Devotional Project

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together."
-- Vincent Van Gogh

With school starting again, you may be like me thinking about the kinds of patterns you want to have in your home and trying to manage the chaos of many schedules.

I've written before about our morning devotional  and why and how it came to be in our home.  But since that time (February 2009) our children have grown and we've even moved to a new state!  Needless to say, things have changed in the past 2 years.

As parents we know that character development is as essential as anything else our kids learn at school.  But they don't teach as much about character at school as they used to.  Our morning devotional lasts about 5 minutes-it's something we do while we eat breakfast.  {Little} as that may be, I have seen it make a big difference over the years.   

It's amazing how meaningful a few minutes can be.

If this sounds like a {Little Project} you might like to do in your home, 
I'll share some ideas that have worked in ours:

I clip pictures from this magazine and this magazine and put them in sheet protectors.  The pictures are religious in nature, or about ideas I think would be good for us to think about, or about making choices.  I use three ring clips to hold them together because a binder was too big and I wanted to just see one picture at a time.  This sits on a small stand in our dining room.

Each morning we talk about a picture.  I don't prepare this ahead of time.  I simply ask questions like, who is in the picture, what they are doing, what can we do to be like them, etc.  The kids usually kind of take over telling me about it and what they see.  It always amazes me what they see.  Sometimes I feel like they are teaching me!  

We have done this for over a year.  I rotate the pictures over time but have found that it can be fun to go through them again.  After time has passed the kids can go more in depth as they get older and have new things to say about them.  We went through the picture packet we used in the past about 5 times before we started this new system of pictures.

Another idea is to use a photo holder to put scriptures in:

This "scripture album" is also in our dining room.  We say and try to memorize a scripture each week.  For little ones I say a line and they repeat it to me and we move through the verse like that.  The reading kids can try not to look at it as the week goes by.  

I am continually amazed at what little children can remember and learn.  They are little sponges, which is why developing their character from the time they are tiny is so important.  I remind myself that they are absorbing everything.  My hope in our morning devotional is that they will absorb goodness.

"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise."
-- Alma  
Alma 37:6

One last thing that we have been doing for about the past 6 months is our prayer "list."  

This is a place where we can write down things that are meaningful to them and our family that we want to remember in our prayers.  I got a little dry-erase board from the dollar store for this.  

This prayer list has been really great for helping our kids to learn to pray and give meaningful and heartfelt prayers.  It has also helped us teach them about the world and what is going on in the world--like praying for the people who are affected by the hurricane or recent tsunami. 

 It has also helped them look outside themselves and care for others.  We also keep this in our dining room and the kids can refer to it when we say meal-time prayers.

In our home, the dining room is a gathering place for meals, but also a place we walk throughout the day.  So even though we only spend a few minutes talking about these things the kids see them throughout the day.  I have seen these {little} things make a big difference in our home.

"Small events and choices determine the direction of our lives just as small helms determine the directions of great ships."
-- M. Russell Ballard

Whatever your morning routine, make the {little} things count :)


Emily said...

I love all of these ideas. they reaaly are small things that make such a huge difference.

Stephanie Hardin said...

Thanks for these ideas. I have been wanting to improve our morning scripture time and this is just what I needed!

Mimi said...

Jedda, I found your blog this morning. You are amazing! Such great ideas! I can't wait to keep reading.

Stephie said...

Jedda, still checking out your blog from Bton! Love this post, agree small things that can make a big difference. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas. Is it okay that I linked to this post? I had to share!

Jenna said...

I am loving all your ideas--I want to be like you when I grow up! Question about the scriptures. I've been wanting to do this and now I think I finally will--do you work on the memorization during dinner then? Or throughout the day?

Jedda said...

@ Jenna
We keep it simple. We do our devotional during a meal. Usually that's breakfast, but if it's rushed we go for lunch. And if nothing else, there's always dinner! Sometimes we say the scripture at more than one meal. The more repetitions, the better, obviously. One time I wrote the scripture really big on a chalk board next to the table and the kids loved it! So switching it up can be fun, and you don't have to feel inconsistent for not doing it exactly the same everyday. That's life :)
Have fun!

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