by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to acknowledge our own and others’ talents (SEAL theme: Good to be me).
Preparation and materials
- Prepare an image showing the three points listed in the ‘Time for reflection’ section at the end and have the means to display it during the assembly (optional).
- Familiarize yourself with the song ‘May God’s blessing be upon you now’ by Chris Kipling, Kids Praise Party Bumper Digi-Songbook (Spring Harvest, 2012). If you know or can learn the Makaton signs for some of the words, then sing a verse, sign a verse and finish by singing a verse. Alternatively, you could choose a song from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
1. Explain that today the focus will be on thinking about our special talents – the things that we are really good at and make each of us special.
2. Tell the children about some of your special talents or those of some of your friends or family. Then ask, ‘How about all of you? Turn to the person next to you and talk about some of your special talents.’
Take some of the children’s responses.
3. Say that you are going to tell them a story from the Bible. This story is from the Old Testament part of the Bible and is about a young man called Joseph.
Joseph’s special talent
Joseph had rather an unusual talent: he could work out what other people’s dreams meant. At first, this talent did not make him very popular, but, in time, he used it to help many people.
Joseph was the youngest of 12 brothers, but he was not very popular with them because he was his dad’s favourite. His dad, Jacob, bought him a very special coat of many different colours and his brothers’ jealousy grew.
Joseph also had some dreams that made him even more unpopular with his brothers. He dreamt that all 12 of them were bundles of wheat and the bundles of wheat bowed down and worshipped the bundle of wheat that was him. Then he dreamt that they were all stars and, similarly, the stars bowed down and worshipped him as though he were a king.
His brothers hated him so much after these dreams that they sold him as a slave, put some goat’s blood on his special coat and took it back to their father, Jacob, telling him that Joseph had been killed. Jacob was so sad that he could not stop crying.
Meanwhile, Joseph arrived in Egypt and worked hard for a man called Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife was rather jealous of Joseph and had him thrown into prison. This was really hard for Joseph, but his special talent for knowing what dreams meant came in very handy there. A fellow prisoner had a dream about some grapes and Joseph told him that he would soon be leaving prison, which is exactly what happened. Another prisoner had a dream about some loaves of bread and Joseph told him that he would soon be killed by the king and, unfortunately, this also happened.
Not long after this, the king of Egypt started having some dreams and nobody could work out what they meant, so Joseph was brought from the prison to see if he could. Joseph told the king that his dream about seven fat cows and seven skinny cows meant that there would be seven years of excellent crops followed by seven years of famine, so the king should store up food for his people during the seven years of good crops.
The king was so impressed with Joseph’s talent for working out what his dream meant that he released him from prison immediately.
Seven years of good crops were indeed followed by seven years of famine, but the people of Egypt were saved because the king had taken Joseph’s advice and put him in charge of storing up plenty of food during the good years.
Where Joseph’s family lived, however, there was famine. All their food ran out and they were starving. Eventually, Jacob sent Joseph’s brothers all the way to Egypt to buy flour for bread.
Joseph recognized them, but pretended he didn’t and gave them a bit of a tough time. His brothers did not recognize Joseph, but did all he asked. Then Joseph told them who he was, that he forgave them and would give them food to eat. He also asked that they send a message to his old dad, Jacob, to tell him his son, Joseph, was still alive.
Time for reflection
This is a very interesting and exciting Bible story and I’ve only told you a short version of it, missing out quite a few of the details.
If appropriate, say that if they want to read the whole story, it can be found in Genesis 37–45.
Why did I choose this story for an assembly about special talents and about the fact that it’s good to be you? There are three main reasons and I would like you to think about them.
Display the image of the list below, if using.
1. Joseph had a rather unusual talent, but it was definitely a talent and it made me wonder if some of you might have an unusual talent.
2. To start with, a lot of people didn’t think that telling others what dreams meant really was a talent. It was only later in the story when others told the king about Joseph that people started to acknowledge the value of his talent and this made me wonder if we sometimes need to acknowledge our own and other people’s talents more than we do.
3. Life was hard for Joseph for a while, but, eventually, when he used his talent to help others, he could definitely say, ‘It’s good to be me!’
Now, I’ve got another idea for you to think about. Turn to the person next to you and talk about this question: ‘How could you help someone else work out what their special talents are?’
Take some of the children’s answers.
I think thatencouragement might be important here!
Thank you that we all have special talents.
Please help us to acknowledge the talents of our friends and family and always use our talents for the good of others.
May God’s blessing be upon you now’ by Chris Kipling, Kids Praise Party Bumper Digi-Songbook (Spring Harvest, 2012)
Song from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat