Confession and Resolution: Scriptures

(For the record, my family scripture study has never looked like this picture … too much smiling, too few injuries … but it’s a cute picture anyway.  A happy piece of fiction to strive for.)

My readers are geniuses.  Obviously.  So I love it when I vent, and you come back with two really really important things:  empathy and ideas.  I’ve noticed that Annie and I are alike in one thing in particular.  When we’re not happy with the way something is going, we both come up with big plans/programs/routines/systems/control-freak-type-mind-control-over-our-children-or-marriage-or-weight (or whatever the issue at hand is) efforts.  So her comment on my boo-hoo post about post-holiday detox knocked me back into my real self again:

“Thankfully, they do make Christmas rehab. It’s called New Year’s Resolutions.”

Of course.  That’s what I do.  I’ve got to break down our “issues” one by one and make plans to remedy them.  First up to bat:  Scriptures.  Over the holiday season, our scripture study fell through the cracks.  I realize this is ridiculously ironic since Christmas time is, you know, all scripturey and stuff.  We did lots of random nativity-related verses and studying, but we lost the routine, the habit…  and frankly, as it’s obvious now, we lost the blessings.

So, tonight for family home evening, we’re going to revisit the importance of scripture study and decide as a family how to best tackle this needed element of our family routine.  I have to come to a discussion like this with a few ideas already in place or we’ll end up discussing ad nauseum things like, “can we have refreshments every time we read scriptures?” and “When are we having another family movie night?” or “Did I tell you that I scored all the points at basketball practice last week?.”  Since a family changes as children grow, I’m thinking that our scripture study needs to be constantly adapting to meet reading levels, individual children’s needs, etc.  My proposal will be this:  We’re going to do scripture study as a family divided.  That may sound counter-intuitive, but I think it will work.  At bedtime, Either Matt or I will go with Grant (who just turned 8 and will be baptised very soon) and let him read one page out of the Book of Mormon.  We’ll discuss for clarity.  The other will go with Clark and Natalie, and Clark can read to Natalie out of the illustrated Scripture Stories.  (Really, if you have preschoolers or early readers and don’t have these, you NEED them.)  Then we can articulate the main message/lesson from the story we read and bear testimony of those principles.  And we are going to do it EVERY. NIGHT. (Within reason.  Sometimes they fall asleep in the car or one of us has an evening commitment, but I want these exceptions to be RARE.)

Anyway.  Here are the quotes I found to talk about tonight:

One of the best ways to draw near unto Him and to both learn about and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ is to consistently study the holy scriptures—to daily “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Ne. 32:3).     –Elder David A. Bednar

We encourage everyone to make careful study of the scriptures … and to prayerfully seek personal revelation to know their meaning for themselves.  – Elder Dallin H. Oaks

I promise you … that if you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.  — President Thomas S. Monson

There are powerful moments of communication through regular family prayer and through family scripture study. The scriptures will help define family values and goals, and talking together about them will assist family members to learn to become individually secure, spiritually strong, and self-reliant.  – Elder M. Russell Ballard

I printed them out and cut them out and we’ll read them, and hang them up on the wall next to this picture as a reminder of our commitment to our new goals.

And also?  Ahem. I’ve decided that I, personally, am going to take up Jocelyn on her challenge and read 5 pages of the Book of Mormon a day.  Starting today.  According to her calculations, this means I will finish it by Easter.  I need to do it.  Anyone want to join us?

I’m sure many of you have your own ideas of what/how/when to do scripture study.  Feel free to share them in the comments below because it’s always helpful to get new ideas.

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12 thoughts on “Confession and Resolution: Scriptures

  1. awesome…and “according to my calculations”…it’ll actually take reading 5.015 pages per day…or there abouts…so if you get to 5 pages…don’t be afraid to finish the chapter every now and then…and you’ll be just fine! Thanks for joining me! 🙂

  2. WELL.

    That’s a big piece a’ pie to chew, but I’ll try to respond within the confines of this little white box.

    (I have no idea what pie has to do anything. I’m hungry, okay?)

    SO. We have always read scriptures at night. Before bed. When the kids are the craziest, essentially. Reverence was never their strong point – at church or at home. In response to their (absolutely terrible) church behavior, I started doing “reverent time” in the mornings. Five minutes. I would read from the Friend for five minutes, and they were required to sit. still. for five minutes. Absolutely no second chances or line-walking. If they sat still the whole time (not a single brother-poking), then they got a chocolate chip.

    It didn’t take long to substitute scripture reading for the Friend. They were being so reverent, I might as well, yes? So we read the “kid scriptures” every morning. Sometimes we read two or three, depending on the day. The kids are PERFECT and it’s become one of my favorite parts of the day.

    BUT – my husband wasn’t there with us. And that wasn’t cool with either of us.

    I wasn’t about to get little kids up early, BEFORE Dad goes to work, so we were still stuck with the right-before-bed thing, and it WASN’T WORKING. Finally, we switched it to right after dinner.

