A Bad Choice!
An assembly in the ‘Hello, Scruff!’ series
by Revd Sylvia Burgoyne
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To consider the idea that angry feelings can lead to bad actions.
Preparation and materials
You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
This is the second in a series of ‘Hello, Scruff!’ assemblies about the life of Joseph. The first assembly in the series, ‘He Makes Me Mad!’, is available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2705/he-makes-me-mad
Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’
If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.
Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!
Do you remember what Lucy Jane’s happy dream was all about? (See the first assembly in this series, ‘He Makes Me Mad!’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2705/he-makes-me-mad)
This morning, when Lucy Jane came into the stable to give Scruff his breakfast, she was rubbing her eyes and yawning. As she was brushing his coat, she whispered gently in Scruff’s ear.
‘I had a horrid dream last night,’ she said quietly. ‘I was walking through a wood. It was dark, and the wind was blowing through the branches of the trees, making eerie noises. Suddenly, I heard footsteps. They were coming nearer and nearer, so I started to run as fast as I could, but I tripped and fell. I was scared and I didn’t dare open my eyes in case I was surrounded by monsters. Then, a hand touched me and a gentle voice said, “Wake up, Lucy Jane! It’s alright. It’s just a bad dream!”
‘It was my mum! She hugged me until I felt better.
‘“Don’t worry,’ she explained. ‘You’ve just had a bad dream. It hasn’t really happened. You’re completely safe.”’
Lucy Jane hugged Scruff.
‘I didn’t want to go back to sleep after that, Scruff,’ continued Lucy Jane. ‘Even though my mum said it was something called a nightmare and it hadn’t actually happened at all, I still felt worried about going back to sleep in case I had another bad dream.’
Scruff nodded his head and nuzzled his nose against Lucy Jane’s neck as if he understood exactly what she meant.
‘Hee haw, hee haw!’ he said very quietly.
Take off Scruff.
I wonder if you have ever had a bad dream.
Listen to a range of responses.
Let’s continue with the story from the Bible about the boy called Joseph.
Joseph’s brothers were fed up with listening to his dreams. Why was he always the star in them? Why did he always think that he was so much more important than they were? Jacob, Joseph’s dad, heard their grumbles and decided to keep Joseph at home on the farm with him, while Joseph’s brothers were sent off into the fields to look after the sheep.
Then, Jacob did something that made Joseph’s brothers even more cross! He gave Joseph a special coat made of brightly coloured cloth. Joseph’s brothers were jealous and angry. They didn’t think it was fair that Joseph should be treated differently from them; they were upset that Joseph was their dad’s favourite.
Ask the children, ‘Do you think Joseph’s brothers were right to be jealous?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Joseph’s brothers were so cross that they began to plan to get rid of Joseph.
One day, when Jacob sent Joseph to take food to his brothers in the fields, the brothers grabbed Joseph and threw him down an old well! While they were considering what to do next, they heard the sound of people travelling along the dusty road. As they looked in the direction of the noise, they saw some travellers who were on their way to Egypt, with their camels loaded with spices that they hoped to sell there. What luck! This was a perfect way of getting rid of Joseph forever. The brothers quickly pulled Joseph out of the well and handed him over to the travellers. Then, they watched as Joseph disappeared along the dusty road. Poor Joseph! His life had become a nightmare; perhaps he would wake up soon, and discover that it had all been a bad dream.
The brothers had got rid of Joseph, but what could they tell their dad? To try to cover up what they had done, they put some animal blood on Joseph’s special coat and took the coat home to show their dad.
‘Look what we found!’ they said to Jacob.
Jacob saw the coat and thought Joseph must have been killed by a wild animal. He cried and cried. The brothers tried to comfort him, but it was no use.
Time for reflection
Do you think the brothers felt sorry and sad when they saw how much they had hurt their dad?
Do you think they were wrong to do what they did?
Should they have tried harder to like their brother, Joseph?
There are times when we don’t find it easy to like everyone. However we feel, though, it is wrong to deliberately hurt people. It is always better to talk about things and try to sort out any problems between people.
Please help us to care for other people.
Please help us when we feel cross or jealous.
Please help us to talk about our problems with someone we trust.
Alternatively, you may wish to use the words of the song, ‘Today’ (Songs for Every Assembly (Out of the Ark Music)), which are as follows.
Today is the day we’ve been given,
To care for everyone,
In all we do, in all we say,
May this day be filled with kindness and with love.
‘Today’ (Songs for Every Assembly (Out of the Ark Music))