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Keeping Going

To think about perseverance and the value of keeping going

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To think about perseverance and the value of 'keeping going'.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a pack of cards.
  • Before the assembly ask a colleague if they will construct a house of cards in front of the school as part of the assembly. During the assembly you will 'accidentally' knock it down. When that happens, they are to calmly start again.


  1. Invite a colleague to the front of the assembly. Ask them to build a house of cards two or three levels high.

    While they are doing this, start to tell the story below. Half-way through your story you should 'accidentally' knock the cards over. Apologize and carry on with your story. The colleague should build the house of cards again, hopefully achieving this as you end your story. Tell the story as dramatically as possible, as there are two things for the children to concentrate on!

  2. Tell the story.

    Once upon a time there was a piece of iron which was very strong. One after another, the axe, the saw, the hammer and the flame tried to break it.

    'I'll master it,' said the axe. The axe's blows fell heavily on the iron, but every blow made its edge blunter. The axe gave up and stopped striking the iron.

    'Leave it to me,' said the saw. The saw worked backwards and forwards on the iron's surface until its jagged teeth were all worn and broken. Then it too fell aside.

    'Ah!' said the hammer. 'I knew you wouldn't succeed. I'll show you the way.' But at the first fierce blow, off flew the hammer's head and the iron remained unmarked.

    'Shall I try?' asked the small, soft flame.

    'Forget it,' the others all replied. 'What can you do?'

    But the flame curled around the iron, embraced it, and never left the iron until it melted.

  3. Point out how sometimes, even though we seem weak, if we keep going we really can achieve things that might seem impossible.

  4. Point out how the 'builder' has kept going making the house of cards, even though the cards fell down. Point out that Christians believe that God is patient and keeps going with us. He loves us so much that even when we seem to be getting nowhere he will keep trying to build us up. Thank the card-building colleague.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to be quiet and think of something they find difficult, and quietly ask God for the strength to keep going.

Dear God,
Thank you that you never give up on us.
Please help us to keep going
even when we feel small and weak.


'If I had a hammer' (Come and Praise, 71)

Publication date: May 2003   (Vol.5 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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