Memorization is out of fashion. The days of reciting multiplication facts out loud, or performing a poem from memory are in the past. These methods have been replaced by more interactive learning, discussion, questions… all good things.
And yet… numerous studies point to the benefits of memorization.
This article lists increased neural plasticity and creativity among other benefits.
POW’s have been grateful for every scrap of poetry lodged in their heads.
Music teachers still know the value of it, requiring students of all levels to memorize every note and swell in sound.
“If we do not learn by heart, the heart does not feel the rhythms of poetry as echoes or variations of its own insistent beat.” Catherine Robson.
There is something to taking words into yourself and making it a part of you.
For a solid year we consistently memorized 1 scripture a month as a family. At the time, Josh was 4 and Anna 2. Saying big words in their little raspy voices. They each had a favorite and could say it with excitement.
Josh’s was and is Joshua 1:8 “Be strong and have great courage, be not afraid, nor dismayed….”
Anna’s was and is Alma 32:21: “And now as I said unto you concerning faith….”
And then… we got busier and it fell by the wayside.
I have always felt closest to God when I am reading his words. My mind doesn’t always focus when I pray being still is as foreign in our world as route memorization. But when I’m reading, pondering, cross referencing I can feel Him near, I feel guided, encouraged, inspired and often am guided to what I need to do to be better.
So we are recommitting ourselves to memorizing.
This year the Friend has suggested scriptures to memorize. Which is what we’ve been using, but I think I will also let my kids pick ones they want us to learn, one’s that speak to them.
The first day we read the scripture together and make up actions to help us remember it. We try to say it once a day over the month and talk about what it means, little by little. And little by little I hope it worms it’s way into their thoughts. By the end of the month I ask them each what they can learn from it or how it helps them, and hopefully they can answer.
Before I would worry that I couldn’t remember all the scriptures we’d memorized. I’d keep lists, try and invent memory games, quiz them on scriptures we’d talked about in the past, anxious that the words would escape their moldable minds. It led to stress where there should have been calm.
Now I let it be. Do what I can and hope I can bring a feeling of peace and that at least the feeling stays.
I hope this process helps them to love the scriptures, I hope the words that they need at any given time will float to the tops of their minds because they’ve become a part of them and have become written on their hearts.