a reasonable list of shorter verses (I suggest one per month to start), rather than a multitude of lengthy or extensive Scripture verses. Looking for a place to begin? Check out Psalm 46:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 4:32, Luke 6:31, and Proverbs 3:5.
Plan it out. A great idea fades quickly without practical steps to put it into action. So the next time you’re out, pick up a 2018 monthly calendar then pull out the colored markers. Ask your kids to help you choose one color for marking the introduction of a new verse, another color for practice, and a separate color for checking progress. Add some variety to the schedule by reserving a few dinners each week for practicing together, or save the weekends for solely reviewing past verses. As they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish!
Get a helping hand. There are many ways to make the commendable goal of memorizing Scripture a bit less daunting and a lot more lasting. Kids can create personal reminders by making Bible verse bookmarks or posters for the fridge. Use seasonal progress charts to keep track of the family’s progress. (Tyndale House Publishers offers several darling designs.) Ask relatives or friends to assist with accountability by checking in regularly. And be sure to reward all growth, big or small, with a fun family outing or a special meal.
So this year, let’s hear it for resolving to keep our resolve in keeping a great resolution! And instead of letting our desire for Scripture memory disappear with the melting snow, guide your kids in hiding God’s Word in their hearts for a lifetime!
To help even the youngest children get their first start on memorizing Scripture, check out Kathryn O’Brien’s Sit for a Bit series from Tyndale, coming soon in board book version!