The Box of Ultimate Happiness
What makes us truly happy?
by Kirk Hayles
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the things that make us happy in life.
Preparation and materials
You will need a box labelled ‘big box of happiness’ that contains items that the children will recognize as important to you, such as chocolate, your favourite book and your mobile.
This assembly works best if the children have some knowledge of your likes and dislikes. If this is not the case, you can adapt the assembly so that you give the children clues about what is in the box.
You will also need a smaller box labelled ‘little box of ultimate happiness’ that contains items that are particularly meaningful to you, but are of little monetary value, such as a photograph of your child as a baby and a shell that you found on a beach on a special holiday.
Before the assembly, place both boxes so that the children can see them, but make sure that the larger box is more obvious.
Show the children the larger box and explain that the items inside the box are things that make you happy. Ask the children to guess what is inside the box. If the children do not know you well, you may wish to give clues, such as ‘Many people like eating this and I like it as a treat after a hard day at school.’
Go through each item, emphasizing how each thing makes you happy.
When you have been through all the items in the larger box, become even more excited as you move towards the smaller box - the little box of ultimate happiness.
Point out that, although this box is only small, its contents are even more important to you than those in the larger box.
Ask the children if they can guess what is inside the smaller box.
Go through each item, emphasizing why it is so special to you and telling its story.
Point out that the objects in the smaller box have hardly any monetary value. To most people, they would seem unimportant, but to you they are massively important.
Ask the children if they have similar items. Ask them, ‘What would you put in your box of ultimate happiness?’
Time for reflection
Sometimes, we can become so preoccupied with wanting things that we haven’t got that we fail to see those things that are most special and important in life. Sometimes, we feel jealous because other people have possessions that we do not have. Maybe they have a big house, a new car or designer clothes, or they go away on amazing holidays. However, although these things are lovely to have, they will not bring anyone ultimate happiness. The things that bring the most happiness to our lives usually cost little or no money. They are often things that involve special people - such as family, friends and people who care for us - or memories.
Ask the children to think about their own box of ultimate happiness. Are there people in that box for whom they could do something special to show them how much they matter?
Teach us not to want more and more things, but to treasure the most important things in life.
Help us to recognize the things in life that hold true value,
The things that bring real happiness such as wonderful experiences and memories,
And special people such as family and friends.
‘I’m special’ (Mission Praise, 325)