“Enjoying Scriptures with Small Children,” Ensign, Feb. 1986, 69
I have fond memories of the many tales from the scriptures I listened to in my childhood. Such biblical classics as David and Goliath; Daniel in the lions’ den; Noah’s ark; Samson and Delilah; Joseph and the coat of many colors; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; and a myriad of others held me spellbound. I thrilled to stories of Jesus from the New Testament and was fascinated by the adventures of such Book of Mormon heroes as Nephi, Abinadi, Samuel the Lamanite, General Moroni, and Helaman with his two thousand stripling warriors.
I am sure that these early impressions account for my present-day love of the scriptures. Yet, as a mother of five small children, I have found it challenging to keep up in my own scripture study, let alone make time to acquaint my little ones with the beauty and wonder of the scriptures. So I developed a plan that would benefit us all.
We set aside a regular time each day for scripture study. Our family reads the scriptures together first thing in the morning—when everyone is fresh and wide awake. We gather around the table for family prayer, and then, while the children eat breakfast, I read them a selected story from the scriptures.
To prepare for our scripture reading, each Sunday evening I choose a story and a scripture to which I feel my children can relate or from which they can learn a principle of the gospel. I print out the scripture with colored markers on a piece of white paper and hang it conspicuously on the refrigerator door, where we can refer to it during the week.
I want my children not only to learn the stories but to remember them, so we discuss one story and memorize one scripture each week—which allows us to proceed at a relaxed pace.
The first morning of the week, I read the predetermined selection directly from the scriptures, explaining it in easy-to-understand terms as we go along. The next day, I ask questions about the story to see how much the children recall. On days three and four we repeat the procedure, and on the fifth day I let my children tell me the story.
At the end of each story session, we recite the scripture of the week and practice it together. By the end of the week, with no more than the daily reviews, the children know both the story and the scripture by heart. Even my youngest children have learned the scriptures and have enjoyed reciting them to grandparents, home teachers, and others.
Aside from the joy of learning about the scriptures, this program has provided a way for our family to set a positive, spiritual tone for the day. My children have felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in their new-found knowledge, and I have discovered the calm reassurance that comes with knowing that I am fulfilling the responsibility of teaching my children the gospel. Jody Bailey, Monticello, Utah