I feel closer to God through reading the scriptures than by any other means. Instilling this love in my children is important to me. But our 2 minute scripture study/that should occur daily but usually occurs 3ish times a week goes like this…
“For the Lord hath….Josh hold still… heard our prayers…
“Josh, please be a good example….”
“Mom! Max is bugging me”
“Max quit hitting your sister… And behold, when that time cometh…”
“All of you hold still!!! or I’m going to eat all your ears (I’m sometimes full of empty threats) Thank you….none shall be found blameless before God, except it be little children, only through repentance and faith on the name of the Lord God Omnipotent. What do you think that means?”
Anna says, “I think it means to be kind?”
Josh says, “I wasn’t listening, say it again, but I don’t think that’s right Anna.”
and Max says, “I need a drink!”
The other night I yelled, “OK everyone stick out your tongues and sit on your hands.” It took a couple of tries for my oldest to listen, he’s the blur in the picture.
Near tears I explained how important the scriptures were to me. How important it is to be reverent and respectful so that Heavenly Father can speak to their souls. How important it is to have these words in their hearts so that they can receive help when they need it. Justin jumped in with his two cents. With the harmony that comes with marriage and living with someone for 11 years we simultaneously told the kids that if they couldn’t be reverent during scripture study they couldn’t have stories afterward. That one is more important than the other. Stories one of my favorite things in the whole world, but more importantly I want them to be safe and strong….
Then the oldest two broke down into tears… because they felt bad… and because they were tired…. and they wanted a story. Max kept jumping around and asking if he could have his toys yet.
Then we made a deal…
We would alternate picture scriptures and real scriptures (they are divided on which they prefer)
It wouldn’t last longer than 5 minutes
I would quiz them each on what we read and they could ask any questions that they wanted
They would sit still and listen with respect.
I was scared to come down hard on this. It’s hard when it comes to spiritual things. We want our children to see the beauty of a relationship with God without it being required. But I don’t think twice about making them finish their homework, or do their chores and this is equally if not more important. I didn’t want scripture study to be a dreaded event. I wanted it to be full of love and reverence, a place they could ask any questions in their hearts. “Should I let it go? I want to be the fun parent…” tickled the back of my brain. But more importantly I want to be the parent that prepares them for life in all of it’s facets. I can be stern, then show an increase of love, move on and it’s ok.
P.S. I have discovered that memorizing scriptures with the kids is generally easier than formal scripture study. We make up actions and just do bits at a time. They all have joy and a sense of accomplishment when they can say something from memory. It’s my prayer that these phrases will float to the tops of their minds when they need them the most.