What Do You Work Hard to Memorize?

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Growing up in a Jewish home, he memorized everything he needed to for his Bar Mitzvah. It's something you pick up when you're exposed to it week after week after week. Similarly, he never sat down to memorize Scripture. He just read it enough that he learned it by heart. Today, God uses his excellent memory, Jewish heritage, and knowledge of Scripture to share fascinating insights that bridge the Old and New Testament. The fact that he never worked to memorize Scripture impressed me.

I grew up doing Awana. Memorizing Scripture took work! I was up to the challenge, but it certainly wasn't easy. What was easy was memorizing lines from Adventures in Odyssey. Or Star Wars. Or just about anything funny (except the brilliant excerpt from Alice in Wonderland about mustard, which took me three days to learn).

One of my personal ideas is that we tend to memorize what we need to. I've memorized the image heights we use for our homeschool curriculum web product shots. I looked it up a few times, wrote it on a reference sheet, and after a couple years only need to reference it if I've had a particularly long day and my brain is no longer braining. I also know how to get to work, how to tie my shoes, and even how to run the washing machine. I struggle to remember people's names unless I've spent, like, years hanging out with them. I find I'm still not good at remembering Bible references, so I adopted Scripture's method of saying, "He has said somewhere..."

Yes, I also memorized some of Pi

Every so often Catherine Johnson writes about memorization in learning. I find such posts fascinating. And I certainly don't know enough to be able to come to any great pedagogical principles or suggestions from all this. But I continue to find that I tend to remember stuff that's important and lose the rest. That's because of the "use it or lose it" nature of our brains. That's why, today, I can't recall the angle of the tilt of the earth--it's somewhere around 23.4 to 23.5°--but I can explain the difference between interlaced and progressive video formats.

How about you? What do you have to work hard to memorize? Have your kids impressed you with the things they just seem to soak up?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

"Oh, I know!" exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark, "it's a vegetable. It doesn't look like one, but it is."

"I quite agree with you," said the Duchess; "and the moral of that is--'Be what you would seem to be'--or if you'd like it put more simply--'Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'"

...which reminds me of one of the most complex sentences I've read in a while from one of today's Other Posts of Note: "Now, I'm not talking about the dubious apologetic claim about 'different kinds of knowing'; I'm referring to 'different kinds of questions' which we answer in the most practical ways we can considering the intractability of epistemological indeterminacy." I found all of Steve's thoughts on the science/religion rift to be very interesting. And not all of them made me wish I had memorized more of the dictionary. <smile>

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