We all have them in our club. The children who prepare at home and come with verses memorized, work complete and ready to pass the requirements. Then there are those who find the book right before club and begin studying once handbook time begins.
A common criticism of Awana is that children only memorize the verse long enough to get it signed off, then they quickly forget it. This is true in some cases, but there is a way to try to get it deeper in the child.
When I know a child is just trying to cram the verse in and get it out before they forget, I have them do something to break that train of thought…
- Do 3 jumping jacks
- Count to 5, then backwards
- Count to 5 in Spanish
- Tell a quick knock-knock joke
- Anything to see if they know it.
Have fun when you do this and don’t be too serious about it. The most important thing to remember, is that you want them to know the verse, and not discourage them. So if they struggle, use one of the many memorization techniques available to help them learn the verse.
There may be some who will say it doesn’t matter if it is short term memory as long as they can say the verse. I will not debate that at this time, I just urge you to try to make sure that they know the verse. After all, Awana wants to “Get as much of God’s Word as deep as we can into the hearts of as many kids as we can”.
If you’re not trying to get the Word of God deep in their hearts, you just allow it to be a short term and shallow, then you are doing the child an injustice as you disciple them.