In the meantime, I'm averaging about one Bible memory activity a month. My favorite method is bed-jump-Bible-time. I sit on a chair and read out a verse (It has been Exodus 20 these past months), then point to one of three. That person gets to jump up and down on the bed while repeating the verse. I read the next verse and point to someone else. Jump while repeating. Sometimes I point at all three, sometimes two. They love the feeling of random selection. They are even more thrilled when they get to correct someone who jumps out of line.
This activity needs to happen more often.
I'm also taking full advantage of "here a little" moments: spontaneous two minute conversations brought on by random questions. Joseph asks a lot of thought provoking questions (while Anna is a hypothesis queen. her favorite word is "maybe". "Maybe because ____". She has an answer for everything. And Lydia finds nothing wrong with appropriation. She grabs hold of a phrase she understands and repeats it to me, fully convinced that she is disclosing new information), usually related to how someone must have felt in certain situations. Example from today: "Mom, I bet Jesus was really nervous when he was about to die on the cross." I grab these chances. I try to strip my response of any preachy feeling, and keep things short and eye to eye. "Yeah, you're right. He even sweated blood. He begged God to find another way, but in the end, he knew God's way was best. He was willing to do it God's way." Sometimes I can get carried away, though. The best thing about these moments is that I just join the train of thought. The kids are at the engine. The train goes as far as they choose to take it. What a privilege to be a passenger.
One book that I like is below.
We read this a few times a week during breakfast. Again, not regularly. How do folks have schedules and keep them? I try to make it like a treasure. Sometimes, when I announce I'm reading a chapter, they say they want something else. I just start reading anyway. They get sucked in. At the end of the chapter, I shut the book and say next chapter tomorrow, maybe. If there's time. They invariably will beg for more. I resist. The next time, they remember the suspense, and cheer when I pull out the book. Making it rare (but not too rare) and special really adds value to it. Actually, I use this tactic for other things, like veggies as well. "Only take a few bites. We all want some of this delicious stuff." Suddenly, it becomes really yummy. (Well, I have no problems with Joseph, who often declares that his favorite foods are fruits and vegetables. Anna also knows she must eat them. It's Lydia that requires a lot of fancy footwork.)
Anyway, I hope to catch up with Ken in consistant Bible memory, but at least I will always have here a little, there a little. The key words are "a little". Short and to the point, and hopefully nuggets of truth will root themselves deep in the soul.
Another thought. Interesting how this helps me as well. When I'm met with a musing question that goes something like, "So mom, we aren't good enough to get into heaven, right?", suddenly I have to produce an all-encompassing, bite-sized answer. It's a great test of my own understanding. Can I render these great truths simple and understandable to my seven, five, and even three year old? And do I still remember, and live by these truths? I enjoy several impromptu tests a day. No room for cheating. As I give an answer, I am teaching myself anew. "You're right Joseph. No matter how good we think we are, we are not fit for heaven. We deserve hell. (sometimes, I pick an obvious sin to showcase. One for each. Mine is usually impatience. I don't want pull them any deeper into my murky sins for now. I'm sure they can understand Mom's impatience). That's why it's so good that God sent Jesus. He knew we really needed him. Without him, we would be in deep trouble... [yes, here's where I can get carried away]" Sometimes, I continue on with the cloak imagery: "it's like we are naked, but then Jesus puts his perfect clothes on us, so when God sees us, he welcomes us, because he sees Jesus' clothes....but it's not like he's being tricked! No, no, he knows Jesus is covering us. That's the whole reason why he sent him." Other times, I use the washing imagery: "Can you imagine being washed in Jesus blood? What color would be be? [fun discussions about color] How strange that Jesus blood makes us whiter than snow! It cleans us better than any soap ever could. All our sins are washed away. [a few wows with glazed eyes. Imagination kicking into high gear]. Sometimes, of course, preaching creeps in, and I lose them halfway into my sermon. I try to seamlessly change the subject and move on. The best is when the discussion becomes a back and forth volley of one comment heaped on top of another. That way we are all contributing and building a fortress together. Ha! What an adventure this all is. I wonder what is sticking and what is going right through.
One thing of which I'm convinced: Bible memory can come before understanding. Their minds catch it so easily. Eventually (like Joseph is doing now with sermon on the mount in Chinese), they will start asking questions. So I need to get a move on with English.