My kids are in Awana and have been for years. One of the great benefits of the Awana clubs, I believe, is that it encourages kids to memorize scripture. My kids seem to have a penchant for memorizing, and I have been amazed over the years to watch them inscribe the Word of God on their hearts. Indeed, much of the scripture I now have memorized has come through helping them with the Awana verses each week. As summer approaches, unfortunately Awana takes a break. On top of that school is out, and my kids have a tendency to walk away from things like memorization and learning not because they do not like it but because the opportunities are not readily available. So, each summer we try something to keep their minds working. Last year we focused grammar and sentence rules though we did peter out a little as the summer went on. This year, I am going to join them, and we are going to focus on exercising the memory muscle of our brains through the use of a Catechism.
For years now, I have been fascinated with the idea of Catechisms and how to incorporate them into the spiritual life of me and me kids. After years of thinking about it, this summer I am going to bite the bullet and work through the New City Catechism with my kids, and I’m inviting you to join us! Catechisms have been used by Christians for centuries to memorize and write on their hearts the truth of scripture and doctrine. A Catechism is a series of questions for which prescribed answers are memorized and recited back in response to the question. The New City Catechism is a series of 52 questions. You can find out more about the origin and use of the New City Catechism at http://www.newcitycatechism.com/intro.php. The beauty of the New City Catechism as opposed to other catechisms is:
- I trust the source of the catechism and that it is doctrinally sound.
- It is available as an iPad app (search for it in the app store). My kids love the iPad and just the fact that is available on that device will make it a little more enticing to them.
- It is also available online in a browser and as a printable pdf file if you are not an Apple person.
- You can track your own progress. Some of my kids are list kids. The fact that they can track their own progress is a definite plus.
- It offers both a “child” and “adult” option. We will be memorizing the same thing (though mine will be more in depth and harder – ironically, my kids have the better memories).
- It can be used by one person, but it is perfect for a family to learn separately then come together and discuss.
- The child version on the iPad offers songs and other options to help the kids and more in depth study for the adults.
- It’s shorter than most other Catechisms.
Here’s our plan. Summer is approximately 13 weeks. 52 divided by 13 is 4. So, we will learn the answers to four questions a week. One day each week, we will get together for 15-20 minutes to work through those four questions and quiz each other on all the questions we have learned to that point. In case you’re interested, there will be four of us participating (each with differing levels of excitement about the process):
- Me, I’m 41 with four kids, and I tell people that my memory is inversely proportionate to the number of my kids.
- Jacob, my 13 year old son. He’s a bit reluctant to “give up part of his summer,” but he likes a good challenge.
- Lyndsey, my 11 year old daughter. She’ll be gung ho about this. She has the most amazing memory I’ve ever come across (she memorized the number Pi to 70+ decimal places to win a contest at school)
- Nathan, my 6 year old son. We talked about it last night, and he seems really interested.
The plan may be optimistic, but my plan is to aim high, pray about it and give my kids the gifts of high, but attainable, expectation. I am a little worried about me though. We would love it if you and/or your family would join us for this endeavor. Let’s learn about God together. Leave a comment below if your interested. I haven’t worked out all of the details of what it will look like, but we’ll figure out some way to encourage and cheer on one another. We are officially starting the week of June 2, but feel free to get a head start! So whether your single, a married couple, a whole family or a teenager who is interested in doing this by yourself, leave a comment below to let us know you will be joining us for a Summer of Catechism.