I’ve tricked my grand-daughter into Bible Study and scripture memory before. Outright bribed her. It’s a pearl-clutching confession to some, I know. There are many who caution against the dangers of offering children an external reward to study their Bibles. And while I understand the concept and value of intrinsic reward and agree there can be some downsides to external motivation, I am one who is not opposed to its power. Sometimes it can really work.
It has for me before. As a young child, I memorized numerous Bible verses on my climb to a paid-for summer-camp experience that my family couldn’t otherwise afford. That short period of time away on my own in a faith-based setting helped me develop a greater confidence as I learned to live in a shared environment with my new friends.
In some ways, earning that reward for memorizing scripture ultimately offered me a sense of belonging I hadn’t really known before.
I know life doesn’t always roll out the same for each of us but in my particular experience, that external reward for reading my Bible later ignited a desire to study scriptures on my own.
But my determination to get my grand-daughter into God’s word consistently never really worked. Well, not the times there was any sort of nagging or begging or bribing involved. Because as she later revealed, reading the Bible was simultaneously “boring and big” (read: intimidating).
Bottom line: it simply wasn’t fun for her. And while I know it isn’t always about having fun, enjoying time spent in the Bible goes a long way in nurturing a child’s desire to do it again.
Over time, I learned to invite her into the action. Teasing her natural sense of curiosity, I led her into various adventures and mysteries of the Bible. These sort of stories always raised questions for her. And when she wanted the answers, she had to make her way back to the Word to find them.
Also as a visual learner, my granddaughter thinks in pictures. An avid doodler, she often scratches out various images in ways that help her remember what she reads and sees and eventually she learned to apply this to her Bible reading.
Her knack for retaining the material she reads through doodling is one reason we are so excited (as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid) to have recently been blessed with a free review copy for her of the NIrV Journal the Word Bible for Girls by kidz Bibles.
You guys, she loves this Bible!
Sprawled across her round table in our homeschool space, she gathered her journaling markers and colored pencils and went to work immediately when she received it. I had to call her away multiple times for another activity she had previously committed to.
Desiring an honest review, I asked her to tell me about the Bible. What did she like and not like. She couldn’t think of a thing she didn’t like. And if you knew my girl, you’d know that’s rare. As someone with Asperger’s, she’s pretty rigid in her thinking and strong in her opinions.
First, she loved how beautiful the outside of the Bible is. She felt inspired to open it. And when she did open it, she loved the double columns that offered so much room for her creativity and doodling. She also loved how she could empty out her thoughts in various notes on the pages as she read.
Another favorite was the thickness of the paper. We have some other Bibles (which we also like) but this one is a favorite for the way her drawings don’t leak through to the other side. Overall she felt this Bible gave her a creative learning space that she wasn’t getting in any of her others and that “encouraged and inspired” her and made her want to read it.
And that sort of positive reaction is so much better than bribery. At least this Nana thinks so!
If you’d like to learn more about this beautiful resource, head on over to FaithGateway. ( I hope you love it as much as we do.)