    Here’s another thing. (I know – this is long enough already!) My boys had gotten in the habit, EVERY DAY AFTER TO DINNER, to run around the house. My house as a “circular” layout, so they can just run one giant circle around and around. For years, as soon as they’re done with dinner, they run around while we do the dishes. I’ve let it happen because it’s nice – they’re having a ball and I can do the dishes in peace.

    BUT – to call them to scriptures after running around like maniacs? Yeah right.

    It was really frustrating to me, and it was a matter of much thought and prayer. Then I realized that if I truly wanted a reverent scripture time, I needed a reverent HOME.

    So that led to some big changes. We no longer allow running in the house – at all. Only outside. Also no more jumping on the couch – ever. It used to be their favorite pasttime. But I’ve tried to make it so that that very ROOM inspires reverence. So any and all wild n’ crazy activities have to be done outside or in the basement. (I don’t eliminate them completely, of course – just in that room.)

    And you know? It’s helped a LOT. A lot a lot. Not perfect, of course. (We never look like that picture …) But it’s waaaaay better than it used to be.

    And, to be honest, a chocolate chip helps. ;o) We give one for sitting reverently, and one for answering a question correctly about the chapter we just read.

    Sorry for the novel – but I hope it helps!

  3. Stephanie,

    I think I’ve asked you this before, but how do you come up with such fabulous, concise quotes when you need them? We just came up with our own scripture routine and I wanted to lead it off with quotes like these, but I couldn’t find them quickly.

    Good luck with scripture reading! And you’re lucky that you have two parents always home at bedtime to “divide and conquer”! 🙂

    • Heather, I have no secret. I’m just really well-versed at using the Gospel Library search at lds.org. I enter in phrases that I assume might be used in the kind of quote I’m looking for, and I use the advanced search options to limit the findings to quotes by the 1st presidency and Twelve or anyone in particular who I know has spoken about something, and I just browse through a few lists and articles until I find something that stands out to me. Sometimes it’s what I was looking for; sometimes it takes me in a different direction. I do have a pretty good memory, though, so sometimes I can remember specific phrases from a quote I know I’ve heard in Gen. Conf. or read in the Ensign, so I can narrow stuff down a little bit. Other than that, there’s no gift or skill I can brag of. 🙂

  4. We read from the 2 Hour Book of Mormon at the dinner table every night. Whoever finishes first has to read. It works.

  5. We do scripture reading before family prayer in the evening. I went hard core and we started from the beginning (when they were 3 & 4) reading straight from the Book of Mormon. (We also have the illustrated readers which my kids love.) I have kept it short (1 verse a piece to start, now 2 verses each since they are getting to be better readers) in keeping with their attention spans. Some nights it is a struggle and not the way I would like it, but we keep doing it any way. My youngest is now starting to ask questions about what we have read, so I think bits of it are starting to sink in.

    I think trying to do this is just like anything else you have in your family’s routine–you have to continually be evaluating it and adapting it to fit the changes in your family. The fact that you have family scripture study is constant, even if when or how it happens changes from time to time. Praying about it and talking about it with your husband are the best ways to determine what will be best for YOUR family.

    Good luck!

  6. Because of my husband’s work schedule, he isn’t home for 2 or 3 days a week for any type of scripture reading. So, I’ve had to really buckle down and take responsibility of these things in our house. I can happily report mediocrity. Ha, okay. Seriously, I read a few verses to the kids every night right before bed or as they are taking baths. It’s working so far but I do realize I’ll need to change as the kids get older.

    (Oh, yes, and by “working” I mean the kids run and jump and scream and are generally rowdy while I read. BUT I’M READING. That’s all I’ve got to say.)

  7. I start to think of a decent, informative comment –then my mind kind of wanders off and I get off track. Sleep deprived but still loving reading your thoughts.

  8. Awesome goals. We are just starting back into scripture study that has been… well… never started before. We read with the kids every night, but I’m feeling like I need to do more than that. So I think I’m going to try to join you and Jocelyn! Even if I have to do it in the middle of the night while nursing! 🙂 Thanks for the challenge!

  9. I need to dig into the comments here – should’ve before I commented! I love your suggestion about dividing up the groups that can handle more or less. LOVE. Because we have been reading and talking about scriptures with the whole family, but the 2 year old literally runs circles around the sofas and is jumping up and down. She can’t handle it. At all. Probably because we’re tackling it right before bed most of the time. Sometimes we do it right after dinner while we’re still at the table(if we have some slow finishers it’s perfect). I had a focus on reading out of the “real” scriptures the end of last year because I really wanted the older children to grow up bilingual – with spoken English and scriptural language as familiar as the other. But you can imagine we lost the 2 year old even more, so have reverted to scripture story books to draw her in more, but I haven’t been happy with that, either.

    I’ve also started doing a scripture story/verse/principle with the kids at the breakfast table a lot of mornings. It only takes 2-5 minutes tops and then I feel like if something interferes with our evening scriptures, we’ve already hit something that looks like “study” for that day.

    I used to do scripture time with my kids at lunch, when my oldest was still in preschool. I might get back to doing that with the ones at home. That was really special time for us. Again, it wasn’t long. But it was something, and it worked.

    I can’t tell you how happy I am you shared your idea. Thank you!

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