We look but do we really see?
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To stress the importance of our eyes and how we use them.
Preparation and materials
- Before the children come in, place some unusual objects inconspicuously around the room. The assembly writer used a potato, a banana, a garden trowel, a rolling pin and a riding hat. Perhaps you could use other slightly more ridiculous things!
- Be sensitive to any blind or partially sighted children and adapt the assembly as necessary, stressing the amazing abilities we have to overcome difficulties.
- Begin by playing a game of I-Spy. Do not refer to any of the planted objects. (There is usually a lot of enthusiasm from the audience!) Let the child who guesses correctly have a turn. Let the game continue for several turns. In our experience the potatoes etc. often go unnoticed. If they are mentioned, praise the child for being so observant.
- Remind the children that they are able to play this game because they can use their eyes to see.
Ask: can you see any objects that would not normally be in this room? Give time for the children to notice them. Ask the ones who name an object to bring it to you.
Say that we sometimes notice things because they are pointed out to us. You can see the colour of my clothes, the colour of this child's hair or whether this child is taller than this one. You know that an elephant is bigger than a mouse. That a banana is yellow, that the grass is green. We learn to recognize things because our eyes teach us their shape, colour and size and this information is stored in our brains. This is the way we learn.
Our eyes make it possible for us to read, to paint and draw, to take part in games and do lots of other things. Some people are blind and cannot see, and yet they manage to learn by using their other senses.
When we look, do we really see? Do we see the sadness in someone's face if we hurt them? Do we see the disappointment if we let someone down? Do we really see the pleasure and happiness we can give to others when we do something that pleases them?
Sometimes we are blind to the things going on around us. We see things but we take them for granted.
Ask everyone to close their eyes and imagine living in a world of darkness every day. Imagine being unable to see the faces of our family; being unable to see the beauty of the trees, plants and flowers; knowing only from touching what our pet dog is like (further examples could be given here).
Still with eyes closed, remind the children that while we're at school we cannot see our house, but we know it is there and we know what it looks like. Even with your eyes closed you have a picture of these things in your mind because you have seen them. When we go home today we will have a picture of our school in our mind and it will still be there in the morning. Much of what we see stays in our memory. That is how we learn.
Tell everyone to open their eyes. Remember that our sight is very precious. Remember also that there are those less fortunate who have lost this gift. Look around you, and don't take things for granted.
There is so much beauty in the world for us to see. With the wonderful gift of sight we have so much to be grateful for.
(Optional) Thomas, one of the disciples, would not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead until he could see him for himself, and touch the wounds on Jesus' body. Jesus said to him, ‘How happy are they who believe without seeing me’ (see John 20.24-29). This is what is known as having faith. There are sometimes situations where we cannot always see but we need to believe in something.
Time for reflection
Think of all the ways you will use your eyes today.
Can you be on the look-out for something special, some new thing to notice?
Can you be more observant and perhaps more helpful?
Teach us to be grateful for the wonderful gift of sight.
Help us not to be blind to the beauty of the world around us.
Let us see the needs of others,
and help us to do something to help them.
‘He gave me eyes so I could see’ (Come and Praise, 18)