Four Keys to Teaching Boys to Memorize Scripture

Linda Weddle

For several years I taught the Journey curriculum to a group of lively high-school kids. Five older boys dominated the discussions in a good way. They listened well and thought through the challenges I presented to them.

And they were a lot of fun. Anytime I asked one of them to quote a favorite verse or a verse that had special meaning to him, I knew the answer would be Proverbs 21:9 – Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. We’d laugh and then he would get to a verse that really did have meaning for him – and he would have a lot to choose from. Four of the five earned their Citation Awards and the other one was just a book or two behind.

None of these boys grew up in a typical Christian family. They didn’t have generations of Christian ancestors paving the way for them. Their parents weren’t in Awana as kids or in youth Bible studies as teens or alumni of prestigious Bible colleges.

So, what was different about this group of high-school kids? Why did these kids have so much success when other boys struggled with memorizing?

Here are some things I observed.

1. They attended a church where memorization was cool. Not only did kids memorize, but adults memorized, too. Leaders finished books. Each month board members learned a verse of their own choosing and quoted it before the next board meeting.

2. The pastor became their friend. He had nicknames for them. He took time to talk with them. He answered their questions and let it be known he would be glad to answer even more questions. He stressed the importance of memorization from the pulpit. Citation Award achievers were honored as much as someone who made a winning basket or a soccer goal.

3. Although these boys didn’t come from typical Christian homes, their parents were now Christians (some coming to Christ after their children were in elementary school) and the parents were now very interested in seeing their kids know God’s Word. They knew what it was like not to have a foundation of Scripture and took time to make sure their kids (even their teens) were getting it. They would ask me how their kids were doing (not in a helicopter-parent way, but in a truly caring way) – much like a Cubbies parent checks up on his or her child.

4. The dads memorized themselves. These kids had the best motivation possible – they saw their dads embrace memorization – either as board members, Awana leaders or simply because they loved God’s Word.

Along the way, as these kids moved through club, leaders had consistent and motivating competitions. But along with the fiercely fought contests was the sense that God’s Word was important. Large Group Time lessons focused on why the Bible is relevant in our lives. Parents emphasized that at home.

Looking back and analyzing those five seniors, I would say their success was a great example of parents and church working together to encourage them to know, love and serve the Lord.

And with that strong force behind them – they did just that.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 pm and is filed under Awana, Bible and Bible memory, Fatherhood. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Four Keys to Teaching Boys to Memorize Scripture”

  1. Tweets that mention Raising a Modern-Day Joseph -- Says:

    February 4th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Awana, Awana at Home. Awana at Home said: Blog: Four keys to teaching boys to memorize Scripture [...]

  2. Jasmin Parenting Says:

    March 8th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Here is their routine: 1. Clean up when they get up 2. Breakfast after cleaning up 3. Change of cloths… Well, think again!! Many of you might have known by now, this is where we start losing our children.

  3. Amy Says:

    March 29th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    GREAT article! I plan to share it with the parents of all my Sparky boys. Thank you!

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About the Authors
Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith is editorial manager of Awana. He and his wife have two children. Jeff has written three curriculum books for Awana.
Kim Anderson
Kim Anderson is a Web copywriter for Awana. She and her husband have daughters in sixth and ninth grade. Kim is a former youth ministry leader at her church who has co-written six books on youth ministry.
Linda Massey Weddle
Linda Weddle is senior U.S. program designer at Awana. She grew up in Awana, her children took part in Awana, and now her grandchildren all are in Awana. Linda is author of How to Raise a Modern-Day Joseph.