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Start in Your Head

To encourage belief and self-confidence in children as they face the challenges of school life.

by Peter Naylor

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage belief and self-confidence in children as they face the challenges of school life.

Preparation and materials

  • A children's version of the Bible.
  • Pictures of the England football manager or team (optional).
  • The CD 'Proud' by Heather Small (optional).


  1. Ask if the children know who said, 'Always you must start in the head.' Explain that the quotation comes from the England football manager, Sven Goran Eriksson. After a victory, he said, 'The reason we did well was because the players believe they can do good things.'

  2. Ask the children what kind of things they can do. Take examples about talents and skills and ask them to think back to when they first learned a particular skill (writing, swimming or reading a bicycle, etc.). Can they remember learning skills that now seem second nature? Point out that they needed the right attitude in order to do well. Ask for ways in which their skills and talents have developed since being first learned.

  3. Talk to the children about being determined to get things right and introduce the idea of developing 'skills' in such areas as good behaviour, kindness, patience, etc. Say that it can often be hard to achieve things but it all starts in our heads - as Sven Goran Eriksson said, 'The reason we did well was because the players believe they can do good things.'

  4. Ask them to think about this saying: 'If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you are right.' Some might need a moment to think about this - say that if it doesn't seem to make sense, they can think about it during the day.

  5. Point out that the belief we have that we can achieve things is similar to the faith that Jesus had and still has in all people. Read the story of how Levi came to follow Jesus in Mark 2.13-17 (the following is the Good News Bible version):

    Jesus went back again to the shore of Lake Galilee. A crowd came to him, and he started teaching them. As he walked along, he saw a tax collector, Levi son of Alphaeus, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, 'Follow me.' Levi got up and followed him.

    Later on Jesus was having a meal in Levi's house. A large number of tax collectors and outcasts were following Jesus, and many of them joined him and his disciples at the table. Some teachers of the Law, who were Pharisees, saw that Jesus was eating with these outcasts and tax collectors, so they asked his disciples, 'Why does he eat with such people?'

    Jesus heard them and answered, 'People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcasts.'

    Point out that a tax collector was hated by everyone. What do the children think Jesus meant when he said that he had come not to call respectable people but call outcasts (verse 17)? He was showing that he hadn't given up on Levi. Jesus' attitude was that everyone was worthwhile. That's a good attitude for us to 'start in our heads'.

Time for reflection

Think about having belief, faith and determination to 'get things right'.

Dear God,
We thank you for all the different skills and talents that you have given to us.
Help us always to make the best use of our skills
and to be determined to think that we too can do good things.



'I'm special' by Graham Kendrick (Songs of Fellowship, 236)
'Give us hope, Lord' (Come and Praise, 87)


Scriptures quoted from the Good News Bible published by The Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK © American Bible Society, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992.

Publication date: December 2001   (Vol.3 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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