Broken Friendships Matter
Broken friendships affect everyone around us
by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to think about the importance of friendships.
Preparation and materials
Before the assembly, give a thin strip of paper to each child in a class. Ask each child to write their name on their strip. Make a loop with one strip and glue the ends together. Pass another strip through the loop and glue the ends. Continue until all of the strips form a paper chain.
You will also need a photograph of a friend or family member who has been important in your life. If a photograph is not available, simply describe the person to the children.
- Ask the children to close their eyes for a moment and think of one of their friends. This could be someone in school, a friend who lives near their home or even a family member.
Ask the children to tell you what makes that particular person a good friend. Show the photograph of your important friend or family member to the children and/or tell them about why that person has been so important to you.
- Show the paper chain to the children and explain that the chain is made up of all the children in a particular class. Explain that, although all the people in the class are not ‘best friends’, they are all joined in some special way. This is because they are in the same class, so they will go through school together, spending a lot of time every week in each other’s company.
- Ask the children if they have ever fallen out with their friends. How did they feel?
Ask for a volunteer to hold one end of the paper chain while you keep hold of the other end. Tell the children that all the people in the chain are joined together, but when a friendship between two people breaks apart, it affects all those around them. Pull the chain so that it snaps. Explain that it is only the connection between two children in the chain that has broken, but the whole of the chain has collapsed because of it.
- Explain that, when we have problems in our friendships, we need to get them sorted out quickly so that the effect of our falling out with one person doesn’t spread to lots of other people.
- The Bible shows us how important Jesus thought friendship was. One of the first things we read about Jesus doing in the Bible is gathering a group of friends (disciples) around him. These friends would be with him through good and bad times and, although they had disagreements, they stayed with him throughout his life.
- At the start of a new school year, it is important to stop to think about our friends. How are we going to treat people around us during the year? How can our behaviour make other people feel? What can we do to make everyone’s year even better than the year before?
Time for reflection
Ask the children to be quiet for a few moments and think about their friends, people in their class and people in their family. Is there anyone they need to say sorry to? Can they make the decision to go and sort it out?
Thank you that you have given us friends.
Please help us to be good friends.
Please help us to sort out arguments quickly
And to always look for good in other people.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)