Growing in Confidence
Gaining confidence to grow in wisdom, knowledge and skills
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Key Stage 2 - Church Schools
To support the Church of England’s first value in its vision for education: ‘Educating for wisdom, knowledge and skills’.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Growing in Confidence) and the means to display them.
- The story of Gideon is found in Judges 6-7.
- Show Slide 1.
Explain that today’s assembly is going to consider how confident we feel about doing different things, and what we might do to become a bit more confident.
If possible, share something that you feel confident about doing, and something that you feel less confident about doing.
- Show Slide 2.
Remind the children that all of us will feel confident about different things because we are all different people.
- Explain that you are going to read out some scenarios and you want the children to put their thumbs up if they feel confident about them and their thumbs down if they feel unconfident. They may want to place their thumbs in a horizontal position if they are not sure how they feel.
Read out the following scenarios:
- Knowing the 4 times table.
- Asking for help because we don’t understand something.
- Asking a lonely person to play with us at play time.
- Doing a forward roll in PE.
- Reading out loud in front of the class.
- Making friends.
- Show Slide 3.
Point out that everyone has some things that they don’t feel confident about. However, we can often find ways to become more confident, which can help us to become better learners.
- Explain that the following story comes from the Old Testament part of the Bible and is about a man called Gideon. At the beginning of the story, Gideon isn’t very confident about anything, but by the end, he has learnt lots of things and become much more confident.
The Story of Gideon
The Israelites were feeling sad and scared because some powerful people called the Midianites kept attacking their land and taking their things. One of the Israelites, Gideon, was very frightened and had hidden in his father’s wine press in the hope that no one would find him. Suddenly, an angel appeared to him and said, ‘Hey, mighty man, the Lord is with you! I’m sending you out to defeat the Midianites!’
Gideon didn’t feel at all confident about this. ‘I can’t do that!’ he said. ‘I’m the smallest one of the weakest clan in Israel!’
But the angel replied, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll do it together.’
Feeling a little more confident, Gideon asked God for a sign that he really was talking to him: little, old Gideon. God did just that: he sent down fire to burn up some meat and bread to prove that he really was God.
Gideon’s first task was to destroy all the altars that had been put up to other gods. He still wasn’t feeling that confident, so he did it in the middle of the night when no one could see him, but God didn’t seem to mind. Gideon, however, was still not sure that he could defeat the Midianites, so he asked God for another sign and God obliged with not just one, but two special signs for Gideon.
Gaining in confidence, Gideon gathered all the men from his tribe around him with the intention of defeating the Midianite army. However, to his dismay, God said that there were now too many soldiers in his army. First, God told Gideon to send home every man who was scared. Next, God told Gideon to take the rest of the men down to a nearby stream. He instructed Gideon to separate the men who lapped up the water with their tongues like dogs, from the ones who got down on their knees to drink. God told Gideon to send home the ones who got down on their knees to drink and keep the ones who scooped up water in their hands and lapped it quickly so that they would be ready to fight. That left only 300 men.
God could see that Gideon was starting to lose confidence, so he told him to creep down to the enemy camp at night with his servant and listen to what they were saying. Gideon overheard one of the enemies talking about a dream where Gideon defeated them all and this finally gave Gideon the confidence he needed.
Back at his camp, Gideon gave each soldier a trumpet, an empty jar and a torch. He told the soldiers to follow him and do what he said. When they got to the edge of the camp, all the soldiers blew their trumpets, broke the jars that were in their hands and shouted, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’
The Midianites woke up with such a start that they couldn’t work out what was happening, so they started attacking each other and running away from their camp. Gideon, who once lacked so much confidence, had defeated the entire Midianite army with just 300 men – and God’s help!
Time for reflection
Show Slide 4.
Ask the children what they can learn from this story to help them to become more confident learners.
Listen to a range of responses.
Suggest the following ideas to the children.
- Gideon wanted to learn new things, but he needed lots of reassurance from God along the way. We should not be scared to admit that we need reassurance, and we should not be afraid to ask for help.
- God didn’t mind Gideon asking him lots of things; it helped Gideon to learn new skills. We should never be afraid to ask questions.
- Gideon not only learnt new skills, he also learnt to trust God. Christians believe that we can trust God, too.
Encourage the children to sit quietly and think about one area they would like to feel more confident about. Encourage them to speak to someone about this if they feel that it would help them to gain confidence.
Show Slide 5.
Please help us when we are not feeling confident about something.
Please help us to ask for help.
Please help us to find ways of becoming confident so that we can continue to learn new skills.
‘Strength’ by Ishmael, featuring T-Girl and DJ Skillzy (from It’s party time (Children’s Ministry), 2004)
‘Be bold, be strong’ by Morris Chapman, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQeCJ9EgLXQ (1.51 minutes long)