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The perfect Valentine

To help children understand that no two people are the same, or were ever intended to be.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help children understand that no two people are the same, or were ever intended to be.

Preparation and materials

  • The poem could be prepared in a rap style by an older class, in two parts.

  • This assembly is meant to be fun so be prepared for rather more noise than usual!

Assembly

  1. Talk about the customs associated with Valentine’s Day – cards, red roses, special meals.

    Do the children realize that in a leap year, such as 2012, there is a tradition going back to the fifth century that women were allowed to make marriage proposals throughout the year? Explain that this was not usual then! Supposedly, under a 1288 law introduced by Queen Margaret of Scotland, a man could be fined for refusing. The fines ranged from a kiss to £1 or a silk gown.

    Apparently men felt so at risk in a leap year that they managed to put a restriction on this custom: the time when women could propose was limited to one day only in the year, 29 February – and then the men probably hid themselves away all day!
  2. On Valentine’s Day it’s good to remember that research has shown that opposites attract. Often you’ll find couples where the man is a chatterbox and the woman is shy, where the man is scatty and the woman is organized, where the man is a sports fanatic and the woman is not – or the other way round!

    Often couples are said to complement each other. That means that one makes up for what the other lacks.

    A good example of complementing each other is this well-known old rhyme.

    Jack Sprat could eat no fat
    His wife could eat no lean
    And so between the two of them
    They licked the platter [plate] clean.

    This was obviously written in the days when people didn’t have much choice about their food. You can just imagine Jack Sprat cutting the little bits of fat off his stew and Mrs Sprat eating them up.
  3. Nowadays we are spoiled for choice, so the poem might go something like this:

    There once was a man called Sprat
    Who quite wisely could never eat fat.
    No cakes
    No sausages
    No cheese
    It would seem
    Would pass his lips.
    And although he might dream
    Of strawberries and cream
    Of doughnuts and eclairs
    He would never dare
    To make a slip.
    ‘I must stay fit.
    I must stay well.
    No, thank you,’ said Jack.
    ‘I will not eat fat!
    It’s my stomach, you see.
    Doesn’t like to be
    Weighed down
    Blocked up
    Fat!’

    With Jack lived a woman called Sprat
    Who, unlike the man who could eat no fat,
    Could eat plates of it
    Heaps of it
    Lashings of it
    Mountains high of it!
    Full-fat milk
    Full-fat cream
    All went down
    Just like a dream!
    Cream with jam
    Jam with cream
    Endless amounts
    So it would seem.
    She bypassed his veggies.
    She ignored his fish.
    But potato wedges?
    She’d scoff the dish!
    What a roly
    What a poly
    Mrs Sprat!

    Now this little tale of Jack and his wife
    Is rather helpful when looking at life.
    For no two people it would seem
    Are the same!

    So it might just be that the best place to look for that perfect valentine would be the dinner hall!
  4. You can remind the children about the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and say that this is just a bit of fun. But we should remember that we will always have different likes and dislikes, whether it be food, school tasks, hobbies or even personality types.

    Parts of our character and personality will be like other people and other parts will be different. That’s because each of us is unique. We will never find someone else exactly like us.

    It’s OK to be different. We are each unique. It takes all kinds to make the world.

Time for reflection

What kind of person are you?

What kind of people do you find it easiest to get on with?

Prayer
Dear God,
thank you that there are xxx people [the number in your assembly] here today
and not one of us is the same (not even twins).
Help us to learn to enjoy one another’s differences.
Amen.

Song/music

‘You can build a wall around you’ (‘Break out’) (Come and Praise, 91)

Publication date: February 2012   (Vol.14 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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