I have a confession to make:
Our family has SUCKED at scripture study this summer….like I am not sure we have even done it once.
We have been so diligent as parents with family scripture study thus far, what would it hurt to take off just one summer?
Well, let me tell you… The kids have been fighting like cats and dogs. They are at each others throats over the smallest, silliest things. We are all irritable and short tempered and quick to find fault. My patience is shot. In short, the Spirit has been on summer vacation as well.
As I was thinking about the sad state of our home and what I could do as the mom, I had the impression “you haven’t been reading the scriptures as a family.” I thought of the blessings and promises available to families when they read the scriptures together:
President Marion G. Romney said, ‘I feel certain that if, in our homes, parents will read from the Book of Mormon prayerfully and regularly, both by themselves and with their children, the spirit of that great book will come to permeate our homes and all who dwell therein. The spirit of reverence will increase; mutual respect and consideration for each other will grow. The spirit of contention will depart. Parents will counsel their children in greater love and wisdom. Children will be more responsive and submissive to the counsel of their parents. Righteousness will increase. Faith, hope, and charity—the pure love of Christ—will abound in our homes and lives, bringing in their wake peace, joy, and happiness’ (Ensign, May 1980, p. 67).
I needed these promises to be true so we had a family council yesterday. We discussed our problem briefly but spent more time on our plan. How were we going to get our family scripture study back up and running?
We decided to have scripture study in the morning. We are going to start at 8:30 AM and work our way down to 7:45 AM by the time school starts. (I prefer the baby step method, as opposed to the cold turkey method.)
For years we had done family scripture study at night before bed. We would read the back of the Gospel Art Kit pictures or from the Children’s scripture readers. We did this for several years and made it through each of those at least 3 times. But last year we decided that we needed to move our time to the morning because Dad was often gone at meetings at night; the kids were getting more and more involved with extra curricular activities, and I was often too tired to do scripture study by myself and then get all the kids down for bed as well. We found ourselves skipping more and more. We knew the only conflict in the morning was our desire to sleep.
Plus we wanted to delve into the real scriptures. I wanted my children to get used to scriptural language and actually hold them in their hands. We renamed Family Scripture Study “Scripture Power” after our favorite song “because we want the power his words will give to me“. (Doesn’t that just sound so much better than Scripture Study?) We had a very successful year studying the Book of Mormon in the morning.
So we decided to go back to what worked. Here is our Scripture Power plan for this school year. (Some is what we did last year and others are new ideas.)
First, we made sure that every kid had his/her own set of scriptures whether he/she can really read or not. We had to round some up from different places around the house and even tape the binding on one. They aren’t pretty; but they each have their own.
I put their names on them yesterday with rub on letters (on the cheap copies) so there would be no confusion / fights over whose is whose.
We put them in a central location in the Living Room — just a basket on our hearth. When we are finished reading they all go back in the basket.
Second we wanted to use music. As we are gathering the kids, we turn on the song “Scripture Power” on the iPad — kind of like prelude music. It signals to the kids that we are about to start family scripture study. (Think Pavlov’s dog.) We all have until the end of the song to be in the living room with our scriptures on our lap. It’s a good thing the song has 2 verses because the kids aren’t always the last ones ready.
Then we will sing an opening song using the iPad. We have a great app on the iPad that sings the song and shows pictures of the Primary songs and hymns.(Download the app here.) This is great for our musically challenged family. The opening song gives the kids time to wake up if necessary and and the song invites the Spirit as well. (I am convinced the reason why we sing an opening song in Sacrament meeting is to give us moms time to recover from the morning we just had trying to get to church. Sometimes it even takes me until the Sacrament hymn before I am feeling the Spirit again.)
Finally, we will start reading the actual scriptures. 4 of us can read well and Croft is getting really close. Last year we would break the scriptures down into short phrases for her. We would read a phrase and she would repeat it. This year she is reading more. Locke always gets to say “And it came to pass”. Maybe this year we will add on “and thus we see” or repeating phrases as well.
Sometimes we read a whole chapter, and sometimes we read just one verse. We take it slow because I want to talk about what is going on, not just read words.
Sometimes something will hit me during the day about the morning’s Scripture Power and the next morning I will reteach it. Although we want to finish the Book of Mormon, more importantly we want to understand it.
We end Scripture Power with us all kneeling for Family Prayer.
Then we like to keep the Primary music going from the iPad while we get ready for the day.
I know this seems perfect on paper and will be harder to do in real life, but we have had success before and we can have success again. Wish us luck. And those promises better be true!
P.S. All last year Locke thought the 2013 National Geographic Kids Almanac was his scriptures. No one had the heart to tell the kid that his bright picture, fun fact filled book wasn’t actually the scriptures. Now that he has a real set, it might be a little bit of a rough transition for him this year.