Dateline: 8 April 2015
|Jerry Lucas, back in the day.|
I’ve discussed the importance of the 10 Commandments in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Now I’m going to share with you a fun way to remember the 10 Commandments, starting with the 9th.
The memory technique I am using here started with a book my Aunt Jean gave me back when I was in 11th grade (1975). The book was titled, Remember The Word, and it was written by Jerry Lucas, the famous basketball player.
Remember the Word was a book about learning to memorize verses and passages of the Bible. I lost track of the book over the years, and I never did use the memory techniques in it to learn any Bible verses. But I did spend quite a bit of time learning and practicing a technique for memorizing numbers. 40 years later, I still use the technique when I need to commit a number to memory.
Without going into detail, I'll just say that the number-memorization technique assigned phonetic sounds and letters to each number from 0 to 9. Then, to remember a long number, you translated the number into a word picture, or several word pictures, as needed (Click Here to learn the technique).
As a simple example, I once wanted to memorize the last 4 digits of the phone number for my friends, Ken and Mary P. The number was 3169. I memorized that number back around 1980, and still remember it (even though I have rarely needed to use it) because I had such a good word picture “burned” into my brain for it. My word picture for that number is “mitt shop.”
In my mind, when I want to remember that number, I get an image of going into Ken and Mary’s house. When I walk in the door, the room is piled high with mittens. Mittens are everywhere, and there are Ken and Mary with mittens on their hands waving at me. It is a ridiculous picture, but our minds remember ridiculous pictures.
In this short YouTube clip Jerry Lucas explains why the memory technique of using images works so well, and he shows an image he uses in his teaching materials for helping children remember the capital of the state of Arkansas (by the way, if you have an interest in learning memory techniques, or in teaching them to your children, there are some excellent YouTube videos on the subject).
The best word pictures to use for memorizing (numbers or anything else) are kind of silly and, better yet, they involve some action. Our minds tend to remember the absurd pretty easily. And coming up with absurd word pictures is an imaginative exercise that can be a lot of fun.
When it came to developing word pictures for the 10 Commandments I needed images that would bring to mind the Commandment number along with a phrase that would bring to mind the essence of the commandment. Some familiarity with the 10 Commandments is needed to begin with, and the word picture phrase serves as a prompt to bring your mind to the actual Commandment.
All of this will make more sense as I walk you through the images I have put together—first in my mind, then in the following drawings—for remembering the 9th Commandment (click on the images to see larger views)…
We begin with the nine tree (below). Have you ever seen a nine tree? probably not. It is an absurd looking tree. Sort of like what you might find in a Dr. Suess book, eh? But it is certainly a memorable tree. When you want to recall the 9th Commandment, the nine tree should come to mind first...
In the crook of the nine tree is a bird’s nest (with bird)...
Into this picture of natural serenity and beauty enters a bear. The bear sees the nest in the crook of the nine tree...
The bear decides he wants that nest. So he climbs way up the nine tree to get it...
After he gets the nest , the bear slips and falls...
Yes, it’s a sad story, but it’s just a story. The important thing is to remember the bear, climbing the tree, and falling with the nest.
Upon remembering this, you will recall the key phrase, Bear Falls With Nest. And that phrase sounds so much like "Bear false witness" that it will prompt your brain to recall that the 9th Commandment is: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
What does it mean to not bear false witness? Click Here to read a good discussion of the subject.
In my next (and final) part in this series, I will share with you the word pictures I came up with to remember the other nine Commandments.
Click Here to go to Part 4 of this series.