Builder Or Bulldozer
Do you build people up or knock them down?
by Becky May
Suitable for Key Stage 1
To encourage children to think about the words they say and the things that they do, so that they encourage their peers and build their confidence.
Preparation and materials
- Print out a picture of a bulldozer and a picture of person who works as a builder (ideally a man and a woman).
- Gather together some building blocks.
- Good morning. Today, we're going to be thinking about the different things you might find on a building site. Can you think of the names of any vehicles that you might see working on a building site?
(Invite the children to suggest the names of any construction-site vehicles that they can remember, such as digger, dump truck, roller, cement mixer etc.)
Do you know what different jobs any of those vehicles do?
(Spend a few moments talking about the different vehicles as identified by the children, and the different jobs that they do on a construction site.)
Some things on a site are used to knock down things that were already there, or used to clear the ground. Other things are used to build up the new roads, tunnels, bridges or buildings. They are used to construct new things.
This morning, we are thinking about the way that some things build up, and other things knock down. I want to ask you, Are you are a builder or a bulldozer?
(Hold up the two pictures to show the children, and keep them on view as you continue.)
Bulldozers are used to knock down, to push things out of the way and clear the ground. They are destructive, used to get rid of things. That reminds me of the way that we can be sometimes. We say unkind words, perhaps we criticize others for doing things in a different way from us, or perhaps we cut people out of the games that we play. That makes us like a bulldozer, pushing our friends down and not being very constructive.
It would be better if we could be more like a builder: building people up by encouraging them, saying kind things, praising people when they do something well, making sure that people feel included and welcomed.
- (Take out the building blocks and begin to stack them up as a tower, as you continue.)
When we say kind things to people, we build them up and make them feel better; perhaps we make them feel welcome when we say 'hello' in the morning. If we see them playing by themselves, we could invite them to join in our games. We might see them trying really hard when they are working in our lesson, so we could say well done' to encourage them. Every time we do these things, we build them up and make them feel happy, proud and confident. That would make us a 'builder’, building other people up.
I think it would be great if we could have a school full of builders; a place where every day we looked out for ways to make other people feel happy and confident. That would be so much better than being like a bulldozer, crushing people with unkind and insulting words.
Time for reflection
Let us make ourselves really quiet and think for a moment. I wonder how you feel when someone says something hurtful or rude to you, or perhaps they treated you unkindly, by excluding you from their games or not working nicely with you. That's how it feels to be on the receiving end of a bulldozer! Now, who knows how it feels to be treated kindly, to have people say 'well done' to you when you work hard or perhaps have somebody try extra hard to be a good friend to you? That's what it means to be a builder; it's so much better for all of us!
In the Bible, in one of the letters to the early Church, it says we should 'Encourage one another and build each other up' (1 Thessalonians 5.11). This is just what we have been talking about today.
Thank you for our friends and for our school community.
Thank you for the different ways that we can encourage each other, by speaking kindly and by showing kindness to others.
Help us all to be builders, building each other up to be the best that we can be.
‘Love is something if you give it away / Magic Penny’ (Malvina Reynolds)