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Respect for Rules

Asks the question ‘Do rules really matter?’

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To encourage children to think about why we have rules and why they are so important.

Preparation and materials

  • Six road signs, on display. Examples could be no entry, 40 mph, road narrows, slippery road, risk of falling rocks.
  • Optional: Display the Ten Commandments.


1. Introduce the assembly by saying that today we are going to be thinking about rules and their importance, but to start with you are going to ask the children three questions.
Firstly, ask the children if anyone can explain what is meant by the Highway Code.
Secondly, show the children the six road signs and encourage them to suggest what each sign means.
Thirdly, ask the children why they think we have all these road signs.

2. Comment that it will be a while before most of the pupils are learning to drive; however, you were wondering if they could think of any rules in their school?
Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and talk about the following questions:
- What are some of the rules in this school?
- Why do we have rules in a school?
- Do you think it is important to have rules?
- If you could make up one new rule for this school, what would it be?

Listen to a range of responses.

3. Agree with the children that rules are usually a good idea and that they are often there to keep us safe and to help us live together in a way that works.

Explain that Christians believe that in the Old Testament, a part of the Bible in which God gave people a set of rules to live by. These rules are called the Ten Commandments, and they were given to a man called Moses.

4. These are the rules that God gave to Moses:

Number 1: I am the only God and you must only worship me.
Number 2: Don’t worship things like statues or birds or trees - only me.
Number 3: Do not use my name for bad purposes – it’s a special name, so treat it with respect.
Number 4: Keep one day a week to rest and call this day the Sabbath.
Number 5: Honour your father and your mother – you need them to survive.
Number 6: Never kill anyone.
Number 7: If you marry someone, stay faithful to them, and don’t go off with somebody else.
Number 8: Don’t steal – it hurts other people and makes life hard.
Number 9: Don’t tell any lies either – this includes not making up stories about other people.
Number 10: Be satisfied with what you’ve got and stop wishing you had what someone else owns.

5. Ask the children if they think these are good rules. Point out that they are designed to make people’s lives happier and to help people live together in peace.

Time for reflection

Do you think that the Ten Commandments are still important today?
Vote with thumbs: thumbs up for yes; thumbs down for no; thumbs horizontal for not sure.

Many people think that the Ten Commandments still contain some very good advice about how to live alongside other people. Much of the advice has to do with respecting other people in various ways. Explain that our world could not exist in the way it does today without some rules to follow, and Christians believe that the Ten Commandments are a good place to start.

Ask the children to pause and think about how rules keep us safe and help us live in a way that respects other people.

Dear God,
Please help us to show respect for others and to keep the rules of our school so that it is a happy and safe place to be.
Thank you for giving the Ten Commandments to Moses and thank you that they still contain good advice for us today.


‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart’ by John Hardwick (Songs for All Occasions)

Publication date: January 2016   (Vol.18 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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