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Who's telling the truth?

To consider the harm that can be caused by telling lies.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To consider the harm that can be caused by telling lies.

Preparation and Materials

  • Some cards for the ‘Call My Bluff’ game: one with the word ‘QUILLON’ printed on it; others with ‘TRUE’ and ‘BLUFF’.
  • Copies of this script for three colleagues to use during the game.

Assembly

  1. Begin with a taster of the quiz game ‘Call My Bluff’. Explain that three people will take it in turns to explain the meaning of an unusual word. One of the meanings is true but the other two are made up, or ‘bluff’. The audience must try to decide which of the given meanings are bluffs and to identify which one is true.

    Introduce the word ‘QUILLON’, and invite everyone to listen as three colleagues suggest possible meanings of the word.

    (a) You can eat a QUILLON. It’s a type of fruit that is very soft and sweet. It looks like a large, smooth strawberry. Because it is so soft, the fruit lasts for only a very short time and so QUILLON isn’t transported to this country. However, if you live somewhere like Hawaii you will have enjoyed the flavour of a QUILLON.

    (b) A QUILLON is part of a sword. Think how a sword is shaped. Just above the handle is a cross-guard to stop your hand being cut in a fight. What is the word used to describe each piece of the cross-guard? They are called QUILLONS. Sometimes wealthy people would decorate the QUILLONS of their sword with gemstones.

    (c) A QUILLON is the name for a Roman coin. Different kinds of coin were used by the Romans. Nowadays we count up our pence and pounds. If we were in ancient Rome, we would count up quadrons, quinare, and quillons. (There were five quinare in a quillon.)

    Ask the school community to decide, by display of hands, who is telling the truth.

    (Answer: (b) a QUILLON is a part of a sword.) Invite the team members to reveal the answer by displaying ‘True’ or ‘Bluff’ cards.

  2. Reflect that such games are good fun. However, in real life, it is not fun to wonder whether somebody is telling the truth. Can the school community think why? Provide the following example:

    In school, somebody has been careless and trodden on some of the summer flowers that have been planted by Year 6. When a group of children are asked who has damaged the plants, no one wants to say. Eventually Liam replies:  ‘They were like that when we went out to the playground.’ Sam adds: ‘Some children from Year 1 did it.’ Then Gemma, quietly, says: ‘No. Liam pushed Sam off the path.’

    Discuss and explore this scenario. How will the teacher feel? Who is bluffing and telling lies? Who is telling the truth? It appears that Liam and Sam are trying to make excuses and there is the danger that other children (in Year 1) will be blamed for something they have not done. Gemma doesn’t want to ‘tell tales’ but neither does she want her sister (who is in Year 1) to be made unhappy.

    Church schools may wish to refer to how one of the Ten Commandments (the Bible’s ‘Rules for Life’) reflects the need to tell the truth:

    ‘You shall not bear false witness [against your neighbour].’ (Exodus 20.16)
  3. Displaying the Bluff/Truth cards used in the game encourages everyone to remember that:

    – In real life, calling people’s bluff is not a game!
    – When someone doesn’t tell the truth, it makes others unhappy and friendships are broken.
    – Telling the truth means that you are a person who can be trusted.

Time for reflection

Prayer
Lord God,
help us to know the truth,
and to speak the truth,
today and always.
Amen.

Song / Music

‘The Peace Prayer’ (Come and Praise, 140)
‘As One’ or ‘The Tongue’, from Songs for Everybody (published by Out of the Ark Music).

Publication date: January 2011
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