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Finding fault

To help children think about how their actions impact on others.

by Chris Ruddle

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help children think about how their actions impact on others.

Preparation and materials

  • Judging others
    ‘Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’seye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.’ (Matthew 7.1–5)
  • You will need a log, two tea towels, chairs from around the assembly room.

Assembly

  1.  Position the chairs as an obstacle course.

    Get an older child to come forward, someone who knows left from right and is willing to navigate the course blindfolded. Ask a teacher to come out to give spoken directions.

    Half way through the course, blindfold the teacher as well and change aspects of the course. The teacher will now be unable to give good directions.
  2. Ask the children whether it was easier for the teacher to give advice before or after being blindfolded.

    Point out that sometimes we try to give advice to other people when we don’t know that much ourselves.
  3. Briefly tell the Bible story, given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, of the person with the speck of sawdust and the person with the log in their eyes.

    Bringing out a log adds humour to the story. (See ‘Preparation and materials’ for the story.)
  4. Tell this story (you could change the names to suit your school’s profile).

    Jamie didn’t like school.

    Every day was the same. People were horrible to him and it wasn’t his fault.

    As he came into school this morning, he thought, ‘It’s going to be just the same as usual.’

    At break time, Sarah and Osmun were playing football. They had a really good new football. It looked great. He went up to them and asked if he could play. They looked at him as if they were a bit worried.

    ‘No,’ said Sarah. ‘It’s a new football and we don’t want it to get spoiled.’

    Jamie was angry so he took their football and threw it over the fence into the garden of the house next to the school.

    At lunchtime, Jamie looked in his lunchbox. It was okay. He had a ham sandwich and some yoghurt. But it was a bit boring. He sat down at the lunch table next to Harry. He liked Harry.

    He looked over at Harry’s lunchbox. He had a chocolate biscuit. ‘Can I have your chocolate biscuit, Harry?’

    ‘We’re not supposed to give other people our food. It’s what the teacher said.’

    Jamie was cross again, so he kicked Harry in the ankle while no one was looking and stormed off.

    In the afternoon, there was a spelling test. Jamie hadn’t done the homework and was a bit worried. Thankfully, the teacher had sat him next to Charlie. Charlie was really smart. ‘Can I look at your answers, Charlie? If I don’t, I’ll get into trouble again.’

    Charlie said, ‘Why would I help you? You’re always nasty to me.’ And Charlie covered his answer sheet with his hand.

    Jamie grabbed hold of Charlie’s answer sheet and ripped it into tiny little pieces.

    At the end of the day, Jamie found himself outside the headteacher’s office.

    ‘What’s wrong, Jamie?’ the head asked.

    ‘Sarah and Osmun wouldn’t play with me. Harry wouldn’t share with me. Charlie wouldn’t help me with my class work. Everybody hates me.’
  5. What had Billy missed out when he spoke to the head teacher?

    Do you think that if Billy had behaved differently, the other children might have liked him a bit more?

Time for reflection

With your eyes closed, think about someone you have fallen out with.

It’s probably quite easy to think what your friend has done wrong, but spend a moment thinking about what mistakes you might have made.

Often it’s easier to see the faults of someone else than to see our own faults.

Prayer
Dear God,
help me to forgive my friends when they upset me.
Help me to understand what I may be doing wrong
when my friends are upset with me.
Amen.

Song/music

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

Publication date: September 2012   (Vol.14 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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