The importance of working together
by Tom Bayliss (revised, originally published in 2000)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To emphasize the importance of working together.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a chair that has a suitable hole or handle at the top for lifting, and a reel of thin cotton. It would be a good idea to test the practical element of the assembly beforehand to make sure that the chair is heavy enough to break the thread.
- Before the assembly, note some instances around school where one child has helped another to achieve something that they could not manage on their own. Examples could be that one child had their hands full, so another child opened the door for them, or one of the younger children couldn’t put on their jumper because the sleeves were inside out, so an older child helped them.
- Place the chair at the front of the room.
Ask for a volunteer: someone who thinks that they are strong enough to lift up the chair. When the volunteer comes to the front, explain that you want them to pass some thread through the hole/handle at the top of the chair, and then use the thread to lift the chair. (The thread should break; make sure that the chair is not so light that it lifts.)
- Repeat the experiment with two strands of thread, and keep increasing the number of strands until the volunteer finally lifts the chair without the thread breaking. You may wish to tie thread around different parts of the chair and ask different children to hold each thread and try to lift the chair together, until they eventually succeed.
Each time a new strand of thread is added, ask the watching children whether they think that the chair will lift.
- Explain that although the volunteer(s) couldn’t lift the chair by using a single strand of cotton, they could do it when there were several strands together.
Talk about how, sometimes in life, we have difficult things to do or hard decisions to make. Quite often, we can’t do them on our own. However, if we have people alongside us to help and encourage us, we can often achieve far more together.
- Christians believe that the Bible teaches that there is great strength to be found in sharing each other’s problems and in praying for each other. They believe that the Bible teaches that we are never alone, because God is always with us and he will help us every time we ask.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to think about a time when they couldn’t do something on their own, but when someone helped them, they achieved what they had hoped for. One example might be when a younger child couldn’t get their coat on, but another child helped them.
Listen to a range of responses.
Tell the children about the examples that you have seen around school, where some children helped others to achieve their goal.
Encourage the children to look actively for ways to help others today.
Sometimes, life is full of happy things, but sometimes, life is difficult.
Thank you for our friends who share things with us and help us.
Thank you that wherever we are and whatever we are doing,
You are always there for us and you are always ready to listen.
‘The Climb’ from Hannah Montana: The Movie, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmUGwK_43Tk