Friday, January 9, 2009

Evolution of Scripture Study

Flashback Friday
Family scripture study over the years

I'll get back to more "evolution of family night," but even before I started that post I was thinking of how our family scripture study has changed over the years.
When I was a teenager, my parents decided it was time for us to study the scriptures as a family, and they chose to start by reading the Gospel Principles manual together. I think we did a section at a time, looking up all the scriptures it contained. Imagine introducing a nightly study session with five teenagers and a baby, plus a couple of Primary age kids! Your imaginations are probably quite accurate :)
(I was the oldest, Holly the youngest, and there were six others in between.)
However, my parents persevered with obeying this commandment from the prophet, and we all survived and even learned something!
(There we are during one of my college breaks - all alive and well!)
Once I had my own little family, I was all ready to continue the tradition of daily family scripture study. Because of my experience as a teenager, I was determined to start when my own children were young. I discovered that it's not quite that simple and easy. It takes a lot of work, and both parents have to be on board. When we had little kids, I had a husband who was over-whelmed with working full-time, going to school part-time, and serving as Young Men's President. While he thought it would be nice to have family scripture study, he didn't see how there would be any time for it. The boys weren't even old enough to read anyway. Studying the scriptures at Family Home Evening along with daily family prayer would have to be enough.

So, I decided to try having it on my own, using the picture readers published by the Church. Each night we'd gather on the couch and try reading a chapter together. The operative word is try. Here's what the boys would rather be doing:One night in particular that I remember, the baby was already asleep, and half-way through our chapter, the toddler wandered off. I decided that it was better to finish reading with the older boys than to go chase him and make him stay, so we continued reading. A few minutes later I heard a huge crash from the other room. Apparently, Brad wanted a closer look at this poster which had just been framed and was propped on my dresser waiting to be hung. Somehow he tried climbing up and in the process everything on top of the dresser landed on him. (Fortunately, he was fine, but the poster had to be re-framed.)I finally got the message that family scripture study is a priesthood responsibility and I should quit worrying about it. (Maybe that's not true doctrine, but it certainly made my life less stressful.) We still read scripture stories together, but it was more one-on-one as part of the bedtime routine.

A couple of years went by, and Dad's heart was touched. (I think it helped that he was released as YM Pres and completed his MBA!) He decided it was time to start daily family scripture study. After a family vote (Book of Mormon or Bible), we pulled out Genesis, and started at the beginning.
We figured the best time to capture the boys' attention was at the start of the day. After gathering around the table and having family prayer, Dad would read while the boys ate breakfast. It worked! (At least it worked until we moved, but that's a story for another day.)
I hope family scripture study has made a difference in these young men's lives. I certainly appreciate the lessons I've learned over the years, both from the process of trying to keep this commandment and the actual discussions of gospel topics found in the scriptures. Remember it really is easier to start this habit when your kids are young. Remember also that fathers are to preside over their families - to make sure they're receiving all the temporal and spiritual protection that they need. Of course, it will be different for each individual family, and that's why it's so wonderful that we can receive guidance directly from our Heavenly Father to help us.


Meg said...

Thanks for sharing this! I can tell you that I know your hard work has influenced Weston. Our scripture study is one of the highlights of our day. He is so diligent about reading together everyday. Thank you so much for teaching him to value the scriptures. :)

Rachel said...

Becky- it's been fun to catch up with your family on your blog. I think you are right, Wayne could probably come to watch football with the family. We actually have a funny story about Weston at a Vegas Bowl a couple years back- and he doesn't even know it. I see your boys on campus every so often, but I haven't scared them yet by knowing who they are when they have no clue who I am. Maybe someday :)