HOW WISE GUYS BEGAN
by Bettye Ledbetter
In 1987 we held a Teacher's and Worker's conference and someone was needed to take care of the 20 or more children of our T & W. I volunteered. On the last day of the conference I took the children into the auditorium, mainly killing time until the conference was over. “Who can quote your memory verse from last Sunday.?” No hands were raised. “Well, can anyone quote a memory verse – any memory verse?” A little boy named Daniel quoted Proverbs 1:10 “My son, if sinners entice thee consent thou not!” What a great verse, Daniel. I noticed how Daniel's eyes sparkled and his countenance lit up. Daniel quoted 4 verses from Proverbs that night with the same results
On the way home I told Don about Daniel and expressed the need for the wisdom of Proverbs to be taught to our children. His comment was, “If you are going to do it, make it special, get them shirts - since they will be memorizing Proverbs why don't you call them WiseGuys.”
That was the beginning of the WGs program. The character qualities came as needs arose in the children's lives. First, if we want to be wise, HOW are we wise? We are wise when we ‘Hear and Obey God's Word!” I obey, then I understand! Understanding ‘Comes When I Obey'; How do I show that I trust God? Trust is ‘Placing My Life in God's Hands'. Humility was needed when the kiddos were all trying to be first in line. Humility is: “Letting you go first.” What do I do need when the crowd tries to get me to do something wrong? I need courage to say “NO”! Courage is: “Saying ‘NO' when the crowd says ‘Yes'.”
In order for these character qualities and scriptures to become real to the children, they needed an example of someone who obeyed the scripture that they memorized. That's how the Tommy Story began. Situations come into Tommy's life that give him an opportunity to put into practice the verse and character quality that is taught each month. This lets the children know that scriptures are to be obeyed in their daily lives.
Many do not know that the visualized verse was Ms. Kay's idea. She started the visualized verse with her WG class while they were at Leon Valley Baptist in San Antonio . The visualized verse is a great addition to the program, especially for visual learners.
Also, Celebration Week was Ms. Kay's idea. The thought is – the more the kiddos quote the verses, the deeper into their memory. This is also a great addition to the program. We must always remember that we ‘‘memorize, forget, memorize, forget, memorize, KEEP.''…Bro. Ron Hood, scripture memory expert.
Gordy, the puppet, became part of the program when I heard one of the kiddos say that he didn't think he could memorize. Gordy was called Gordy Goofus at school and he heard that WGs would make him wise! However, Gordy didn't really think he could memorize. His self-confidence was pretty low. The kiddos loved to watch Gordy grow as he learned to memorize.
As in any ministry with children, so much depends on the commitment of parents and their belief that scripture memory is needed. God has promised that His word will not return void and that is the promise that we cling to. The battle for the minds of our children is greater than ever. May God bless this year of the WGs Scripture Memory Program and may the good Lord bless all of the faithful, dedicated, committed Teachers and Workers!