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Literal Learning

June 16, 2006

Lately, my children and the children I work with at church have been a real source of laughter. My daughter has discovered a new soft drink she loves to have when eating out–“Mr. Pig,” more commonly known as Mr. Pibb. This reminds me of a song she learned at church–“Jesus’ Love is Sweet & Wonderful”. The lyrics go something like this:

Jesus’ love is sweet and wonderful,
Jesus’ love is sweet and wonderful,
Jesus’ love is sweet and wonderful,
Oh, oh wonderful love.

Higher than the mountains,
Deeper than the oceans,
Wider than the universe,
Oh, oh wonderful love.

When she first learned the song, His love was wider than the university, which I can attest is very accurate.

At church this week, a child was reciting John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, He gave His only forgotten son…”. I explained to her that Jesus is definitely not forgotten by His Father!

Children are so literal. Once, when singing “The B-I-B-L-E” our daughter said, “but Mommy, I thought we weren’t supposed to stand on books.” That was the only way she processed the line “I’ll stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E”. Our oldest son came to America eleven months ago from Ukraine. He is in elementary school and has learned a tremendous amount of English. Yet just this last week, when reading his Bible with his grandparents, he couldn’t understand that someone lying could mean reclining rather than being dishonest.

This should be a reminder to me as a mother and children’s worker to ensure that children don’t just memorize what I am saying. The goal should be understanding and internalizing. If a child memorizes Bible verses to earn prtend money and patches or can read enough words in a certain amount of time to pass a test at school, but has no understanding, what has been accomplished? In the case of Bible memorization, we can be confident that if retained, it will bear fruit as a child’s understanding increases. The problem is, without understanding, there is a much lesser chance of retention.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Diet Coke Mania permalink
    June 16, 2006 9:48 pm

    You are absolutelyl right! Another thing children hear but don’t understand is the idea of asking Jesus into their heart. I’m reminded of the child who was in the kitchen getting out a big knife. When stopped by her parents she simply explained that she was going to cut open her heart to let Jesus in.

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