I knew as soon as the conference talk was given that the word “ponderize”, which means to ponder and memorize scriptures, would become a huge movement for church members. I have already been invited to join a Facebook Ponderizing group and I have seen and heard family and friends eagerly open up their scriptures to ponder and memorize. This simple little made-up word has sparked a fire in scripture study!
I have been thinking of different ways that I can share this excitement with my family. I have a daughter who will be baptized this month and it is important for me to teach her how to learn to apply and understand scriptures. I came up with a list of 10 different ways that we could use this principle of ponderizing with our children and family… because learning scriptures can be for EVERYONE! You can pick one of these ideas or combine different ideas to come up with a unique way to study the scriptures with your family.
The Ponderizing Pail
This would be a fun way to include all your family members in the Ponderizing process. During your next family home evening, have each member of your family write 3 (or more) of their favorite scripture verses on slips of paper. I do want to make a quick note here that quotes from modern day prophets and apostles would make great ponderizing material, too! Fold up each slip of paper and place them in your ponderizing pail. Explain to your family that each week somebody will get to pick a paper from the pail. The scripture on that paper will be the one your family will ponderize for that week. At this time you will need to explain to your kiddos what the word ponderizing means. It might be kinda fun to have them predict the definition.
Have the youngest child choose a paper from the pail. Read the verse together as a family. Have the person who wrote that scripture explain why they picked it. Then place the scripture somewhere that everyone will see it. Throughout the week, make references to that scripture. Use specific sentence prompts such as “This scripture helped me today by...”, “I applied this scripture today by…”, or “As I was thinking about the scripture, I felt that I needed to…” It may seem silly or awkward to use prompts, but I promise you that it will teach your kids how to verbally express their feelings about the scriptures. You will be their scripture comprehension role model! At the end of the week, during your next family home evening, have a little testimony meeting allowing kids and parents to share their experiences with the scripture of the week. Then repeat the process!
The Ponderizing Picture Frame
Choose a scripture to ponderize with your family. You may want to use the Ponderizing Pail method. It might be more beneficial for your family to take a few minutes at the beginning of your family home evenings to pray and search the scriptures together to find the verse(s) that speak to your hearts. You could even designate one person each week to choose the scripture you will be ponderizing. After choosing your scripture, write or print the verse. Place the verse in a special picture frame located somewhere your whole family can see it on a regular basis. There are SO many cute picture frames you could buy for this activity. You may decide that instead of doing just one verse as a family, you each want to choose your own. If that is the case, how fun would it be to get picture frames from the dollar store for each family member and paint and/or decorate them. This would be a great way to get kids excited about their scriptures!
Ponderizing Journal Blank Template
You may decide that you want your kids to keep a journal of their weekly scripture. I love journals! For younger kids, it may help them to have a template to organize their scripture study. If you choose to go this route, click on the link to download the ponderizing scripture template.
At the top of the page either write or paste a copy of the scripture. Throughout the week kids can draw pictures of what the verse means to them. Older kids can write their thoughts and feelings on the verse. Maybe your child had a great experience where the scripture helped them to make a good choice. That would be a great thing to record. Place the journal pages in either a family or individual binders or journals.
The Ponderizing Family Notebook
If your kiddos are older, you may decide that you don’t need templates. A fun way to get family members engaged in a scripture is to make a ponderizing family notebook. The scripture is written or pasted at the top of a blank notebook page. Throughout the week, family members can record their thoughts, feelings, even questions underneath the scripture.
The benefit of this is that there is only one notebook, so everyone can see and learn from each other. You can answer each others questions or place a smiley face next to thoughts that you enjoyed reading. This is another great way to model for younger kids how to start thinking about the scriptures. And it will be a great way for those family members who may by shy to communicate their feelings.
A New Twist on a Popular Memorizing Method
A few months ago I came across a great way to memorize scriptures at Simple Charlotte Mason. I love it! I love that you only work on one new scripture to memorize at a time, and I love the review of past scriptures. It is amazing!!!
I was thinking about how I could take this great memorizing system and apply it to ponderizing. Since it just focuses on memorizing, take it to a deeper and more meaningful level by writing thoughts, feelings, and experiences on the back of the index card. That way you are not only focused on memorizing the scripture, but you also have a place to record your ponderings. As you review past scriptures, take the time to read and reread the back of the card. We can so quickly forget what we have learned!
