All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Our attitudes to our possessions matter
by Hilary Karen
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to appreciate what is of true value in life.
Preparation and materials
You will need a nicely wrapped box containing something that has sentimental value, but little monetary value. For example, a family photo, a childhood toy, something you made as a child or an old, precious book.
You will need to display the proverb ‘All that glitters is not gold’ for use during the assembly.
You may wish to use the following Bible verse (Luke 12.15): ‘And he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."’
Ask the children to name the most valuable thing that they have ever seen.
Listen to a range of answers.
Ask the children to think about the most valuable thing that they have in their house and to keep that object in mind during the assembly.
Explain that you are going to show them something that is of great value and comes from your home. Show the box to the children, making a show of handling it with reverence and care. You may like to lay it on a cloth as if it is very precious. Explain that, for you, what the box contains is one of the most valuable things that you own. Tell the children where you keep it to ensure that it is safe and how often you take it out to look at it. Ask the children to guess what is in the box.
Slowly open the box and show the children what is inside. Explain why the contents are so important to you.
Display the words ‘All that glitters is not gold’ on the screen. Point out that this is a very old saying that was first used by Geoffrey Chaucer, a well-known English poet who was born in 1343. However, it is William Shakespeare who gave us the version that we use today. Shakespeare originally wrote, ‘All that glisters is not gold’, but the word ‘glisters’ has changed to ‘glitters’ over time.
Explain that the possession that was inside the box is far more important to you than gold or silver jewellery, because it brings you so much joy when you look at it. The memories associated with the object are irreplaceable. Even though the object may look dull and old, it actually adds sparkle and glitter to your life and you would never want to lose it. Other people might see the object as tatty, old or rubbish, and may even suggest that you throw it away, but you want to keep it forever! Point out that most people have treasures and keepsakes that they have collected through their lives, things that are truly valuable in their eyes.
Read the verse from Luke 12.15: ‘And he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."’
Explain that it is not wrong to have lovely possessions – we all like to have nice things! However, often, the most precious and valuable things in life are not ones that are worth a lot of money. Often, people and memories are worth a lot more than possessions.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to imagine that they have a box similar to the one that you showed them. Explain that it is magic and can contain anything or anyone of any size.
Ask the children to spend a few moments quietly thinking about what they value most. What would they put inside the box?
Thank you for the treasures of our families, our friends, our homes and our school.
Thank you for people who love us and keep us safe and warm.
Please help us to recognize the things in our lives that truly matter.
Please help us to treat them as valuable.