One afternoon my oldest son Joel came stomping into the house ranting about something a friend had done. One thing led to another and before long it was time for Dad to step in and extinguish the flaming fury before it got out of control.
In situations like this I sometimes used a controversial child training tool – the Bible. I would have the kids copy a passage of Scripture that applied to the problem.
“But if they have to copy Scripture won’t it make them hate the Bible?”
To be honest, I didn’t know for sure. But I can tell you today that Joel loves, studies and teaches the Word and I’ve even heard him quote passages that he memorized while writing them out 10 or 15 times.
I do think that done incorrectly it could cause resentment.
So here’s how I used it and I think this is why it worked for us.
- I didn’t see it as punishment. I genuinely believed it would help them (and it did).
“This will help you Joel. One reason David, the boy who courageously killed the giant, was so successful is that he memorized God’s Word. And an easy way to memorize it is to write it out several times. David said, ‘I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.’ David memorized Scripture and when he obeyed it it helped him stay out of trouble. If it worked for him, it’ll work for you, too. Psalm 119:11
- I explained why we were using Scripture.
“I know you want to please God in your life and He gave us the Bible to show us how to do that. The Bible says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
- The assignments were short – usually 5-10 copies of a short Proverb.
“David had a secret that he shared with us. He asked how a young guy like you can stay out of trouble and do right and then he answered his own question. He said, ‘How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.’” Psalm 119:9
“This will only take a few minutes but if you get God’s Word in your heart it will be there for your whole life as a sword to defeat the devil.” Ephesians 6:17
Did they appreciate having to sit still for 15-20 minutes to repeatedly copy a Bible verse? Of course not. But I believe they did understand that Dad was for them, God was for them and that God’s Word had very practical application for our daily struggles. Why not give it a try the next time your kids are struggling with a Biblical character issue?