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Pause for Thought in the Classroom: What’s Around the Corner?

The year ahead

by Laurence Chilcott

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider that we should accept what we can’t change, but that we can change some things for the better.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.

Assembly

  1. Explain that you are going to tell the children a simple story.

    Round the Corner

    It was the start of a new school day. Jenny was taking a message to the school bursar. She loved taking messages for her teacher and always felt proud when she was asked to do so. Jenny recited the message in her mind as she walked so that she wouldn’t forget it before she reached the office. She often did that. She would feel a bit embarrassed if she arrived at the office and had forgotten what she had to say!

    Callum was hurrying along the corridor. He was already late and knew that lessons would have started before he got into class. Callum hated being late, especially when it was his little brother, Craig, who was to blame. Why did Craig always lose something just as they were leaving the house?

    Callum quickened his pace and soon he was running. He knew he wasn’t allowed to run in school, but he just couldn’t help it. His classroom was just around the corner and he could hear Mr Lawson telling the class to get their books out. Almost there . . . then, bang! Callum found himself on the floor with a swelling quickly forming on his chin. Standing opposite was Jenny, rubbing her head and fighting back tears.
    ‘Why don’t you look where you’re going?’ Jenny said.
    ‘I didn’t see you around the corner,’ protested Callum.
    ‘And that’s the problem,’ said Mr Lawson who, hearing the commotion, had come out of his classroom. ‘You can’t see around corners . . . and you were running, Callum!’
    Callum didn’t need a reminder that running wasn’t allowed in the corridors, but he got one anyway. He apologized to Jenny, too.

    In no time at all, ice packs reduced the swellings and Jenny and Callum were back in class, none the worse for their experience. Jenny even remembered to give the message to the bursar.

  2. There was nothing that Jenny could have done about the accident in the corridor. She couldn’t see Callum coming, so she couldn’t avoid it happening.

    Callum couldn’t see Jenny around the corner either, but if he hadn’t been running, he would have been able to avoid a collision.

  3. Explain that we are at the start of a new year. We don’t know what the year will bring. At the start of 2020, we had no idea what lay ahead! It is as if everything that is going to happen is around the corner and, like Callum, we can’t see around corners.

    Just like last year, the coming year is bound to have some surprises. Things will happen that we can do nothing about, and we will have to face them as best we can.

  4. However, if we resolve to learn from the mistakes of the past, some unpleasant things will be avoided. People who make New Year’s resolutions do just that. They look at the mistakes that they’ve made during the previous year and determine to change things for the better during the year ahead.

    Callum might do well to make a New Year’s resolution never to run in the school corridor again!

Time for reflection

Ask the children to reflect on the following questions.

- What could you resolve to do differently in the year ahead?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Have you wasted time and left work unfinished? You could decide to concentrate harder and refuse to be distracted by others in your class.

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Have you been unkind to someone and made them sad? You could bring that person into your games or make sure that you are friendly in the year ahead.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Spend a few moments thinking about the things that you could do to help make this year a good one for you and your family and friends.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
As we look forward to the year to come,
We ask that you will give us strength to face with courage the things that we can’t change,
And determination to change the things that we can.
Amen.

Song/music

‘One more step along the world I go’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PXV3dwaeNU (2.51 minutes long)

Publication date: January 2021   (Vol.23 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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