What Will I Become?
The tale of the three trees
by Alexandra Palmer
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the story of Jesus’ life by using the tale of the three trees.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the YouTube video ‘The Tale of the Three Trees’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 6.05 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjlOViJlM3U
- Optional: you may wish to use the ‘What Will I Become?’ extension activity (available at: What Will I Become - Extension Activity) that accompanies this assembly.
- Ask the children whether they have any ideas about they would like to do when they are older. You may wish to share something that you wanted to be when you were a child.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Tell the children that you would like them to listen to a story about three trees who, once upon a time, were thinking about what they would like to be when they were fully grown.
Show the YouTube video ‘The Tale of the Three Trees’.
- Discuss what happened to the first tree, asking the following questions.
- What did the first tree want to become? (Answer: a treasure chest covered with gold and filled with precious stones.)
- What happened to the first tree? (Answer: a woodcutter chopped it down and made it into a feed box for animals – a manger.)
- How did the first tree end up holding precious treasure? (Answer: Mary placed baby Jesus in the manger after he was born. Christians think of baby Jesus as the greatest treasure because he is God’s son.)
Point out that, although it doesn’t say it in the story, some people visited baby Jesus. Ask the children if they can remember who these visitors were and what gifts they brought. (Answer: the first visitors were the shepherds. The other visitors were the three wise men, who gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh.)
- Discuss what happened to the second tree, asking the following questions.
- What did the second tree want to become? (Answer: it wanted to be made into a strong sailing ship and sail across vast oceans carrying important kings.)
- What happened to the second tree? (Answer: a woodcutter chopped it down and made it into a simple fishing boat.)
- Who was in the fishing boat when the storm struck? (Answer: Jesus was the tired traveller and his friends were the disciples.)
- What did Jesus do when he woke up? (Answer: he spoke to the storm and it calmed down. This is one of Jesus’ miracles. The second tree knew that it was carrying the greatest king.)
It doesn’t say it in the story, but ask the children whether any of them know the name of the lake that Jesus was travelling across. (Answer: Lake Galilee.)
If you want to ask a further question, you could ask, ‘What else did Jesus do during his three years of teaching?’ (Answer: Jesus taught people about God by telling stories called parables. One of the most well-known ones is the story of the good Samaritan, which is about how we should help each other out. Jesus also performed miracles such as turning water into wine, feeding 5,000 people with only a few loaves and fishes, making the deaf hear and healing people who had various illnesses.)
- Discuss what happened to the third tree, asking the following questions.
- What did the third tree want to become? (Answer: the third tree didn’t want to leave its home. Instead, it wanted to be as tall as possible so that when people looked at it, they would think of heaven.)
- What happened to the third tree? (Answer: a woodcutter chopped it down and made it into planks of wood. Years later, the tree was made into Jesus’ cross.)
It doesn’t say it in the story, but ask the children why Jesus died on the cross. (Answer: Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross because God wanted to renew his relationship with all people and forgive us for the things that we do wrong. However, somebody had to take our punishment and that somebody was Jesus.)
Time for reflection
All three trees had a dream, but over time, they forgot their dreams because they were made into things that they didn’t want to be. If we have an ultimate dream, it is important that we don’t forget about it when things aren’t going our way.
Remind the children that the third tree’s dream was to be as tall as possible so that when people saw it, they would think of heaven.
Ask the children, ‘How did the third tree achieve its dream?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Explain that the third tree was made into Jesus’ cross. At Easter, the symbol of a cross is particularly important to Christians. It reminds them that Jesus died on the cross for the things that we did wrong, but he came back to life (resurrected) and eventually returned to heaven.
Thank you that we all have dreams and ambitions for our lives.
Thank you for the people who will help us to achieve what we would like to do.
We pray that we will never give up on our dreams.
‘We have a king who rides a donkey’ by The Jamborees, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSbEEwik2hs (2.25 minutes long)
- Using the sheet that accompanies this assembly (What Will I Become - Extension Activity), ask the children to draw the dreams of the three trees, and then draw what the trees actually became. Finally, ask the children to write down their ultimate dream or ambition for their life and draw it if they have time.