Donít Judge by Appearances!
What are people like on the inside?
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage children not to judge others by their appearance.
Preparation and materials
You will need an adult to help the children in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1 and also to answer the questions in Step 4. Make sure that the adult knows the correct answers to the questions in Step 4!
You will need to familiarize yourself with the story of Jesus welcoming the little children. This is found in Matthew 19.13-15, or you can use the version provided in the assembly.
Explain that you need two volunteers - choose children who don’t know each other well. Explain that they have two minutes to find out as much as they can about each other and then they will tell the rest of the children what they have found out! Ask the volunteers to move to the back of the room with the adult whom you have organized.
While the two children are finding out about each other, ask the remaining children to turn to the person on either side of them and ask them some questions along the lines of the following examples.
- What is your favourite food?
- Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
- What do you like doing most at school?
Invite the two volunteers to the front and help them to tell the rest of the children what they have discovered about each other.
Explain that, because the adult has been at the back of the room helping the two volunteers, you are going to ask the adult a few questions about the children!
Ask the adult the following questions.
- Who do you think is more important: the older child or the younger child? (Answer: neither is more important.)
- Do you think the taller child is more important? (Answer: neither is more important.)
- In general, do you think children who find academic work easy are better than ones who struggle with their work? (Answer: it makes no difference to how important someone is.)
- Do you think children who are good at sport are better than children who find sport more difficult? (Answer: it makes no difference to how important someone is.)
Point out that sometimes we look at people and judge them by their age, appearance, clothes and so on. However, what really matters is not what someone looks like or even what they are good at doing. What really matters is what they are like on the inside – the qualities that you can’t see in a person until you get to know them.
There is a story in the Bible where some of Jesus’ friends look at a group of children and see them in a very different way to Jesus.
Either read the story in Matthew 19.13-15 or read the story below.
Jesus had been travelling around the countryside with his special friends, the disciples, telling people about God and teaching them how to live better lives. Many people came to listen to Jesus, especially people who were ill because they knew that Jesus could make them better. One day, however, a different group of people came to see Jesus. Some parents brought their children to see Jesus. They had heard what a special person he was and they just wanted Jesus to place his hand on their children and pray a prayer of blessing for them.
When the disciples saw the parents, they became cross.
‘Take all those children away,’ they scolded. ‘Can’t you see that Jesus is busy healing grown-ups? He hasn’t got time for all these children!’
Jesus overheard what the disciples had said and he became cross with them.
‘Why aren't you letting these children come to me?’ he said in an angry voice.
Then Jesus turned to the children with a big smile and said in a very kind voice, ‘Come on, all of you, come and see me – you are all welcome.’
Jesus turned back to the adults and his voice was firm, but not so angry now. He said to them, ‘Never stop any children from coming to me. They are as important to me as anyone else. In fact, God would like us all to be like these children and to love him like they do.’
Then Jesus stretched out his hand and prayed a prayer of blessing for the children before they all ran happily back to their parents.
Point out that, even though Jesus was very busy and famous, he still had time for children. He didn’t see them as less important because they were young or small. He saw that, on the inside, the children were very special. Remind the children that in school, every child is special and cared for. Each has gifts and qualities that are special to them. They are all a valuable part of the school community.
Time for reflection
Sometimes, it is easy to look at other people and make judgements about them because of what they look like. Let’s make a special effort to get to know people in school before we form an opinion about them. Let’s always give people a chance to become our friends; whatever they look like on the outside.
Thank you that you care about children.
Thank you that Jesus welcomed children and did not send them away.
Thank you that each of us is special in some way.
Please help us to take the time to get to know people before we make judgements about them.
Please help us to always treat people who are different from us with respect.
‘Man looks on the outside’ by Vineyard Kids, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoQwSChEhtU