Monday, October 31, 2011


Memorizing is not very much in favor today among educators. “Rote learning” and other repetitious methods are thought to be less creative and stimulating than other forms of learning.

But oh how memorizing focuses the mind and trains the concentration!

And it can also be a form of gaining mental ownership of concepts and values.

Part of our family economy was a provision that if kids got 90 percent of their responsibilities done for the week (18 of their 20 possible “pegs” for the five day school week) they would get their money doubled. We wanted to reward consistency. The problem came when a conscientious child worked hard but forgot a couple of things and came up just short—say with 16 or 17 pegs. We felt like we needed a way for them to be able to make up the difference and get the bonus of a doubling of their earning.

So we began giving them a “bonus peg” for memorizing particular quotes or scriptures or sayings that we would find that tied in with and taught the value of the month. The idea turned out to be a huge hit. They could get up to two bonus pegs each week and there were two benefits: 1. It allowed a child to get “over the top” in his goal for 18 or more pegs, and 2. It implanted the month’s value more permanently in his mind.

Even today, we find our kids can remember the things they memorized 10 years or more ago and, more importantly, that those passages still influence their behavior and guide their values.

We live in a day where it is easy to find quotes or sayings we love that fit the value of the month. Just go on line and google a quote book for a value and pick the ones you like best and that are just difficult enough that they are harder than remembering to do the responsibility they forgot, but easy and fun enough that kids can really master them and remember them.

A few examples of some of our favorites (that served the purpose then and that our grown children still remember and use today) are:

For the month of Honesty:

Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
--William Shakespere

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an "Honest Man."
--George Washington

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