by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To increase awareness of how easy and often acceptable it is to tell lies.
Preparation and materials
- You will need an image of a McDonald’s burger and the means to display it during the assembly.
- You will also need the words of the advert for McDonald’s written on a whiteboard: ‘Tell them you got stuck behind a tractor.’
- Copy out Hebrews 6.18, about it being impossible for God to lie, as God is truth, and Proverbs 12.22, ‘The Lord detests lying lips’ (NIV).
- Have available the poem ‘The boy who never told a lie’, anonymous (available at: http://fairytales4u.com/fable/poem02.htm).
- Display the image of a McDonald’s burger and the phrase on the whiteboard.
A recent McDonald’s advert says, ‘Tell them you got stuck behind a tractor.’
At first we might think, ‘That’s a clever advert.’ As summer approaches and farmers are busy in the fields, tractors can indeed often cause delays on the roads. Maybe have you been trying to get somewhere or running late, then come across a queue behind a tractor?
It is easy to become frustrated and lose patience at these times. The tractor will certainly hold you up and possibly make you late.
‘Yes,’ we might think, ‘that’s a good advert. That’s a good excuse for being late.’
- Then, though, we might realize, ‘What’s being said is a lie.’ It may be a funny one, certainly a clever one, but, nevertheless, a lie.
Is it right for adverts to suggest we tell lies?
Is it ever right to tell lies, even funny, clever ones?
- Explain to the children that people have many different ideas about lying. Some think there are big whopping lies and then teeny weeny lies, even ‘white lies’, which have just a little bit off truth to them. They believe that there are grades of lying and it also depends on the reason for you telling the lie. Trying not to hurt someone’s feelings would be a better reason to lie than telling a lie just to get out of trouble.
- What does the Bible say about lying?
Read out Hebrews 6.18 and Proverbs 12.22. Talk about how, if we want to please God and our friends and family, then lying is never right.
Read the poem, ‘The boy who never told a lie’.
The boy who never told a lie
Once there was a little boy,
With curly hair and pleasant eye –
A boy who always told the truth,
And never, never told a lie.
And when he trotted off to school,
The children all about would cry,
’There goes the curly-headed boy –
the boy who never tells a lie.’
And everybody loved him so,
Because he always told the truth,
That every day, as he grew up,
'Twas said, ‘There goes the honest youth.’
And when the people who stood near
Would turn to ask the reason why,
The answer would be always this:
’Because he never tells a lie.
Time for reflection
Why was this boy so popular?
Will we always be popular if we tell the truth?
Would you like to be known as an honest boy or an honest girl?
Let’s ask God to help us to not lie.
Thank you that you are a God of truth.
Thank you that you never change.
Help us to hate lying, too.
‘You shall go out with joy’ (Come and Praise, 98)