Who Do You Want to Be?
A look at the different virtues that define us
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to reflect upon the virtues for which we hope to be known.
Preparation and materials
You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Who do you want to be?) and the means to display them.
Have available the YouTube video ‘The Simpsons – Marge’s resume’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.31 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQwVJgmZaA8
Show Slide 1.
Ask the students what they want to be. Give some examples, using the images on the slide as prompts.
- A doctor?
- A computer engineer?
- A famous athlete?
- A successful business person?
Ask the students to raise their hands and contribute to answer each question. If relevant, mention that Year 11 will be taking mock exams soon, or working towards examined courses that will help them towards these aspirations.
Show Slide 2.
Ask the students if they have heard of a ‘CV’, or ‘curriculum vitae’. Explain that, when someone applies for a job, he or she usually needs to send in a CV to the prospective employer. A CV is a document that lists a person’s qualifications and any other achievements or interests that might increase his or her chances of getting the job.
Suggest that it is important for everyone to have ‘CV virtues’. Virtues are things that we regard as good or positive, so CV virtues are the positive skills and achievements that we would want to write on a CV or job application. If we have no CV virtues, getting a job is far more challenging.
Let’s look at Marge Simpson’s experience when she was applying for a job.
Show the YouTube video ‘The Simpsons – Marge’s resume’. It is 1.31 minutes long, but you may wish to stop the clip at 1.01 minutes.
Although it is really important to think about our future careers and how we can achieve success in the workplace, it is also important to ask ourselves another question.
Show Slide 3.
Who do you want to be?
Another way of thinking about this is to ask, ‘What do we want other people to remember us for?’
Perhaps it is our kindness. Or our generosity. Perhaps it is our ability to make friends and include others. Or perhaps we would like to be known for being honest.
An American journalist for The New York Times, David Brooks, has written and spoken about a different type of virtue called ‘eulogy virtues’. A eulogy is the speech that is given at a person’s funeral to sum up and celebrate their character and life.
When we think about the question, ‘Who do you want to be?’, we should think about the qualities and virtues that we want to demonstrate through our lives that will make a difference to the lives of others.
So, what are some specific eulogy virtues? Let’s think about three possible ones.
Show Slide 4.
- Humility. This means being honest about our own weaknesses. Being aware of these means that we can identify the things that we find difficult and discover what we need to work on. In a world that sometimes expects us to be perfect, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of humility.
- Selfless love. This means loving others in a way that keeps us from selfishness and instead shows care and kindness towards others, with no reward expected in return. In a world that sometimes encourages us to put ourselves first, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of selfless love.
- Gratitude. This means being thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives. Saying ‘thank you’ and expressing our appreciation is one way in which we show this virtue in practice. In a world full of advertising that encourages us to focus on all the things we do not have, it can be difficult to develop the virtue of gratitude.
Time for reflection
Let’s pause for a moment and think about the kind of eulogy virtues that we would like to develop.
- What virtues would you like to be known for?
- Who do you want to be?
Let’s take a few moments of silence to consider our personal answers to these questions.
Pause for thought.
The Bible gives us some advice on the sorts of things that can help us with eulogy virtues. As we listen to this short reading from the book of Philippians, consider which of these virtues you can try to develop today.
Show Slide 5 and slowly read the words, emphasizing the underlined words.
These virtues will help us to become the sort of people whom others remember with affection and fondness, not because of our careers or our success in business, but because of WHO we are.
We acknowledge that you have created us with many gifts and talents.
We come to school to develop and learn.
Help us all today to make positive steps towards achieving academic success.
We also acknowledge that you have shown us that honesty, self-giving love, humility, gratitude and justice are important.
Help us today to think about who we really want to be.
When we find it tough to develop these virtues, please guide us and help us.