Each of us has a unique identity
by Guy Donegan-Cross (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage children to enjoy their unique identity.
Preparation and materials
You will need some images of fingerprints and the means to display them. An image of three examples is available at: http://tinyurl.com/jnyrvnf
Show the image of the fingerprints.
Point out a few of the features of the fingerprints.
Ask the children to look at their fingertips. Are each of their fingertips identical? Are they the same as the person sitting next to them?
Share the following facts about fingerprints.
- Fingerprints are formed long before a person is born, when he or she is only a few weeks old in the womb.
- Fingerprints do not change as you grow older.
- If a finger gets scratched, the fingerprints grow back exactly the same.
- Identical twins have different fingerprints.
- Nobody in the world has the same fingerprints.
- You are unique!
Tell the following story.
There was once a stonecutter who was dissatisfied with himself and his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house. Through the open gateway, he spied many fine possessions and important visitors.
‘How powerful that merchant must be!’ thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant. That way, he would no longer have to live the life of a mere stonecutter.
Then, to his great surprise, his wish came true. Suddenly, he became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of. He was now both envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself.
A short time later, he was out walking when an important official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession.
‘How powerful that official is!’ he thought. ‘I wish I could be an important official!’
Suddenly, his wish came true again. He became an important official, carried along in his embroidered sedan chair. He saw that he was both feared and hated by the people around him, all of whom had to bow down as he passed.
It was a hot summer’s day and the man felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence.
‘How powerful the sun is!’ he thought. ‘I wish I could be the sun!’
Suddenly, he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and labourers.
But then, a huge, black cloud moved between him and the Earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below.
‘How powerful that storm cloud is!’ he thought. ‘I wish I could be a cloud!’
And then, he was the cloud, sending torrents of rain down, flooding the fields and villages. Again, he was cursed by everyone down below.
However, he soon found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind.
‘How powerful the wind is!’ he thought. ‘I wish I could be the wind!’
Then, he became the wind, blowing so strongly that tiles came off roofs and trees were uprooted. He was hated and feared by everyone below him.
After a while, however, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it – a huge, towering rock.
‘How powerful that rock is!’ he thought. ‘I wish I could be a rock!’
Then, he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on Earth.
However, as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock and felt himself being changed.
‘What could be more powerful than I, the rock?’ he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter.
Ask the children what the stonecutter should have done at the beginning of the story.
Point out that each person is unique and special. Sometimes, we have to learn to be content and happy with being the person that we are.
Optional: the Bible says that, before we were born, God knew us (Psalm 139.16). We don’t have to be like anyone else. We are each unique and special!
Time for reflection
All of us have our own fingerprints, different from anyone else’s in the world. Christians believe that God made each of us different from everybody else in the world. We are all individuals. We need to learn to be ourselves!
Thank you that you love me as I am.
Thank you that no one else is like me.
Thank you that you have a plan, just for me.
‘Somebody greater’ (Come and Praise, 5)