All they Needed was the Proper Motivation!

Last week was Ryan’s birthday (which also happens to be Epiphany).  I had made a cake according to his specifications, which everyone was excited about eating.

As last week was Epiphany, we also had one last Christmas themed day in school.  We read The Visit of the Wise Men, as well as the story of the Magi from Matthew 2, listened to three different Epiphany hymns, and made a star craft to help us remember that God put the star in the sky to tell all people (even Gentiles like the wise men) about the birth of His Son.

I had chosen Matthew 2:11 as our memory verse for the week, as well.

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Our regular schedule for Bible verses goes something like this:  On Monday and Tuesday, Turkey and Bunny repeat the verse after me, phrase by phrase.  On Wednesday and Thursday, they say it with me, usually needing some prompting.  On Friday, they say it on their own.  This is how we’ve been doing memory work since school started in September, and it’s been working pretty well.  There have been a few longer verses that required a little coaching from me come Friday, but mostly they have no trouble memorizing a verse in a week’s time.

I assumed that this might be a challenge last week, though, as this was our longest verse to date, and included a few long words, and a few new words, as well.  I was fully prepared to need to help them on Friday, and I was totally OK with that, since this was such a challenge.

So, rewind to Epiphany itself (again, also Ryan’s birthday).  Since it was only Tuesday, we were still at the repeat after me stage, and as far as I could tell, they weren’t really memorizing it yet at all.  So, Tuesday night, we enjoyed some birthday cake (big hit with everyone!), and ran out to WalMart.  Just before I hopped out of the car to run into the store, Turkey says, “Mommy, we should say our Bible verse for Daddy, so he can hear it.”  Well, as I was about to get out of the car, and, quite honestly, hadn’t memorized it myself yet, I decided to throw an impossible challenge their way.  “If you can say the whole verse by yourself, you can have another piece of cake when we get home.”

I’m sure you can see where this is going.  I get back in the car a few minutes later, and Ryan tells Turkey and Bunny to tell me what they told him.  And, without any help at all, they said the whole verse, with very little hesitation.  So, my not-so-impossible challenge ended with them having a second piece of birthday cake before bed (I can’t believe they even went to sleep after that!), and I learned an important lesson–never underestimate a child’s ability for recall when cake is involved.

I’ll have to tuck this information away for a time I get truly desperate for them to learn something!

*Please note that this is mostly tongue-in-cheek (even though it’s a true story)…I don’t plan on bribing my children in the future, even though it’s tempting!

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