Think Before You Speak
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect on the effect that our words can have on other people.
Preparation and materials
You will need volunteers from staff and children to take part in the question-and-answer session and the ‘Yes/No’ game.
You will also need four volunteers, each holding a card with one word from the following: THINK FIRST SPEAK SECOND
Begin the assembly by introducing two of the volunteers. Explain that they are going to answer some simple questions about themselves. After some introductory questions such as ‘When is your birthday?’ or ‘What is your favourite food?’, ask questions that require the answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, such as ‘Do you like ice cream?’ or ‘Do you enjoy going on holiday?’
Invite two other volunteers to come to the front. Ask these volunteers to answer similar questions, but explain that, this time, they are not allowed to use the words ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ in their answers. If they do, they will be out of the game. Try to make it difficult for the volunteers by asking the type of question that makes it almost impossible to answer without saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. You may wish to allow other volunteers to have a go at this game.
Ask the children if they noticed any difference between how the two sets of volunteers answered the questions. Establish that the second set had to think carefully before answering to avoid falling into the trap.
Invite four volunteers to the front and ask each of them to read out the word on their card. Ask all of the children to read the cards together. Ask the children what they think the phrase, ‘Think first, speak second’ means.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask the children whether they can remember a time when they have spoken without thinking. Share examples and establish some of the following statements.
- Speaking without thinking can sometimes be hurtful.
- Speaking without thinking can sometimes lead to friends falling out with each other.
- If someone speaks first and thinks second, they can't take their words back, even if they want to.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to sit quietly and listen to the words of a short prayer.
Help us to think about the words we say.
Help us to say sorry when we have said unkind words, or when we have spoken words that we later regret.
Help us to try our best to ‘Think first, speak second’.
‘He made me’ (Come and Praise, 18)
Design and technology. Design a poster to promote the slogan, ‘Think first, speak second’.
English. Read some traditional stories in which key characters have spoken first and thought about their words later. One example is King Midas, who said that he wanted everything that he touched to be turned to gold. Write a modern story to convey the message, ‘Think first, speak second’.