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A New Start

There’s always a second chance

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To explore the endless opportunities we have to start all over again.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:

    - a young man experiencing failure on the football pitch, available at: https://tinyurl.com/ycmmulw4
    - an angry girl shouting at a boy, available at: http://tinyurl.com/ya8sl7y4
    - a dog in a room that he has trashed, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y7xqnuxp

  • You will also need to display the words, ‘Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it began to fly.’

  • Optional: you may wish to display an image of the life cycle of a butterfly, in which case, you will also need the means to do so. Several images are available at: www.kidsbutterfly.org/life-cycle

Assembly

  1. January tends to be the time when we attempt to turn over a new leaf, making resolutions to make new starts. Our resolution might be to work harder at school, to watch less TV, to keep our bedroom tidy or to do more exercise.

    Invite a few children to share any resolutions they have made.

    However, I wonder what our success rate is!

  2. Now, Im going to tell you about three situations. For each one, were going to consider what has happened, and what we think should happen next.

    First, lets meet Mike. His resolution for 2018 was that he was going to improve his football. He would practise hard every week and not miss any training sessions, even early morning ones in the rain. He would score brilliant goals and make his team proud of him. He might even become a football star!

    Show the image of a young man experiencing failure on the football pitch.

    What do you think has happened? How is Mike feeling? What could he do now?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggest that Mike has a choice: he can either give up, or get over it and start again.

  3. Emma’s resolution for 2018 was that she was going to control her anger. Her brother kept annoying her, her big sister kept teasing her and her mum was always on at her to tidy her room. She would count to 10, stay calm and let it all wash over her.

    Show the image of an angry girl shouting at a boy.

    What do you think has happened? How is Emma feeling? What could she do now?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggest that Emma has a choice: she can either give up, or get over it and start again.

  4. Now, lets meet Skip. He was a lovely dog, but he had an unfortunate habit of chewing the furniture, among other things. His owners resolution for Skip in 2018 was that Skip was not going to chew the furniture, the cushions, the football or Dad’s paper, even though it might be much more fun! Instead, Skips owner would train him to chew only his bone and the old slipper in his bed.

    Show the image of a dog in a room that he has trashed.

    What do you think has happened? How is Skip feeling? What could he do now?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggest that Skip and his owner have a choice: they can either give up, or get over it and start again.

  5. New starts are not easy. A new start suggests that there is something to put right or to improve, some area in which we may have failed before. At first, we might have a lot of enthusiasm and be encouraged by small successes. However, as time goes on, we might forget and fail so that, before we know it, we have given up. We have failed to achieve our hopes, which can often lead us to think that its all doom and gloom.

  6. Show the words, ‘Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it began to fly.’

    Ask the children what they think these words mean. Make sure that they understand the process of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. If necessary, use the information available at: www.kidsbutterfly.org/life-cycle

    Listen to a range of responses.

  7. Explain that, like the caterpillar, life can have its low points for us, too. This is true for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest, from the poorest to the richest. Failing to achieve can make us feel down.

  8. Point out that caterpillars have a struggle to emerge from their cocoons. This struggle is what gives them their beautiful colouring. If we poked a cocoon to help the butterfly inside on its way, it would be a limp and colourless butterfly.

    The beautiful butterfly has wonderful days ahead, soaring in summer breezes, flitting from one scented flower to another. Things are about to get a lot better!

  9. It is the same for us. Trying to make a new start is always worth it. Like the caterpillar, we will change in the process. And let’s remember that there is no limit to the new starts that we can have.

Time for reflection

Think for a few moments about Mike, Emma, Skip and his owner.

Should they give up? Or should they get over their failure and make a new start?

What about your resolutions?

What will you do if you fail?

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that each new day is a day full of opportunities.
Thank you that each new year is full of opportunities to try new things and to have a fresh start.
Please help us when we make mistakes and fail to achieve our hopes and dreams.
Help us to shake off any doom and gloom and get up and get going again.
Amen.

Publication date: January 2018   (Vol.20 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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