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Just a little bit

To show the need for thoughtfulness and self-restraint.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To show the need for thoughtfulness and self-restraint.

Preparation and materials

  • A freshly baked long baguette.

  • A good appetite!

Assembly

  1. Produce the baguette. Reflect that ‘It smells good.’ Suggest that it might be OK to eat some – ‘just a little bit’. Savour a small piece and wonder whether you might try some more – ‘just a little bit’. However, resist this temptation, saying that ‘I might not know when to stop.’ Explain that ‘knowing when to stop’ is the theme of the assembly.
  2. Ask whether there are those in the school community who enjoy eating bread, and enlist the help of eight people (to become a sister, three friends and four ducks).
  3. Tell and enact the story, along the following lines. As the narrative proceeds, break off pieces of bread at the appropriate points to share with the other characters – just a little bit!

    Liam’s tummy told him that it was almost tea-time. His mum was cooking some spaghetti bolognaise. It was Liam’s favourite meal.

    ‘Are we going to have some crusty bread with it?’ he asked. His mother had forgotten to buy the bread that Liam liked. The supermarket was only a short distance away through the park, so Liam and his sister, Anna, were often sent to get things when they were needed. So, they went to buy some bread.

    They paid at the supermarket checkout and went back outside into the sunshine. The baguette was still warm from the oven.

    ‘Mmm,’ said Liam, ‘this does smell good. Shall we taste some? Just a little bit! Mum won’t mind.’ They both tore a piece off. It tasted lovely. Liam realized how hungry he felt. ‘I could eat some more. Just a little bit! Could you Anna?’ They sat together on a park bench and happily ate just a little bit more.

    Three friends, Jordan, Ashleigh and April, joined them.

    ‘That bread does look nice,’ April said. ‘Could we each have some?’
    ‘Well . . . ’ (Liam wondered for a moment). ‘Yes . . . of course . . . but just a little bit’!

    The path through the park went past the lake, where there were more hungry friends. A crowd of hungry ducks saw the bag that Liam was carrying. They ran across the grass quacking furiously.

    ‘O bless!’ laughed Anna. ‘Liam, let’s feed them. Give me some bread – just a little bit.’ Together, they fed the ducks and also themselves! (Just a little bit.)

    You can imagine what happened. When Liam and Anna got home there was very little of the baguette left! Their mum was rather cross (but not for long. And Liam was sad, not because of anything that was said, but because now he was so full up that he wasn’t able to enjoy his favourite meal.
  4. Invite the school community to reflect upon the story. What had led Liam and Anna to eat so much of the bread? Focus upon the phrase: ’just a little bit’. Liam told himself that ‘just a little’ didn’t matter but, bit by bit, more and more of the baguette was eaten!
  5. Conclude by reflecting how small choices matter. It’s important to think about the consequences of our actions. ‘Small mistakes can become bigger ones if we pretend that they don’t matter.’ Other examples might be given:
    – Lots of small mistakes can have a big impact upon the quality of a piece of work.
    – Repeated name-calling isn’t a little thing but a sign of a big bully.
    – Stealing small things can lead to big trouble.
  6. Church schools may wish to link this theme to the Lenten story of Jesus in the wilderness. Jesus was hungry and tempted to turn stones into bread. It might only have seemed a little thing, but Jesus realized that this would be a big betrayal of the trust placed in him.

Time for reflection

A time of reflection might be based upon this prayer:

Prayer
Loving God,
Sometimes we imagine small choices don’t matter
but really they can mean a lot.
When we say to ourselves: ‘It’s just a little thing,’
help us to remember that little things can add up in a big way.
Happiness so often depends
upon a little bit of care – a little bit of thought.

Song/music

‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (Come and Praise, 51)

Publication date: March 2011   (Vol.13 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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