A Fresh Start
A new year, a new term, new opportunities
by Nicola Freeman
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to understand that a new year provides opportunities for a fresh start.
Preparation and materials
You will need the Powerpoint slides that accompany this assembly (A Fresh Start) and the means to display them.
You will also need two empty glasses, a jug of water and some food colouring or cordial. (Please remember to take into account any food allergies.)
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Bruce Almighty - Want to see a miracle?’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.05 minutes long and is available at: http://www.youtube.com/embed/8ZN9L0oDZoQ
Optional: you may wish to play the YouTube motivational video ‘Stop whining, start grinding’, in which case you will also need the means to show it during the assembly. Before the assembly, make sure that you are happy with its suitability. It is 3.59 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxrSr2vV68g
Show Slide 1.
Remind the students that a new term and a new year bring with them new opportunities and the chance for a ‘fresh start’. The old term and the old year are behind us, so it is time to move on into the future.
Ask if any students have made New Year’s resolutions.
Give examples of resolutions, such as getting fit, learning a new skill or eating more healthily.
Point out that the start of a new year can be a great motivator for change, but there are other ‘starts’ throughout the year that can remind us that change is possible:
- the start of the week
- the start of the month
- the start of term
It could be said that God has given our lives a rhythm that gives us many opportunities to reset ourselves.
Point out that, although some of us like the idea of a fresh start, others may be feeling like there is little point. Maybe the New Year’s resolution has already been broken or maybe we feel sure that we will not be able to change, so there is little point in trying.
Place the two glasses on a table. Fill one glass half-full with water. Explain that this glass represents last year or last term and the water represents all the opportunities that were provided.
Pour some food colouring or cordial into the glass, explaining that maybe something we have said or done has made us feel marked or tainted.
There is a verse in the Bible that tells us that God’s love goes on forever and that his care for us is new every morning (Lamentations 3.22-23).
Pour some more water into the glass. Explain that the colour is getting fainter, a bit like a memory or regret fading away. However, we need to remember that a fresh start isn’t the mistakes in our past getting ‘watered down’. A fresh start is like having a new, completely clear glass of water.
Pour a fresh glass of water.
Ask the students to imagine that they have been given a blank piece of paper on which to record what they would like to achieve this term or year, given a completely fresh start. What would they write?
- No detentions?
- No negative points? (Adapt this to the reward system for your school.)
- No swearing?
- Increased confidence?
Ask if any of the students have seen the film Bruce Almighty. In this film, Bruce gets the opportunity to experience what it would be like to have God’s power. As Bruce begins to receive hundreds of prayers, he makes the decision to say ‘yes’ to every prayer. However, Bruce’s actions don’t work and everything becomes a mess! Explain that, in the scene that the students are going to watch, Bruce is chatting to God about what to do next.
Show the following video of ‘Bruce Almighty - Want to see a miracle?’. It is 1.05 minutes long.
Two well-known lines in the film are spoken by ‘God’, who is played by Morgan Freeman:
- ‘No matter how filthy something gets, we can always clean it right up.’
- ‘People want me to do everything for them, but . . . they have the power. Do you wanna see a miracle, son? Be the miracle.’
Tell the students that they have the power to be the miracle and to change.
Optional: you may wish to wish to play the YouTube motivational video ‘Stop whining, start grinding’. It is 3.59 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxrSr2vV68g
Show Slide 2.
Challenge the students to consider the word ‘START’ as they think about different areas of their lives.
- Speech. What you say to yourself and to others matters.
- Time. Time is an investment. What takes up most of your time? Don't waste it, invest it. For example, at breaktime, are you playing games on your phone or connecting with people and making friends? Every minute, every day, counts.
- Attitude. What perspective do you approach situations with? What is your default attitude?
- Reactions. How do you respond to situations? With anger? Or self-control?
- Talents. How are you going to use and develop your talents this year?
Time for reflection
Show Slide 3.
A verse in the Bible says, ‘But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead’ (Philippians 3.13).
Let’s put the past behind us and instead focus our energy on making good decisions for the future. It’s in our hands.
Show Slide 4.
Thank you that your love towards us never ceases.
Thank you that, no matter what we’ve said or done, you never give up on us.
Thank you that every day is an opportunity for a fresh start.
Help us to take ownership of our lives and make wise decisions in our speech, time, attitude, reactions and talents so that we can become the people we dream of becoming.
Optional: you may wish to use the song ‘Mercy’ by Amanda Cook, in which case you will also need the means to play it during the assembly. It is 4.09 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sILwvJShMV8