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Heart growing in process

To help the children understand that it is not only what we do that is important but the motive behind the act (SEAL theme 2, ‘Getting on and falling out’).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help the children understand that it is not only what we do that is important but the motive behind the act (SEAL theme 2, ‘Getting on and falling out’).

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: different types of weighing scales, a barometer, a spring balance, fluid beaker, etc.


  1. Explain to the children that this assembly is all about weighing. Hopefully some classes in the school will have done work on weight at some point so you may be able to expect some help.

    You would like the children to tell you what you would use to weigh the following items.

    * a handful of potatoes
    * a handful of salt
    * an articulated lorry
    * a bag of sand
    * 10 dictionaries
    * an elephant
    * a 1kg bag of sugar (see if you can catch them out with this one!)
    * the water in a bucket
    * a school child
  2. In the Bible there is a story about a king who got quite a scare one evening. King Belshazzar was a bad king who did not rule well. He was not a good leader for his people and he mocked God.

    One night, while he was having a big banquet, some writing appeared on the castle wall, as though an invisible person was writing it with a paintbrush. It said, ‘You have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.’ King Belshazzar knew his days were numbered – he didn’t last much longer after that!
  3. What do you think the writing meant? It didn’t mean that when he stood on the scales some bit of him was missing – a few kilos had disappeared! It meant that God had been looking at his heart and his life as a king, and sadly, Belshazzar wasn’t doing very well in God’s eyes.

    ‘Your heart is very lacking in good things,’ God might have said to him.
  4. In Ancient Egypt, many thousands of years ago, the people believed that if you did something bad your heart would become heavy, and if this happened, a god called Ammut might suddenly appear and eat you up! The Ancient Egyptians believed that when you died, in order to get into a lovely place which they called the afterlife, you had to have a light heart. They thought that at your death your heart would be weighed against a special feather. If your heart was lighter than the feather then you had lived a good life and you could enter the afterlife safely. If your heart weighed heavier than the feather then this was because your deeds were bad. Ammut would suddenly appear … and gobble you up!
  5. These days we do not believe in gods like Ammut. What is true is that the things we do show what our hearts are like. It is not only what we do that is important, but the reason why we do something. We call that ‘motive’.

    A young child may make a drawing for her mother, which doesn’t look like anything to you but the child’s motive was to be kind and to say, ‘I love you, Mummy.’ There’s a kind heart growing.

    Sometimes we try to do something kind and it just doesn’t work out. Maybe we tried to bake Mum or Dad a cake and it sank in the middle, or even burned. Maybe we tried to help wash the car and ended up taking most of the water into the kitchen with us. Never mind! There’s a kind heart growing.

    Sometimes we try very hard to do something to please someone and they don’t even notice. Maybe you have tried to be helpful at school some days and your teacher hasn’t noticed. Maybe you ate up all your dinner one day to please the dinner lady and she was too busy to see your empty plate. Never mind! There’s a kind heart growing.
  6. Over this coming school year many of you will earn certificates and awards and reports and complete bags of wonderful work. The school is very proud of all your achievements.

    Your teachers also know that over this coming school year many of you will have the opportunity to grow bigger hearts. The things you do for other people, and the reasons why you do them, will mean that your hearts will grow in kindness. Your hearts will grow ‘in good things’. That is something that will make the teachers very happy and proud!

Time for reflection

Take a few moments to celebrate the kind and good heart that is growing within you.
Think about the kind things you have tried to do this week.

Think about the kind and thoughtful things you have said to others this week.

Think about the kind and positive thoughts you have had this week. It doesn’t matter if nobody else noticed!
Imagine this good heart growing within you. Well done!

Dear Father God,
We want to be people who have big hearts,

hearts that are big with kindness and love towards other people.

Thank you that in our school we are being stretched

not only in our minds and in our bodies and in our talents

but also in our hearts.



Give me oil in my lamp’ (Come and Praise, 43)

Publication date: October 2009   (Vol.11 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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