Assembly: How not to be compassionate

Assembly: How not to be compassionate

I’m aware that sometimes teachers/chaplains/youth workers stand up in front of young people and tell them all the things they should be doing. Today’s assembly was on compassion so I took the opportunity to be honest about how difficult doing the right thing can be. Rather than presenting myself as someone with all the answers I think it’s healthy to be upfront that even as someone employed by the church I find some of Jesus’ most basic commands about loving others and being non-judgmental incredibly difficult. What follows is a story about a recent trip to New York and some of the people I encountered there that formed the basis of a short school reflection… When I visited New York in January it felt like I spent most of my time on the Metro. You sure find some interesting characters on the underground – you never know who we’re walking past! Most of the time you try keep your head down and pretend they’re not there; all in the hope that you get to your destination without any bother. This was my experience in Manhattan. “I’m the New York Candy Man,” he bellowed. A young entrepreneur holding a box offering a selection of chocolate, Oreos and M&Ms explained eloquently that he was trying to help fund his studies.  No one flinched or looked up from their kindles and IPad’s. America has an incredibly expensive education system – this is how the Candy Man finds the money to pay his way through school. On another trip a man in a wheelchair shared his story about how his health bills caused him and his family to lose their house. A woman reached over offering...
Assembly: Life is

Assembly: Life is

Life is a journey filled with lessons, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations and special moments that will ultimately lead us to our destination, our purpose in life. The road will not always be smooth; in fact, throughout our travels, we will encounter many challenges. Some of these challenges will test our courage, strengths, weaknesses, and faith. Along the way, we may stumble upon obstacles that will come between the paths that we are destined to take. In order to follow the right path, we must overcome these obstacles. Sometimes these obstacles are really blessings in disguise, only we don’t realize that at the time. This is a short video reflection that we used for a recent high school assembly based on the poem by Mother Teresa Life is. “Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for...
Assembly: Compassion

Assembly: Compassion

Introductory Reflection Compassion – Click for Powerpoint Slides. Show these when the pupils begin to gather before the assembly. Video: Connor’s Story   Some thoughts To be compassionate we start with what we have to give where we are – in the video the wrestlers simply gave their time and their attention. Compassion isn’t about some outlandish or overly generous thing that we do – but it starts just by turning up. I thought what Connor’s story also showed is that often we can make the mistake of thinking that when we show compassion we’re giving something to someone else. But a lot of the time we receive something back that is far greater. I guess it’s easy to look around and thing about everything we don’t have. It can be hard keeping up sometimes…latest phone, the most fashionable clothes, or the latest must have item. But when we encounter something like Connor, when we show compassion we’re reminded of all that we do have. All the small stuff that’s all too easy to overlook. So as a school community, and individually what are our opportunities to show compassion? What are the situations that we can make a difference just by turning up? And what might we receive in return when we show...
Assembly: Perseverance

Assembly: Perseverance

Perseverance is the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult. Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” Sometimes it can be easy to look at others and think they have everything. We see their success – good grades at school, or a well-paid job, or what seems like the perfect life. But one of the only certainties in life is that we will all face obstacles and difficulties. We might lose someone close to us Things at home might be difficult It might be hard keeping up with school work Or maybe a relationship ends It’s not about how to avoid these but how we respond to them when they come our way. Will we let them defeat us or will we pick ourselves up and try again. I wanted to show you a quick video about perseverance but I also want to leave you with some questions to reflect upon. What helps you no to give up? Who helps you to keep going? How can you encourage others to keep trying? What’s the hardest thing about sticking at a task? http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/failfamous.mp4   The assembly might also work by including this idea...
Assembly/Reflection: Is peace possible?

Assembly/Reflection: Is peace possible?

We are in a unique position after the events of Remembrance. What filled our screens and facebook feeds over the past few days has quickly been replaced with the Christmas adverts for the major stores and shops. We’ve taken off our poppies and already we begin to look towards the excitement of Christmas. You might have seen this ad on TV recently – it portrays the ceasefire that took place between the troops on Christmas Eve 1914. http://www.childrenandyouth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Sainsburys-OFFICIAL-Christmas-2014-Ad.mp4 Is peace possible? The joy of the ceasefire is quickly replaced again with the noise of shells and warfare. However the relationships and bonds forged as soldiers lay down their weapons continued in the minds and hearts of those involved; forever changed no longer seeing the world in the black and white terms of friend or foe. War can rage on the outside and it can rage on the inside too but peace IS possible. Although it may only be momentary and brief. As we saw in the advert peace often involves one person stepping out, letting go of fear and embracing sacrifice. Could you be that person? What situations could you affect change in? What might peace look like in your own life? Are there fears that you need to let go of? Now go forth into this day – to live your hopes and not your fears, knowing you are held in holy hands by a love that will never let you...
Assembly: Can you get a straw through a potato?

Assembly: Can you get a straw through a potato?

Can you get a straw through a potato? This is a really simple but effective visual experiment that could form the basis of a good assembly looking at the important of being positive.   Ask for some volunteers and give them the challenge with the question “Is it possible to get the straw through the potato?” Begin by planting a seed of doubt in the mind of the students – will they give up when they think it’s impossible? At this stage you could reassure them that it is possible and maybe even offer a prize to those who manage it successfully. So, what is the point of ‘straw through potato’ 1. If you plant doubt, it can be self-fulfilling. By suggesting that it might not be possible, sure enough, some people conclude that it is impossible. But if you simply ask ‘how can it be done?’, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘how’. 2. Trial and error and testing things out will often lead to better solutions than lots of debate and discussion about what might work in theory.  It’s a hands-on solution; it’s physical. 3. Sometimes a direct approach is the best solution – just go for it. Do it. Believe that the straw will go through in one stabbing motion. 4. The satisfaction of that stabbing action, penetrating the potato, is quite addictive.  Try it.  You immediately want to do it again. Overcoming a difficulty and experiencing success is a great feeling – even if it is just stabbing a...
Remembrance Day Assembly Script

Remembrance Day Assembly Script

Remembrance Day Assembly Script Every year at the beginning of November, people begin to wear poppies. We all know that it’s something to do with remembering people who have died in wars, but sometimes it can feel that it doesn’t have much to do with us personally. But if you are one of the many people who have been affected by recent wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan you probably wish that other people knew more about the sacrifices that soldiers have made, and continue to make. The story of the poppy begins during the First World War, or, as it was more commonly known back then, The Great War. The Great War broke out a hundred years ago in July 1914. It seems hard to believe now, but there were celebrations in the streets and long queues of young men at army recruiting offices, eager to join up. They dreamed of heroism on the battlefields, winning medals to the glory of Great Britain and wanted to put the “upstart Germans” back in their place. It would all be over by Christmas, or so they thought. But this was war on a scale that had never been seen before. This was the first war to use aeroplanes, tanks and submarines; and machine guns, mortars and poison gas meant that thousands of people could be killed in minutes. In the face of such overwhelming destructive power, defense became increasingly important, so miles and miles of slimy trenches were dug across northern France and Belgium. Patriotic enthusiasm soon evaporated to be replaced by grim disillusionment. These poems help to...