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Pause for Thought: Letting Things Go

Why should we forgive those who hurt us?

by Becky May (revised, originally published in 2012)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider why we need to resolve arguments quickly and not let them grow.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Pause for Thought: Letting Things Go) and the means to display them.
  • If possible, have a map available so that the children can locate Australia and Denmark.


  1. Show Slides 1-3.

    Ask the children, ‘Does anyone recognize this building?’

    Explain that the pictures show the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

  2. Optional: If you have a map available, ask the children to locate Australia on it.

  3. Explain that you are going to tell the children some interesting facts about this beautiful building.

    - The Sydney Opera House is a huge concert venue on the banks of Sydney Harbour, close to the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
    - It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, in 1973.
    - Every year, more than 3,000 events are held at the Sydney Opera House, including operas, concerts and festivals. (This was restricted in 2020 due to the pandemic.)
    - There are about 1,000 rooms in the Sydney Opera House in total, including offices, restaurants and the concert venues.
    - Nearly one million tiles cover the roof.
    - The Sydney Opera House was designed by a man called Jørn Utzon, who beat 232 other entrants in the competition to design it.

  4. Show Slide 4.

    Explain that the picture shows Jørn Utzon. He lived in Denmark and was an architect, which means that he designed buildings.

    Jørn Utzon designed the Sydney Opera House even though he had never seen where it was going to be built!

    Optional: If you have a map available, ask the children to locate Denmark on it.

    The competition judges liked Mr Utzon’s design so much that they gave him the job of arranging the building of the Sydney Opera House, so he set off for Australia.

  5. While the building work was being carried out, problems started emerging. Mr Utzon disagreed with other people who were involved in the project about the way that they should finish the design. In the end, he was so cross about the changes that they wanted to make that he left Australia and moved back to Denmark.

    The building work continued until it was completed, so people can enjoy Mr Utzon’s design for the Sydney Opera House today. However, Mr Utzon himself never went back to see the finished building!

  6. Show Slide 5.

    A long time after the building had been completed, the owners of the Sydney Opera House made amends with the architect and everyone apologized for the problems that they had caused. They even involved Mr Utzon in helping to make new developments and changes to the Sydney Opera House, but he was very old by then, so he was never able to return to Australia to see his finished design.

  7. Ask the children if they can imagine designing something as famous as the Sydney Opera House, but never actually seeing it for themselves. And all because of an argument!

    Fortunately, forgiveness was eventually the outcome and the relationship was mended, but wouldn’t it have been better if they had solved their problems sooner?

  8. Explain that when we fall out with our friends, brothers or sisters, it can be hard to be the first person to say sorry, especially if we think that they have done something to hurt us. However, in fact, saying sorry quickly can really help to solve a problem and stop it growing out of control.

  9. In the Bible, one of God’s followers, Paul, wrote that we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. The words are found in Ephesians 4.26. In other words, we should resolve our arguments before the end of the day, not let them last for many years.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to be really quiet now so that we can think about the ways in which we handle arguments with our friends or family.

Ask the following questions, allowing time for reflection after each one.

- Can we think of a time when we could have said sorry straightaway so that an argument would have ended much sooner than it did?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Is there someone we need to say sorry to today?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Let’s try to remember today’s story about the Sydney Opera House so that next time we have a problem to solve, we fix it quickly.

Dear God,
Thank you that the Bible tells us that you will forgive us when we do something wrong.
Please help us to remember to solve problems quickly by saying sorry and forgiving other people when they upset or hurt us.
Please help us to care for others and help them in any way we can.


‘Let it go’ from the film Frozen, available at: (3.59 minutes long)

Publication date: April 2021   (Vol.23 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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