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Countless Shades of Grey

Seeing all sides of an argument. To begin to develop a mature response to complex issues.

by Maggie Walker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To encourage seeing all sides of an argument and to begin to develop a mature response to complex issues.

Preparation and materials

This assembly consists of a play to be rehearsed and performed by a small group, with the following characters:

  • Narrator
  • Wise old grandma
  • Mum
  • Girl (named Lisa here)
  • Boy

The assembly is probably most suitable for older children and will certainly need good readers to perform the play. You might like to consider rehearsing and performing it as a radio play, as this does not require the actors to learn their lines. The audience could be asked to listen with eyes closed and you could include sound effects such as knives and forks, doors, etc.

Assembly

Introduce the play and ask the children to listen carefully and to think about its 'message'.

The Wise Old Grandma

Narrator: This is a story about a wise old grandma.

(Mum, girl and boy all around the kitchen table)

Mum: Good day at school, then?

Boy: Mmmmmm ...

Girl: Mmmmmm ...

Mum: Nice to see such enthusiasm.

Boy: No cautions, anyway.

Mum: Good. Let's have the same tomorrow. Lisa? Good day?

Girl: Where's my red top?

Mum: Still drying. You don't need it tonight, though.

Girl: Yes I do! Becky's party! It's tonight!!!

Mum: Tonight? You didn't say it was tonight.

Girl: I told you last week.

Boy: (sighs)

Mum: Well, you're not going to a party on a Thursday night - and that's final.

Girl: What? You said I could go!

Mum: I didn't know it was on a Thursday night.

Girl: You can't stop me going. Everyone's going!

Mum: Well I can, and not everyone's going, because you're not, Lisa.

Girl: I don't believe you! You're always trying to control me. It's my life - not yours! You're soooo out of order!

(Girl storms out)

Mum: What am I going to do with her? A party on a Thursday night! Mum, what do you think? I can't let her go to a party on a Thursday night! She's got school tomorrow and homework to do! A Friday or Saturday night, okay, but not on a Thursday night. I'm not always trying to control her! She just needs guiding at times! What do you think, Mum?

Grandma: You're right, dear.

Mum: Yes, I thought I was right.

(Mum leaves room)

Boy: (sighs)

(Girl enters room)

Girl: I can't believe her, Gran! I can't believe she won't let me go to the party! What do you think? I told her ages ago and she was fine about it then! I've done my homework. I don't have to come back really late. She's always telling me what to do. What do you think, Gran?

Grandma: You're right, dear.

Girl: Knew I was right!

(Girl leaves room)

PAUSE

Boy: I don't understand, Gran. If Mum is right, how can Lisa be right? And if Lisa is right, how can Mum be right?

Narrator: The wise old Grandma thought about it long and deep and eventually answered:

Grandma: You're right, dear.

PAUSE

Narrator: Was she a wise old woman, or was she just an old woman sitting on the fence, not wanting to give a decision or take sides?

There are many problems in life which can't be solved as easily as the problems you get in a maths class, where one answer is right and the others are wrong. Many human problems are solved not by logic, but by understanding. Sometimes both parties in a dispute may be right; or both may be wrong; or both may be partly right and partly wrong. Life is rarely black and white, but mostly countless shades of grey.

Of course, there are many occasions when one party is clearly in the right and the other clearly in the wrong. But there are at least as many occasions, if not more, when both are in the right, or both are in the wrong, or both are somewhere in between. And more often than not, the disputes which cause bloodshed in the world today are of that kind.

But enough about politics. Let's think about ourselves.

When we next disagree with someone, before we jump in and say, 'I'm right and you're wrong!', we should at least think long and deep, like the old grandma, in case both of us are right ... or both of us are wrong ... or both of us are somewhere in between!

Now am I right or am I right?

 

Time for reflection

I'm always right - except when I'm wrong. You're always wrong - except when you're right.

Dear God,
Help us to see all sides of a problem.
Help us to think of the other person's needs.
Help us to think before we act.
Amen.

 

Song/music

'It's a new day' (Come and Praise, 106)

Publication date: February 2001   (Vol.3 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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