06 March 2012 ~ 2 Comments

Sharpening our children’s minds

From Contributing Writer Bambi from The Nursery of the Nation

 

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Am I the only mother who out of the blue hears one of my children start quoting a line from a movie…and then a sibling responds with the next line? And then someone else picks up where they left off, and pretty soon you’ve got the whole lot of them quoting an entire scene from a film? And suddenly you are thankful that it least it was a good film. Yet, you are nagged by the thought that precious brain cells have been wasted on movie lines.

Children have an almost limitless capactity to commit information to memory. My children can memorize circles around me.

As mothers we are not merely gatekeepers of the home, but also of the minds of the precious children the Lord has given us. Not only should we strive to keep filthiness out, we should strive to help them put the best things, in. And we should be capitalizing on the fact that it comes so easily to them when they are young.

Here are a few ideas of memory exercises and activities we can work on with our children:

Scripture
This should go without saying, but it can easily be left undone, when it should be our priority. We must teach our children the importance of hiding God’s Word in their hearts. We have a scripture memory system that works for our large family, as well as a review system. The Bible contains all we need for life and godliness. Is there anything more important to commit to memory that the words of our Creator?

Catechism
What is a catechism? A catechism is simply a series of questions and answers that teach doctrine. You can find a children’s catechism here that we use for our youngest children, which will, Lord willing, prepare them later on for the longer version. You can find the Westminister Shorter catechism here. (Jenny’s note: There are also CD’s with the catechism set to music which makes memorizing even easier!  Click here for an example.)

Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs
Currently, I am working on teaching my youngest children two hymns per month. Just last week during church services, our pastor quoted a passage from a Psalm that my five-year-old recognized from a hymn. Although it would appear to many that he wasn’t listening or that the sermon was “over his head”, he suddenly looked up at me and started humming “our song” softly. Good, solid hymns of the faith solidify what our children learn and read in the Bible.

(Jenny’s note) Our family sings the Psalms elusively in worship, singing Psalms is such a blessing and without realizing it the children are getting large amounts of scripture by heart!


 

Prayers
This is not something we have implemented to date, but I hope to very soon. Prayers and quotes from Puritans, poetry from Amy Carmichael and others, as well as Spurgeon Gems
are all worthy of our time to commit to memory and to help our children do so as well. Also, if you do not own a copy of The Valley of Vision, a compilation of Puritan Prayers, you will be so blessed to get one. There is much rich material within the pages of this wonderful book, to keep us busy memorizing forever!

Taken from The Valley of Vision:
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.

May we mothers remain diligent to be watchful stewards over the minds of our children! May we help them build an arsenal of weaponry to fight the evil one. Do you have other ideas and examples of great things to help your children memorize, that will build up their hearts, minds and souls?

Bambi is the helpmeet to her high school sweetheart for seventeen years now, and they have seven blessings they are raising together for the glory of God.  Their eighth baby (a girl!) will be joining them in March, Lord willing.  Bambi enjoys good coffee, homeschooling, reading meaty books and spending time outdoors.  She enjoys blogging about family discipleship, marriage and motherhood at her blog In the Nursery of the Nation.

 

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  • Hannah Prevost

    Hi Jenny,
    I am a recent subscriber and just wanted to say how encouraged I am by your Lord’s day posts, and this post as well. It is wonderful to meet another exclusive psalmist!

    And thank you Bambi as well for the post – it is a great reminder for me that anytime is a good time to sneak in Scripture and the catechism, I don’t have to look for huge blocks of time. But I do need to just do it! I love your blog too!

  • Terry

    Thanks so much, Jenny and Bambi, for these great reminders/ideas to fill our child’s heart with good things, and those only come from God!  We, too, notice when our children recite those lines from a movie so easily, yet can’t remember a passage from the Bible.  So much to learn in our parenting!