Ponderizing Podcasts, Videos, & Puppetshows
Maybe you have a child who doesn’t like writing (haha I know NOTHING about what that is like!) For those audio/visual learners try recording a podcast or video of your family scripture of the week! During your next family home evening, choose a scripture (either with the ponderizing pail or through searching and choosing together as a family). Record your family reading the verse. To help your children memorize the verse, you may decide to have them make up “scripture cheers” or take familiar tunes and “sing the scripture”. Once the verse is memorized, record them either saying it or performing it! At the end of the week, record each family member sharing their thoughts, promptings, experiences, etc. with the verse. If kiddos are shy or want to try a different method of sharing, have them use puppets to express their learning. Puppets would also be a great way to verbally model how we “think” while reading the scriptures.
Have a technologically minded family member take the different recordings and put them together into one video. It may take longer to use this method, but what a priceless way to remember your family during this stage… this is a wonderful future family history gem! And those visual learners will love watching and rewatching (and therefore helping them to remember) these scripture videos.
If all of this video editing sounds too complicated, just record the family reciting the verse and maybe one thought or insight they learned. You can quickly send that video clip to other family and friends who are ponderizing, too.
Color the Verse
This is a simple way to get young kiddos involved in the ponderizing process. Type the verse using a block font such as KG Red Hand or KG Let Her Go. Print the verse and let your child color it! If you have multiple little ones, I would make sure to print enough so everybody has their own. Place the beautifully colored verse somewhere the whole family can view and admire. Your young children will feel involved and included!
So this idea may seem over the top. But some of us like to do crazy things. I was thinking about how many times I do my best pondering on my pillow right before I go to bed and when I wake up in the morning. I thought it would be fun to take an old pillowcase and, using a fabric marker, write the scripture reference for the weekly scripture. Older children may enjoy writing the reference themselves. Right before you lay your head down on your pillow, read the reference. See if you have the scripture memorized. Think about what the scripture means to you. Set goals for the following day based on the verse. Fall asleep each night pondering the scripture. Every week add a new scripture reference and before long you will have a pillowcase full of verses and a wonderful new habit.
Ponderizing on the Whiteboard (or Chalkboard)
During family home evening, have family members choose a scripture to ponderize together using the Ponderizing Pail or through scripture searching together. Write the reference and complete verse on a whiteboard or chalkboard in the kitchen or another area of the home where everyone will see it regularly. Every day, erase one or more words. See if your children can still say the scripture. By the end of the week it should be memorized. To help encourage pondering of the scripture, if room permits leave space at the bottom of the board for people to write thoughts, feelings, experiences, questions, and insights about the scripture. If there is no room on the board, use colorful post it notes to place around it. That way there is plenty of space for everyone’s responses!
Ponderizing Popcorn & Pajama Party
My daughter LOVES having family sleepovers. They are probably one of her favorite things. Once a week (or month, or year…), preferably on a Friday or Saturday night, have a special popcorn & pajama ponderizing party in your living room. Set out sleeping bags and blankets. Sit in a circle and share scripture verses that you have learned together while eating popcorn and treats. Then hold a special testimony meeting where each family member can share experiences they have had that have strengthened their relationship with Christ. Encourage them to share their testimony of the scriptures. End the night with family prayer and a family sleepover.
A great twist on this activity would be to hold the pajama party outside. Set up a tent in the backyard. A fire pit would be a great place to sit around to make yummy s’mores and share testimonies and feelings about the scriptures (girls camp anyone?). We always need s’more scripture sharing time!
I hope these ideas will help you as you ponderize the scriptures with your family. I think one of the most important things that you can do throughout the process is to share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences, and insights with your family as much as possible. Don’t worry if it seems awkward or not eloquent- that’s not what is important. The spirit and example you are teaching your children is priceless. If you are afraid you might forget throughout your already busy and hectic day- set a timer on your phone, change carpool time to ponderizing time, or have your children remind you. If you are passionate about ponderizing, you will make it a priority.
I am so grateful for the scriptures and the guidance they have given me. I am excited to share this joy with my family!