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If Speaking Is Silver . . .

Listening is important!

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To encourage us to be good listeners.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Explain that there is an old Turkish proverb that goes, ‘If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.’

    Ask the children what they think this saying means.

    Suggest that it means that, although it is very important to talk to other people, it is even more important to listen to them.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and discuss why it is important to listen to other people, and what makes a good listener.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Explain that you are going to tell a story from the Bible. Explain that there are many stories about children in the Bible. These stories teach us that God values children highly and often has important jobs for them to do. The story is about a little boy called Samuel who was a very good listener. Encourage the children to listen carefully and try to spot what important job God had for Samuel to do.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    The Story of Samuel and Eli

    A long time ago, there lived a lady called Hannah. Hannah was very sad because she could not have a baby. She prayed to God about this for a long time until eventually she gave birth to a baby boy. Hannah and her husband named the baby Samuel. To say thank you to God for her son, Hannah took Samuel to the temple to live with a priest called Eli when Samuel was still quite a young boy. Samuel stayed with Eli and served in the temple, the place where the people came to worship God. At night, Eli slept at one end of the temple and Samuel slept at the other.

    One night, Samuel woke up with a start because he heard someone calling his name.

    Ask the children to call out, ‘Samuel, Samuel’ all together.

    Samuel scrambled out of bed and ran to Eli’s bed. ‘Here I am! You called me!’ he said.
    ‘No, I didn’t,’ said Eli. ‘Go back to bed!’
    Samuel went back to sleep. 
    However, soon after, Samuel woke up again because he heard the same voice calling out his name.

    Ask the children to call out, ‘Samuel, Samuel’ all together, but a bit louder this time.

    Samuel ran back to Eli, but Eli told him, ‘I really didn’t call you, Samuel! Go back to bed and get some sleep!’
    Just
     as Samuel was drifting off to sleep, he heard his name being called a third time.

    Ask the children to call out, ‘Samuel, Samuel’ all together, very loudly this time!

    This time, Eli realized that it was God who was calling Samuel. When Samuel arrived at Eli’s bed, Eli said, ‘Go back to bed, but if you hear the voice again, say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

    Samuel trotted back to bed and before long, he heard his name being called again.

    Ask the children to call out, ‘Samuel, Samuel’ all together, very loudly this time!

    Just as Eli had told him to, Samuel replied, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’ And God did speak to Samuel, even though he was only a child. God gave Samuel the first of many special messages to give to Eli, messages about his family and about the future. They were often quite difficult messages, but because Samuel was sure that these messages came from God, he always passed them on.

    God started speaking to Samuel when he was just a boy, and giving him messages to pass on to the people, but it was also a job that God had for him to do for the rest of his life.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 4.

Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and discuss the question on the slide.

- How do you think Samuel felt when he woke up in the night and heard someone calling his name, especially as it happened four times?

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that it must have been rather strange for Samuel to hear someone calling his name, but fairly natural for him to assume that Eli needed him. However, when it happened three more times, he must have wondered what was going on! He must have been amazed when he realized that it was God speaking to him, even though he was only a child.

Samuel’s good listening led him to be a special messenger. Encourage the children to be good listeners, and to use their listening skills to help and support other people.

Show Slide 5 and read out the poem clearly.

Show Slide 6.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you spoke to Samuel when he was still a child.
Please help us all to be good listeners like Samuel.
Help us to make time to listen to others.
Help us to remember that listening is often much more important than speaking.
Amen.

Song/music

 ‘God gave me ears’ by Julie Booth (Thankyou Music, 2001)

Publication date: March 2017   (Vol.19 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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