Posts belonging to Category Children

How can parents help their kids memorize the Bible?

Here is a brief audio clip of John Piper answering the question: “How can parents help their kids memorize the Bible?”

The main thing for young people whether it’s two or twenty-two … is what they see their parents doing and loving to do. In other words, Mom and Dad probably can’t take a fifteen-year-old and out of the blue say, “Now start reading your Bible,” when the fifteen-year-old is not seeing Mom and Dad loving their Bible, reading their Bibles, individually and together.

HT: Desiring God Blog

Memorizing James

Most nights I spend some time with my three sons reading the Bible and praying together. We have done this ever since they were toddlers, and they are now ages 15, 13 and 10. We usually pick a book of the Bible and read it through a section at a time, and then discuss any questions on it. Right now we are reading through the book of Job.

We tried something different this past spring and took a couple months to memorize a chapter of the Bible together instead. We chose James chapter 1. We took it one verse at a time, memorizing the verse and then discussing it together. The next night we would review the verses we had learned and then learn a new verse. If we had been really disciplined at it, I guess we would have finished in 27 days, seeing as there are only 27 verses in James 1. But between nights missed and extra review nights thrown in, it took us a couple months.

The important thing is we kept at it, and all three boys eventually were able to recite James chapter 1 from memory. We also talked about the importance of meditating or reflecting on God’s Word throughout the day. This is really the whole reason to memorize Scripture anyways — that we might store it up in our minds and our hearts and allow God to change us by his Word.

The method we used for memorizing is called the “stacking” method. This is the method taught by Janet Pope in her excellent book, His Word in My Heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God. You can read more about the stacking method at Lifehack, or you can read John Place’s story of how he used the stacking method to memorize 7 chapters of his psychology textbook, over 23,000 words, when he was in college. Andrew Davis also gives a good explanation and guide in his article: An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture.

People are using the stacking method to memorize all sorts of things. What could be more important than memorizing God’s Word and treasuring it in our hearts?

Update: Later we went back and re-memorized this chapter using the first-letter method. Actually, the stacking method and first-letter method work really well together. You can learn more about the first letter method in The Bible Memory Version: A Tool for Treasuring God’s Word in Your Heart.

Ordering off the Children’s Menu

World Magazine’s blog post, Do you have a children’s menu? prompted some lively discussion on the pros and cons of children’s menus. I liked the following two comments about chicken fingers.

Comment #2 – Chickens don’t have fingers. Be very suspicious.
Comment #6 (responding to comment #2) – “Chickens don’t have fingers.” Not any more.

Personally, my wife and I love the idea of a children’s menu. The price is right, and our boys always found something that they liked.

We used to eat at a Mexican restaurant that had a novel approach to their children’s menu. “Kids under twelve pay what they weigh,” read the sign out front. At a penny a pound, our boys ate for 40-50 cents each. Of course, “kids eat for free” is always the preferred alternative.

Now that the boys are older, bigger, and could eat the entire children’s menu all by themselves, we pay full price for the older two. But our youngest can still eat a children’s meal – at least for now!

Time to Go Outside and Play

Today’s Washington Post has an article discussing the lack of outdoor play for many of today’s children:

“Kids don’t think about going outside like they used to, and unless there is some scheduled activity, I don’t think they know what to do outdoors anymore,” Pelzman said.

Pelzman’s view is shared by a growing number of children’s advocates, environmentalists, business executives and political leaders who fear that this might be the first generation of “indoor children,” largely disconnected from nature.

Concerns about long-term consequences — affecting emotional well-being, physical health, learning abilities, environmental consciousness — have spawned a national movement to “leave no child inside.” In recent months, it has been the focus of Capitol Hill hearings, state legislative action, grass-roots projects, a U.S. Forest Service initiative to get more children into the woods and a national effort to promote a “green hour” in each day.

I have seen a number of articles in recent weeks expressing concern about this trend. For example, last week’s Daily Mail had an interesting article tracing the loss of children’s ability to roam over four generations in Sheffield, England. Here is a map showing the difference in “childhood roaming territory” for a great-grandfather, a grandfather, a mother, and her son.

Childhood Roaming Territory for Four Generations

When I was a kid I remember being outside a lot – playing basketball, running around in the woods, riding my bike all over town, fishing, etc. My mother often kicked us out of the house for the whole afternoon until supper time. And then there were many nights playing tag or kick-the-can outdoors after supper.

Why do you think kids today are “getting lost in the great indoors?” Is this a problem? What do kids miss by not spending more time outside?

HT: Instapundit

8 Great Family Rules to Help Any Home

Every home should have its own set of family rules. Family rules simplify explanations, clarify expectations, and create a safe environment for your children and their friends. We have our list of family rules taped to the refrigerator. I copied this list down a long time ago from somewhere, and these rules have served our family well over the years.


1. Tell the truth.

2. Treat each other with respect.

  • no yelling
  • no hitting
  • no kicking
  • no name-calling
  • no put-downs

3. No arguing with parents.

  • We want and value your input and ideas, but arguing means you have made your points more than once.

4. Respect each other’s property.

  • Ask permission to use something that doesn’t belong to you.

5. Do what Mom and Dad say the first time.

  • without complaining or throwing a fit!

6. Ask permission before you go somewhere.

7. Put things away that you take out.

8. Look for ways to be kind and helpful to each other.

We have also made it clear to our children that the family rules follow them wherever they go. These are not just rules for them to follow at our house. They are family rules. Our children represent our family wherever they go, and we expect them to behave accordingly.

(Updated 12/26/2008: Thanks to commenter G.H. below, I have located the source for this list. It comes from the book New Skills for Frazzled Parents: The Instruction Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child, by Daniel G. Amen, p. 67.)


What do you think about having a list of family rules? Do you have a similar list in your home? How has having such a list been helpful to you (or not)?

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News and Notes – 5/17/2007

G.I. Jonah. Don Levine, the creator of G.I. Joe, presents Almighty Heroes, a series of Bible-based action figures depicting champions from the Old Testament. The new series includes biblical figures such as Samson, David, Noah and Moses. For girls, there are fashion dolls based on women such as Queen Esther and Deborah the Warrior. Each figure comes with its own Bible storybook. Levine, who is Jewish, hopes that children can learn about the same heroes that he did as he grew up.

A long way from home. A very confused penguin swam ashore on Peru’s southern coast Sunday, 3100 miles north of its Antarctic home. “It seems he was disoriented and got lost in the sea due to the different ocean currents,” said Wilder Canales, who heads the National Paracas Reserve in southern Peru. Maybe it took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Preacher dies preaching. The Rev. Dennis Jenkins, a retired minister, died while preaching an anniversary service at Tabernacle Baptist Chapel in Wales. He was 77 years old. Chapel secretary Nigel Hughes said: “His sudden death was a great shock not only to his family but also to the church and the wider Christian community throughout Wales and beyond. This grief is tempered by the fact he died proclaiming the Christian gospel he loved and preached so passionately.” That’s how I want to go – just not this Sunday.

Children – Pollutants, Products or a Blessing?

I ran across a couple of articles discussing children over the weekend. First up, an article from The Australian reporting on a paper from the Optimum Population Trust arguing that children are bad for the environment. The OPT paper suggests that “having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags.” According to John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London,

The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.

Meanwhile, Josh Sowin at Fire and Knowledge excerpts some paragraphs from Bill McKibben’s book, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McKibben warns that genetic engineering in the future could cause some parents to begin viewing their children as products rather than people.

[Genetically engineered] children will, in effect, be assigned a goal by their programmers: “intelligence,” “even temper,” “athleticism.”

… Now two possibilities arise. Perhaps the programming doesn’t work very well, and your kid spells poorly, or turns moody, or can’t hit the inside fastball. In the present world, you just tell yourself that’s who he is. But in the coming world, he’ll be, in essence, a defective product. Do you still accept him unconditionally? …

The other outcome—that the genetic engineering works just as you had hoped—seems at least as bad. Now your child is a product … And what can she take pride in? Her good grades? She may have worked hard, but she’ll always know that she was specced for good grades. Her kindness to others? Well, yes, it’s good to be kind—but perhaps it’s not much of an accomplishment once the various genes with some link to sociability have been catalogued and manipulated.

I like God’s perspective on all this so much better. According to the Bible, children are neither pollutants to be controlled nor products to be evaluated; rather, children are a blessing from the Lord to be loved, cared for and raised to know God.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3,5)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Online Christian Radio Station for Kids

Here is a neat online Christian radio station for kids at Great music and format. They even offer a Wi-Fi Family Radio and Media Player for listening around the house.

My Three Sons

My wife, Rose, lives in a house full of men. So, when I saw this article, The Daughter I Never Had, I immediately thought of her. Honestly, I don’t know how she puts up with us at times. Even one of our dogs is a boy.

Of course, I would love to have a daughter. But I would not trade our family of three boys. Neither would Rose. Our family of all boys is full of high energy, lots of laughter, lots of Star Wars, lots of competition, lots of fun.

There is something special about every family – whether it is all boys, all girls, one child, or any mixture of the two. As someone once said to me when Rose was expecting, “It doesn’t matter if it is a boy or a girl, as long as it’s wealthy!”

What is your family like? Do you have any thoughts on the makeup of different families?

Seeds Family Worship Scripture Memory CDs

Here is a great new resource for families. Seeds Family Worship has produced four new CDs with songs taken directly from Scripture. Each CD contains 12 passages of Scripture focusing on a certain topic, such as Praise, Faith, Purpose or Courage. The music is modern and upbeat, and you can listen to samples before you buy.

Music is a great way for kids (and adults) to memorize Scripture. The website is offering a special Seeds of Easter sampler CD for only $2.99. This 5-song CD with songs from Seeds of Courage and Seeds of Faith is intended as an introduction to the series or as give-aways to children and guests on Easter. (Note: You must order by Monday, March 26 to guarantee delivery by April 6.)

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