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Time! Midsummer - the longest day (21 June)

To encourage students to think about how they use their time in light of the fact that 21 June is the longest day.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To encourage students to think about how they use their time in light of the fact that 21 June is the longest day.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Remind the students that 21 June is the longest day – called midsummer and the Summer Solstice. It is the time in the year when the sun is at its most northerly point and appears to be the highest in the sky. On this day, it should remain light for the longest period of time all year. Some people see this as the start of the summer season.
  2. Explain that, as we move forward through June up to this point, the days get longer, but, as soon as the 21 June passes by, the days begin to get shorter again. So, it is a good time to remind ourselves how quickly time passes and ask if we use our time well.
  3. Ask the students to imagine an average 70-year-old and guess how long this person will have spent doing the following everyday things during his or her 70 years of life. You may like to invite students to come forward and have a team competition as to whose answers are closest to the correct figures or ask them to simply raise their hands to answer.
  4. Showing each of the images you gathered above in turn, ask the pupils to guess how much time, in 70 years, an average person spends doing these things:

    sleeping
    answer: 24 years (approximately one third of our lives)

    eating
    answer: 6 years

    watching TV
    answer: 9 years

    waiting in a queue (including at traffic lights)
    answer: 5 years

    housework
    answer: 4 years

    toilet
    answer: 18 months

    kissing
    answer: 2.5 weeks.
  5. Say how, looking at the above list, it’s clear we don’t have that long to do other things. This is only a bit of fun, but it does focus everyone’s minds on how easy it can be to waste our time. As they approach exams, end-of-year tests and so on, discuss with the students how we all need to use our time wisely. Talk with them, too, about the summer holidays and ask them to think about things they can do with their time that won’t mean they just fritter away every day, but, instead, allow them to achieve something positive.
  6. Mention that the Bible speaks about time.

    If arranged, ask the pupil who is to read to come up to the front and do so.

    In Ecclesiastes 3, it says:

    For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die;
    a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
    a time to kill, and a time to heal;
    a time to break down, and a time to build up;
    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
    a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
    a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
    a time to seek, and a time to lose;
    a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
    a time to tear, and a time to sew;
    a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
    a time to love, and a time to hate;
    a time for war, and a time for peace.

    Ask the students to think about their daily routine. Is there any time in that routine for them to be quiet and think, for them to do something to help another person?

Time for reflection

Ask the students to think about how they use their time and set them the challenge of thinking how to use their time wisely this week.

Prayer
Dear God,
thank you for our amazing world.
Thank you for our lives and the wonderful opportunities we have today and in the months and years ahead of us.
Help us to use our time wisely and well, so our lives will be full of joy and a blessing to other people.
Amen.

Music

'Turn! Turn! Turn!’ by the Byrds (it uses the words of the above passage from Ecclesiastes in its lyrics)

Publication date: June 2013   (Vol.15 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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