Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scripture PJ's by Montserrat Wadsworth

Today's post comes from Montserrat...aka Cocoa of Chocolate On My Cranium.
I have really enjoyed collaborating with Montserrat on the Family Proclamation Celebration the last two years, and have come to love her as a friend and fellow "Mother who knows"!  I do believe that this is her first official guest post on my blog!  

Give a warm welcome to, Montse!!

There's a Primary song my children love to sing, Scripture Power.

Because I want to be like the Savior, and I can,
I’m reading His instructions, I’m following His plan.
Because I want the power His word will give to me,
I’m changing how I live, I’m changing what I’ll be.

I’ll find the sword of truth in each scripture that I learn.
I’ll take the shield of faith from these pages that I turn.
I’ll wear each vital part of the armor of the Lord,
And fight my daily battles, and win a great reward.

Scripture power keeps me safe from sin.
Scripture power is the power to win.
Scripture power! Ev’ryday I need
The power that I get each time I read.

The power that I get each time I read. Don't we all seek for and want that power? Don't we want that for our children too? We can have that, you know. It takes some work, and LOTS of patience, but it is attainable.

One Sunday, many years ago, I witnessed an inspiring moment. My then 4 year old daughter, Marie, was singing 'Nephi's Courage' (Children's Songbook, pg.120) with the rest of the primary children. "I will go; I will do the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way; he wants me to obey." As the song ended Marie picked up her Book of Mormon, turned to 1 Nephi 3:7, and showed her teacher saying, "That song comes from this scripture."

Her teacher was amazed. "How did you know that?"

Marie pointed to her scriptures where I had drawn a green circle with the word GO written inside. "I learned it at school!" (We homeschool.)

As a family we try to hold regular scripture study every evening, but I felt I could do even more with my children by incorporating study of the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, in their daily school schedule.

Why the Book of Mormon? President Ezra Taft Benson said: "Combined with the Spirit of the Lord, the Book of Mormon is the single greatest tool which God has given us to convert the world." (A Witness and a Warning, by Ezra Taft Benson, pg.11) This challenge and promise includes our families. Don't we want our children to be converted to the gospel?

I'd like to share with you what we do in our home to build our children's faith and clothe them with the armor and power of God.

It's nothing earth shattering. We call them our Scripture PJ's.

Scripture Picture and Journal Study

We read each morning before doing any other school subjects. If you don't homeschool this could easily be a morning devotional before sending everyone off to school. We each take a turn reading out loud. Sometimes we read just a few verses, sometimes a chapter or more. We are more concerned with how much is retained than with how much is read.

Depending on the reading levels of your children, the Book of Mormon Stories reader published by the Church can be very helpful, but I recommend reading straight from the scriptures. At first it may be hard, but from personal experience with my own family, even young children are not too young to understand the scriptures! Reading the beautiful language of the scriptures greatly increases a child's verbal, reading, and comprehension skills. Also, do not forget that reading the scriptures invites the Spirit. And there is no greater teacher than the Holy Ghost.

We have purchased the inexpensive copies of the Book of Mormon for each child. When we get to a scripture or story we would like them to remember, we draw simple figures or pictures in their scriptures to help them locate the scripture faster and see at a glance what the scripture is about. The green circle with GO inside is one example. Here are other picture suggestions:
  •  a sheep on Alma 17:25 for the story of Ammon tending King Lamoni's flocks
  •  children's faces inside a circle of fire on 3 Nephi 17:25 to mark when Christ blessed the Nephite children
  •  a tower on Mosiah 2:8 for the story of King Benjamin's address to his people
  •  a CTR shield for 2 Nephi 2:27 to remember that we are free to choose
The possibilities are endless. Just remember to keep the pictures simple. Colored pencils work the best. They don't bleed through and you can still see the words. You will find that the pictures act as visual cues for younger children. My older children mark their scriptures differently using a variety of colors for different gospel principles. These markings and pictures have helped my children find stories in the scriptures quickly, sometimes even faster then their Primary teachers. More important than speed, though, they are learning to mark their scriptures; they focus on what the scriptures are saying. Thus, their minds are being infused with the word of God.

