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When Things Go Wrong

Learning from our mistakes

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the importance of learning from our mistakes and the importance of forgiveness and perseverance.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the following YouTube videos and the means to show them during the assembly:

    - ‘The Lion King - Run From It Or Learn From It’, available at: (0.58 minutes long). In this clip, Simba realizes that he must learn from his past mistakes and return home to Pride Rock.
    - ‘Peter Denies Jesus Clip (Miracle Maker)’, available at: (1.31 minutes long). In this clip, the disciple, Peter, denies that he knows Jesus.


  1. Start by asking the children to raise their hands if they have ever seen The Lion King.

    Ask if they know the name of the main character. (The answer is Simba.)

    Tell the children that you are going to play a clip from The Lion King. In the film, Simba runs away from his home, Pride Rock, because he thinks that he has done something wrong. When he has grown up, Simba has to make a decision – whether to face up to his past and return home to sort out the problem, or stay where he is.

  2. Show the YouTube video, ‘The Lion King - Run From It Or Learn From It’.

    Ask the children who have seen the film before to raise their hand if they know what happens at the end of the film. At the end, Simba returns home, sorts out his mistakes and becomes King of Pride Rock.

  3. Point out that in the Bible, there are many stories about people who make mistakes. If appropriate, ask the children if they can think of any of the stories. Examples could include the following.

    - Adam and Eve making the decision to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden.
    - Joseph boasting about his coat of many colours and the dreams he had, which led to his brothers selling him into slavery.
    - Jonah trying to get out of doing a job that God wanted him to do and being swallowed by a whale.

    These are just a few examples from many you could choose.

  4. Explain that the next clip is about one of Jesus’ special friends (disciples). Peter was one of Jesus’ first disciples and he spent three years travelling with Jesus and working alongside him. Peter would have been considered one of Jesus’ best friends. Jesus had also told Peter that one day, Peter would be the person who would lead the whole church. However, despite his close friendship with Jesus, Peter sometimes made big mistakes.

  5. In the clip, Jesus has been arrested and Peter has followed Jesus and the soldiers to the place where he has been taken. However, Peter ends up saying three times that he doesn’t know Jesus at all. This is something that Jesus had said Peter would do . . . but Peter was sure that his prediction would never come true.

    Show the YouTube video, ‘Peter Denies Jesus Clip (Miracle Maker)’.

  6. Ask the following questions.

    - Why do you think Peter denied knowing Jesus? (Answer: Peter was scared, fearful and frightened for his own life and he didn’t want Jesus to die.)
    - How do you think Peter felt after he denied knowing Jesus? (Answer: Peter would have felt dreadful, upset with himself, let down, cross, angry, miserable, gloomy and dejected.)

  7. Explain that following this part of the story, Jesus died and then came back to life again. For the next 40 days, he appeared to the disciples a few times and taught them about why he had to die on the cross. Just before Jesus returned to heaven, the disciples and Jesus had breakfast together on the beach. After the meal, Jesus did an amazing thing. He took Peter for a walk along the beach and made it clear that although he knew Peter had let him down, he forgave him and he still had important work for Peter to do. Having this forgiveness enabled Peter to move on with his life in a positive way. Peter ended up travelling around the Roman Empire teaching people about Jesus.

  8. Being able to forgive people who have made mistakes is an important skill. Not only does it help us to learn from our own mistakes, but it makes people feel better, especially if they’ve been feeling miserable or cross since they made their mistake.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about a time when they have made a mistake. This could be at school or at home.

Discuss the following important points.

- When we realize that we have made a mistake, it is important not to repeat the same mistake again because it can become a bad habit.
It’s always best to say sorry and sort out a mistake straightaway.
If somebody apologizes to us for making a mistake, it’s always best to accept their apology and move on in a positive way.
Anybody can make a mistake!
Christians believe that it is important to admit our mistakes to God. They believe that when we get things wrong, we can say sorry and God will always forgive us. This means that we can have a fresh start and learn from our mistakes in the hope that we can avoid repeating them.

Dear God,
Thank you for our friends, our school and our families.
Thank you for the opportunities we have to learn new things in and out of school.
Thank you for all the staff and family members who celebrate our achievements, but can also help us to sort out our mistakes.
We pray that when we know that we have made a mistake, we will be quick to say sorry.
We pray that we will be quick to learn from our mistakes.
We pray that we will be quick to forgive others when they make mistakes that affect our lives.


‘He’s got the whole world’ (Come and Praise, 19)

Publication date: August 2018   (Vol.20 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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