Gather Together

Gather Together

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold, there will I be in the midst of them.”

D&C 6:32

All subjects can be divided into skill-based or content-based. Skill-based subjects are based on knowledge and skills acquired line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept. These subjects are based on individual growth and don’t usually benefit from learning in a group setting. These include math, reading, spelling, and even drawing. Content-based subjects lend themselves better to discussion and group-projects. Most subjects need a little of both: personal reading and contemplation, supplemented with regular discussion with friends and family. 

Family Gather 

Every morning my family gathers together at the table to cultivate beauty and discover truth. In Doctrine & Covenants the Lord instructed that we “…should gather together, and stand in holy places;” (101:22) and he also promised that when we gather in His name, He will be there in the midst of us. (6:32). 

I started gathering my family together when my oldest was four years old. It started small and simple: with a scripture, song, and poem. It has slowly grown to include more subjects, like Spanish, art, and music appreciation. 

Gathering together as a family can happen anytime during the day; it can include as few as or as many subjects as you want and it can be any length of time that fits the needs of your family. Just make it a priority to do some meaningful learning together every day.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you gather your family together:

Keep it Simple

Keep subjects between 5-10 minutes for young children, and increase with age. Resist the urge to sermonize or over-explain, especially the scriptures. Your job is to provide the “feast” of ideas, it’s the Spirit’s job to teach. You do not need to supplement the scriptures with worksheets, coloring pages, or games. These take precious time away from your spiritual preparation and can detract from the simple truths being taught. Kids benefit from free, wholesome, and open-ended learning; like drawing their own picture of the story, acting it out, or a simple object lesson with things you have around the house.

Engage the Heart and Mind

This is a time for the whole soul to be fed on a daily basis. Incorporate subjects that develop the moral imagination and can be enjoyed by all ages: art, music, nature study, and poetry. You do not have to do every subject every day, however; music and art appreciation, Shakespeare, and nature study only need to be studied one day a week.

Create Ritual

Family relationships are held together by the “glue” of ritual. Rituals are more than routines; they have a spiritual and emotional significance that bind us together. Lighting candles, cuddling on the couch with a read-aloud, drinking hot chocolate, or reciting a family cheer are all ways to start or end your Gather time.

Learn by Heart

Recite scriptures and poetry when you gather. Learn by heart phrases that will change how you think and who you are. Younger children are encouraged by watching their parents and older siblings recite, and the phrases we have learned as a family have been used regularly to uplift, comfort and guide each other.

Home-Centered, Community-Supported

As my children have matured we’ve extended this concept to home-centered, community-supported learning by creating a group of families that gather together weekly. During this time children nurture friendships through unstructured play and book discussions, but you can add other subjects like Shakespeare and music.

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