Learning from Camels
Am I special?
by John Fryer (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to value each other.
Preparation and materials
- Have available some images of camels and the means to display them during the assembly. Examples could include:
- a camel with one hump, available at: http://tinyurl.com/j7rk3gh
- a camel with two humps, available at: http://tinyurl.com/y2m73z8l
- You will need to be familiar with the story of Gideon found in Judges 6-7. The text is available at: http://tinyurl.com/y274a7wj, but the story is best told from a children’s Bible unless the teller knows the story well. (Alternatively, a class could present the story of Gideon as a drama, but this is optional and would need prior practice.)
- Ask the children the following questions.
- Have you seen a camel in a zoo or in pictures or on television?
- What do you know about camels?
Answers to the second question may include the facts that camels spit, have one hump or two and are generally grumpy. However, they are absolutely amazing animals!
- Show the images of camels.
Work through the following list of facts about camels, expressing what wonderful animals they are.
- There are over 100 words for ‘camel’ in Arabic.
- A camel is a ‘cousin’ of the llama.
- A camel has three eyelids and bushy eyebrows to protect its eyes from the sun and sand.
- In winter, a camel can survive six or seven months without drinking water.
- A camel’s wee is twice as salty as seawater.
- Camel poo is so dry that you can light a fire with it as soon as it comes out.
- All of a camel’s fat is concentrated into its hump.
- A camel that has one hump is called a dromedary; a camel that has two humps is called a Bactrian.
- Camels can carry loads weighing up to 270 kg.
- Camels can travel up to 160 km without water.
- Each foot has a leathery pad with two toes, which spread to cope with walking on sand.
- A camel can close its nose to prevent sand from getting inside.
- Camels can drink up to 113 litres of water in only 13 minutes.
- Camels rarely sweat, even in scorching desert temperatures.
- Camels can run at speeds of up to 65km/h for short distances.
What a superb creature the camel is - despite its looks!
- Ask the following questions.
- Do you think other animals might be upset that they aren’t like a camel?
- Do elephants complain that they don’t have a hump?
- Do horses complain that they sweat?
No! The elephant and the horse are amazing, too. They have features that the camel doesn’t have – as do all animals. They are all amazing creatures, suited to where they live and what they eat.
- So, why do people compare themselves with others? We might not be as good at sport as Amy or as good at reading as Emir, but we are special. God made us to be amazing people who have never been seen on earth before and will never be seen again.
- Tell the story of Gideon from Judges 6-7, bringing out the humour in the story, such as the bread-roll dream sequence.
Gideon was the lowest of the low in Israel, but, with God’s help, he made a huge difference and changed the world for his people.
Time for reflection
Gideon was a special person who had a huge impact. Each one of us is special and can do or say things that no one else can, because we are us!
Who knows? Someone sitting in this assembly today may invent some new piece of tech or paint an amazing painting or run a major company or help someone in trouble - but everyone here can change the world just by being themselves.
Still feel feeble? Well, you can always ask for help – just like Gideon.
God helped Gideon and Christians believe that God will help us, too. However, we can also ask other people whom we trust to help us.
Remind the children about the amazing camels, going on to emphasize that each of them is amazing, too!
Thank you that you have made each of us very special.
Thank you that we are all different.
Help us to learn to be happy with who we are.
Help us to develop our gifts and talents.
Help us to be happy about the achievements of others.
‘God knows me’ (Come and Praise, 15)