When Caroline was 16 months old, for our New Year's resolution as a family, we decided to do better about studying the scriptures as a family. Because she was so small, we opted to read out of the illustrated scripture stories (New Testament, Old Testament, Book of Mormon & Doctrine & Covenants) that our Church produces. It went well and Caroline always enjoyed sitting on Daddy's lap looking at the pictures and listening to the stories.
Last year, at a little over 2 years old, we decided she was big enough to "read" with us. We'd read a verse, a word at a time, and she would repeat each word. The most fun was when she figured out that the ending of "And it came..." was "...to pass". She'd get so that she could do the whole phrase by herself if we started her out. We started the Book of Mormon last year with this new goal and I have to say, the going has been slow. We read a column out of the book each night, which usually wasn't too many verses, but seemed just about right for a wiggly toddler.
So here we are in 2009. For those of you who are familiar, we just reached Omni. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, we're not that far into the book. At all. But we continue to perservere. And it's all worth it when my 17 month old wants to hand out the books every night and insists on having his own so he can follow along (he likes to look at the pictures.) And then to have my 3 year old want to make sure she's in exactly the right place (even though she can't read yet and is still repeating the verses after us) is priceless! I also LOVE it when Caroline asks "What does that mean?" It has presented us with some choice teaching moments as parents to teach gospel principles and explain things from the scriptures so that even a child can understand. And, Caroline hasn't graduated from looking at the pictures either - so after each scripture study session, we spend a few minutes looking at and discussing pictures. She can tell you who Samuel the Lamanite is and how and why Heavenly Father protected him from the rocks and arrows being thrown at him. She can identify Nephi, Moroni and Alma and tell you the stories associated with the beautiful illustrations in the front of the book. And she loves to look at the picture of Lehi & his family on their boat on the way to the Promised Land, though sometimes she insists it's Noah, which is okay with me because that tells me she understands that story, too.
(Notice Clayton in the background. He had been sitting on Jake's back, "reading" but decided to move just as I snapped the picture.)
How grateful I am for the scriptures and their daily application to our lives now. They may have been written a long time ago, but it is obvious that the Lord had our modern struggles in mind when he inspired those prophets to write the things in their hearts and to record the struggles of their people. And how thankful I am for the guidance they give me as a parent in these definitely challenging times! I pray my children will continue to have the love for the scriptures that is starting to grow in their hearts and that studying will help them to know of the reality and divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ.