A Worry Shared
by Vicki Johnson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help children deal with their anxieties.
Preparation and materials
- Note: This assembly is linked to Facing Fears. You might like to consider doing that assembly a week before this one, introducing the worry box at the end.
- A week in advance of the assembly you will need to place a 'worry box' in a prominent position in the school with a supply of paper and pencils for the children to complete if and as they want to, anonymously if they like. The best format is to have the papers pre-printed with: ‘My worry is that ...’
- Just before the assembly, collect the papers together and sort them into categories. Experience shows that they usually fall into two obvious categories: worries about change and worries about friendships.
- Thank everyone for their worry contributions and offer to reply to anyone who put their name on their worry.
- Read some of the (sorted) responses and start to put them into piles. As you do so, make sure that the children can see that the ‘friendship’ and ‘change’ piles are the biggest.
Be sensitive about those you read out. Although you will not mention names you will also want to avoid specifics that enable individual children to be identified. You may prefer to give just a few general examples drawn from 'the sort of things that children your age worry about'.
Ask the children if they are brave enough to indicate with a thinking thumb or hands up if they have felt the same worry. Include the adults. This can be manipulated to make a point, and can be a very useful way of reinforcing school ethos in relation to care and concern for others. Obviously personal worries from home need to be dealt with separately, although it is very good for children to know that other people have trouble with younger/older siblings too!
Time for reflection
Now that we know that so many other people are worried about friendships / changing classes / whatever it might be, we know that we can begin to talk about it. A worry hates to be talked about in case it gets smaller and smaller and eventually disappears!
God of peace,
Thank you that we don't need to worry about anything.
Yes, we should think.
Yes, we should be concerned.
But worry is a waste of time and a waste of energy.
Here's what I'm worried about today (pause)
I think I'll leave it with you!
‘Turn, turn, turn’ (Come and Praise, 113)