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Respect!

How do we treat other people?

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To support the Church of Englands fourth value in its vision for education: ‘Educating for dignity and respect’.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Respect!) and the means to display them.

  • The story of Elijah and the widow’s oil can be found in 1 Kings 17.7-16, which is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ybp7z8qs

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Explain that in today’s assembly, we are going to be thinking about treating other people with respect.

    Ask if anyone can explain what it means to treat someone with respect.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Thank the children for their answers and point out that saying ‘thank you’ is in itself a way of showing respect.

    Point out that the childrens answers suggest that treating people with respect is a good thing to do, something that involves being kind to others and making them feel worthwhile.

  3. Show Slide 2.

    Ask the children to think about whether, in general, people are treated with respect in this school, in their families and on TV or YouTube.

    Comment that unfortunately, we don’t always see people treating others with respect. However, it is a good thing always to keep respect at the forefront of our minds.

  4. Explain that there are several stories in the Bible that Christians believe highlight how much God values showing respect for others.

  5. Show Slide 3.

    Explain that the following story comes from the Old Testament part of the Bible and contains three characters.

    - A man called Elijah who was a prophet, which means someone who heard God speaking and told others what he was saying.
    - A poor widow who worshipped different things from Elijah. Both of these things would have made her a bit of an outsider at the time, so she would largely have been ignored.
    - The widow’s son - he was just plain hungry!

  6. The Story of Elijah

    It hadnt rained for ages and Elijah was starting to feel hungry and thirsty.
    ‘Don’t worry,’ said God. ‘Go to a town called Zarephath. I’ve told a widow who lives there to give you some food.’

    (Point out that it is interesting that God had already spoken to someone whom most people would have no time for.)

    Just as God had said, when Elijah arrived at the town, he saw the widow gathering sticks for a fire.
    ‘Excuse me,’ he said. ‘Please could you bring me a drink of water – and a piece of bread, too?’
    ‘Im sorry,’ replied the woman, ‘but I don’t have any bread. All I’ve got is a handful of flour and a little oil in this jug. I’m picking up these sticks to make a fire, and then I’ll make some bread with the flour and the oil so that my son and I can have one final meal before we die.’

    (Point out that it didnt seem to occur to Elijah to think, ‘Oh dear, I must have got the wrong widow.’)

    ‘Don’t be afraid!’ Elijah said to the widow. ‘Go home and make the bread, and then bring me a piece, but keep some for you and your son as well. God has promised that the flour will not be used up nor will the oil run dry until the day that he sends rain on the land.’

    Ask the children, ‘How do you think the widow would have felt when she heard Elijah’s words?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggest that the widow could have had several thoughts.

    - ‘Can I trust this man’s words? Will the flour and the oil really last that long?’
    - ‘I’ve got nothing to lose, so I’ll do it anyway.’
    - ‘Why has God chosen me, a poor widow, to provide food for Elijah the prophet?’

    Explain that we don’t know what she really thought, but the story continues . . .

    When the widow heard Elijah’s words, she returned to her house, made the bread and gave some to Elijah. Then, the widow made some more bread . . . and then more . . . and then more . . .

    As Elijah had promised, the oil and the flour did not run out until the drought and the famine were over.

  7. At the start of the story:

    - Elijah was hungry and had had an unusual message from God
    - the widow was worried and about to eat a last meal with her son
    - the son was hungry and probably worried, too

  8. Ask the children to think about how the characters would have felt at the end of the story.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Suggestions could include:

    - Elijah has learned a lot about trusting God
    - the widow is no longer fearful and has learnt that, even if other people didn’t have much respect for her, God loved her and had a plan for her
    - the son is no longer hungry and has realized that God has taken care of him and his mum

Time for reflection

Show Slide 4.

Even if the people around the woman in today’s story didn’t see her as particularly valuable, God saw her as someone important who had a special job to do for him. In the story, Elijah and the widow treated each other with dignity and respect – they both listened to God and listened to each other.

Ask the children, ‘What could we learn from this story?

- We should try to treat everyone we meet with respect, especially the people who are often undervalued.
- We should remember that if we treat people with respect, they are much more likely to treat us with respect.
- We should remind ourselves that God regards each of us as a unique person of infinite value to him.

Show Slide 5.

Encourage the children to sit quietly for a few seconds and think about whether they treat other people with respect.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you value each one of us.
Please help us to treat others with respect.
Help us to embrace differences between us.
Help us to love others, even if they are very different from us.
Help us to see the value in each individual person.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Nobody’s a nobody’ by John Hardwick, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxID0LKvWpw (2.05 minutes long)

Publication date: May 2019   (Vol.21 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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