So you were wondering how to squeeze your three year old Viola’s memory verses into your week of work, caring for Viola and her little sister, and life in general – not to mention that you are pregnant?! (Pregnancy alone will exhaust a mom!)
First of all, you are to be congratulated for getting Viola to AWANAs on Wednesday nights. That in itself is an achievement! Please be good to yourself and stay realistic about your family goals. (That growing baby in you is commandeering much of your energy and resources.)
Viola has a great time at AWANAs. She is bright and eager – a quick learner and an engaged thinker. What I love is the way her face shines when she says her memory verses. Viola truly delights in God’s Word (Psalm 1:2.) For me, there is no greater reward to this volunteer gig.
AWANA is a great program, but it was never designed to put pressure on you. (You have a preschooler, a toddler, and you are pregnant. I’m tired just thinking about your workload!) Please don’t berate yourself for not reviewing the memory verse with your oldest. The Bible verses are shortened to 3-8 word lengths, but they can still be a challenge for the little ones to memorize.
I remember being a mom of young children and feeling the time squeeze of getting my kids to memorize Bible verses. Memorization is a good thing, something I value, but often memory work became one more chore, one more sheet on the fridge not to forget, one more item on the never-ending list of things to do with and for my kids. (That is, if the list stayed on the fridge . . . if I didn’t forget . . . if we got to it in time before the due date . . .)
(Note to my younger self:) God’s Word is very important, but as parents, we need to focus on building a lifelong love of God’s Word in our children, not just getting them to earn checkmarks on a page. Memorizing God’s Word is a process that starts when our children are little. They will build on the seeds sown now, as we role model the importance of learning from the Bible. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it, as Proverbs 22:6 encourages us.
God’s Word is not meant to merely leave our lips, but to live in our hearts.
As volunteers, we try to help these preschool students understand who God is and how He loves them, using the AWANA Cubbies curriculum to present these concepts through story-telling, puppet shows, singing, and even while playing games in the gym. We repeatedly explain concepts like sin, shepherd, and creation, so they can understand what the verse talks about. Sometimes we barely get to practice the pronunciation of the words, let alone memorize the verse. Please know that we do our best for little Viola and her classmates.
Lord, may your word not be something that merely leaves Viola’s lips, but that deeply roots your love in her heart. Bless Haley with the rest, energy, and encouragement she needs to be the amazing mother you have called her to be. Amen.
[Originally posted April 2015]