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Who Is in Charge?

Being responsible for our actions

by Revd Oliver Harrison (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To explore the idea of free will and taking responsibility for our choices.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available a remote control and some puppets.


  1. Ask the children who they think is in charge in a range of settings such as a classroom, a sports club and the UK itself.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Play the game, Simon Says. Explain that it’s Simon who’s in charge, not you, and we only do what Simon says.

  3. Show the remote control to the children.

    Explain what a remote control is and what it does. For example, you could use the remote control on yourself by talking about the mute button, pointing the remote control at yourself, pressing mute and then moving your mouth and gesturing while making no sound. Alternatively, you could use the fast-forward button in a similar way by making yourself walk much faster than usual, and the rewind button by making yourself walk backwards. Ask a child or teacher to use the stop/pause button on you to keep you still for a moment or two before pressing play again.

    Ask the children if they think God controls the world in this way, by using a remote control.

  4. Show the puppets to the children.

    Talk about who’s in charge. If you can, make the puppets move, and then imitate them yourself. Ask the children if they think God controls us like that.

  5. Explain that Christians and people of other faiths believe that God gives us free will and a mind of our own. However, God also wants us to love and do good to other people.

    Go on to talk about choices and decisions. What will we choose today?

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about the following poem as it is read.

At every point in every day,
We can choose a different way.
Choose to be friendly, caring and helpful
Or choose to be selfish, mean or spiteful.
We have the choice, no one else will choose
How we behave when we win or lose
When things go well or don’t go our way.
At every point in every day
We can choose a different way.

Dear God,
Thank you that we have free will to choose what we will and will not do.
Help us to think carefully about every decision we make today.
Help us to take other people into account when we make our decisions.


‘It’s a new day’ (Come and Praise, 106)

Publication date: April 2018   (Vol.20 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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