How important is being popular?
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider what it means to be popular.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Popularity) and the means to display them.
- You will also need to prearrange for five narrators to perform the short scene in the ‘Assembly’, Step 7.
Each narrator will need to have a branch of some sort to carry.
- Note: the ‘most popular’ answers on the slides are taken from the latest surveys available, but these change every few months!
- Ask the children what they understand by the word ‘popular’.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Explain that this assembly is going to think about what it means to be popular.
Point out that the word ‘popular’ means ‘well liked, well known, of considerable prominence, someone who receives much acclaim and attention’.
- Show Slide 1.
Explain that a group of people were given six categories and asked what their favourite thing was in each. You want the children to guess which was the most popular answer in each category.
Optional: you may wish to extend this with further questions such as ‘Why do you think this was the favourite answer?’
- Ask the following questions.
- Which do you think is the most popular car?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 2 (the Ford Fiesta).
- Which do you think is the most popular sport?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 3 (football).
- Which do you think is the most popular pizza topping?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 4 (pepperoni).
- Who do you think is the most popular TV presenter?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 5 (David Attenborough).
- Which do you think is the most popular breed of dog?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 6 (cocker spaniel).
- Which do you think is the most popular brand of sweet?
Listen to a range of responses and then show the answer on Slide 7 (Haribo Starmix).
- Point out that there can be many different opinions when it comes to popularity. In fact, many of the children might disagree with the answers on the slides.
Optional: you may wish to flick through the slides again and ask the children to raise their hand if they disagree with the answer.
- Explain that popularity also changes frequently. For example, when we go back to the question about pizza toppings, a different survey a year ago suggested that mushroom was the favourite.
In a sense, popularity is like the weather: it’s always changing. One day, it’s sunny, but then dark clouds appear and before you know it, it’s raining. One day, a particular sports player or celebrity might be the most popular, but then something happens and someone else takes their place and they are forgotten. One day, we are everyone’s friend, but the next day, we might be ignored by the same people. So, aiming to be popular all the time is not a very wise goal in life!
- When Jesus was on earth, he went through times when he was popular and times when people turned against him. A time when he was at his most popular was when he travelled into Jerusalem on a donkey to join his friends for a special celebration called Passover.
Many people came out to greet Jesus and declare that he was king. This is the occasion that has become known as Palm Sunday. The crowds waved branches and laid down their coats for Jesus to walk over. If we could have listened to the people in the crowds, they would probably have been saying something like this.
Ask the prearranged narrators to come to the front and hand a branch to each of them. The narrators should then walk to their designated spot in a line at the front, carrying their branches and looking happy.
Narrator 1: I used to be blind, but Jesus healed me.
Narrator 2: I had leprosy. People thought that I was unclean and might give them the disease, so I had to live separately from everyone. Jesus touched me and I was healed.
Narrator 3: I wanted Jesus to bless my children and, even though he was exhausted, he took my little ones in his arms and said a prayer.
Narrator 4: I was friendless because I was a tax collector, and not a very honest one at that. Jesus came to my house for a cup of tea. He changed my life!
Narrator 5: I was a violent man. Jesus came all the way over the lake to set me free.
- Point out that these are good reasons why Jesus was so popular. However, he was not interested in being popular. He often escaped into the hills to get away from the crowds and be on his own.
One of the reasons that Jesus did this was because he knew that you could be popular one minute and unpopular the next. He knew that the minute he said something that the crowds didn’t like, they’d be off. Another reason was that Jesus was more interested in pleasing his father. What his father thought of him was all that mattered.
Time for reflection
Some of us may not feel very popular. Sometimes, we all feel that way.
We might fall out with our families or friends. We might feel like no one likes us or wants to have us around. When we feel like that, it is important to talk to someone about it. There are always people around at school who like us and want to listen.
Christians believe that God loves each of us all the time. They believe that God is always close to us and that we can speak to him at any time.
Pause to allow time for thought.
Sometimes, it feels good to be popular.
However, it doesn’t always last and then we can feel hurt and lonely.
Please help us to remember that with you, we are always popular.
Help us to remember that you love us.
Please help us to keep our eyes open to see those who are feeling left-out or alone.
Please help us always to be willing to take the time to care.
‘Popular’ from the musical Wicked, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_uM8bUnlGQ (3.50 minutes long)