After we read, my children (the ones that can write anyway, ages 4 - 16) write in their scripture journals. These are just regular composition notebooks. At the top of the page they record the date and scripture references that we read. Then they summarize what took place. They also jot down a gospel principle they learned and how to apply that principle in their life. Any other thoughts and impressions they received while reading are recorded as well.

The four year old draws a picture and then dictates to me or to an older sister what he wants written. We love to review previous entries and see how their understanding of the scriptures has increased. Can you imagine what precious keepsakes these will be for them?

That's all we do - read, draw pictures, mark scriptures, and write. It only takes 15- 20 minutes each day. But, oh, the rewards that have come from studying the Book of Mormon daily!

Promises fulfilled

The promises made by Pres. Marion G. Romney are literally being fulfilled. He said, "And so, I counsel you, my beloved brothers and sisters and friends everywhere, to make reading in the Book of Mormon a lifelong practice... I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to that counsel. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity - the pure love of Christ - will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness." (Conference Report, April 1960, pp. 112-13) Could your family benefit from these blessings too?

There are many effective ways to study the Book of Mormon. "Scripture PJ's" has worked for us. No matter what method you choose, may you be encouraged to immerse your family in the scriptures.

Are you ready to start? Then, GO!

Thank you, Montserrat!  I liked your idea so much that we tried it out during our family scripture study yesterday!  Everyone loved it!  Thanks!!

I encourage everyone to check out all of the helpful hints found at Chocolate on My Cranium...including her Wordfull Wednesday Blog Hops.

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  1. You are an awesome mother! Our family reads the scriptures daily too; and I've always believed that reading straight from them is the best way to learn them. Little children's comprehension and memory are far greater than we realize, and by reading the originals we increase their capacity to learn. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

  2. great idea, makes me wish I still had kids at home to try it out...

  3. When I first read about this (LDHS?or your personal blog?) I thought, Ok great idea...then forgot about it. :( The past few months we have been doing scripture journals and I remembered your post from before. I couldn't find it, so I am glad I have it now! :)

    What a wonderful lesson to learn for our children. (and us)

  4. I LOVE this idea! We just bought a Book of Mormon for our 2 year old's birthday. I have been trying to think of a way to incorporate reading the actual scriptures to our day rather than just the stories. This is perfect. We are going to have to do this and SOON! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wonderful! Sometimes, as I read the terrific ideas all of you blogging moms come up with, I wish I could start all over again and incorporate your ideas into my own parenting.

    But then I come back to my senses!

    (I really do love the ideas, though, and wish I had known about them!) And I frequently pass them to my DIL for the grandkids.


  6. I loved all that you are doing with your family. We did scripture study with our children over the years and now it is fun when visiting them to see that they are having daily scripture study. Thanks for your ideas; I will share them with my children.
    Blessing to you for a lovely post on the scriptures.

  7. I have been looking for ways to make scripture reading more meaningful, and to be better about helping my children journal. I'm excited to try and combine the too. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  8. Wonderful, wonderful post! Great ideas, and great spirit.

  9. I think that this is a Great idea. I'm sue that my kids will remember way more if we are using art to teach and learn. I love this.

    And I LOVE your new piano. I also prayed a piano into my life for Christmas last year. It is awesome how craigslist works out sometimes.

  10. When my older children were small, we used to have books called "scripture pictures". those books gave you suggestions for simple pictures throughout the scriptures. They all used to do it when were were reading every night. I still have a couple of sets of them and the older kids found them last Christmas in the shelves. They talked about the meaning that those simple things had in their lives. I am wishing that I still had those books for my younger girls. but, I like your idea to just do it myself.

  11. I love this idea! I agree about having kids go to the scriptures right away. Even our two year old loves to "read her scriptures" - she gets her book of Mormon then starts saying words that sound like gibberish with an occasional "Jesus" thrown in there.

    Anyways. This is a great idea, and we'll be trying it out!

  12. This is such a great idea! We have struggled with regular family scripture study, since my twins are only 4 and it can feel pretty chaotic, rather than spiritual. ;) But this inspires me to give it another go and get them more involved in the process! Thank you!