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A Pit of Problems

What do we do with our problems?

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To use the story of Joseph being thrown in a pit as a metaphor for problems in life.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need thePowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (A Pit of Problems) and the means to display them.
  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Joseph and his coat’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 3 minutes long and is available at:


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the children, ‘What is a pit?’

    Pause to allow time for the children to discuss their ideas and then listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Explain that a pit is a large hole in the ground. Mention other synonyms for pit, such as trench, hole, ditch, shaft, trough, crater, well and cavity.

  3. Explain that the video that the children are about to watch tells a Bible story that involves a pit.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Joseph and his coat’ (3 minutes long).

  4. Ask the following discussion questions about the video. After each question, encourage discussion and listen to a range of responses.

    - How did Joseph’s brothers feel when their dad gave him a colourful coat? Why did they feel that way? (Answer: Joseph’s brothers didnt like him and were jealous because their dad was showing favouritism towards him.)
    - How did Joseph’s brothers feel after Joseph explained his dreams? Why did they feel that way? (Answer: Joseph’s brothers disliked him even more. They were angry because Joseph was being boastful, and they didn’t want to bow down to him or have Joseph be in charge of them.)
    - Why did Judah decide to sell Joseph to the merchants? (Answer: to make some money (20 shekels) and ensure that Joseph was no longer around.)

  5. Show Slide 3.

    Ask the children, ‘How do you think Joseph got out of his pit?’

    Pause to allow time for thought and then listen to a range of responses.

    Suggestions may take into account the steep sides of the pit and involve Joseph needing to use a rope to help him climb up or asking other people to pull him out.

  6. Show Slide 4.

    Ask the children, ‘How do you think Joseph felt when he was sold into slavery by his brothers?’

    Pause to allow time for thought and then listen to a range of responses.

    The children may suggest that Joseph would have felt shocked and surprised, and that he would have felt betrayed by his brothers.

  7. Explain what happened next: Joseph was about 17 years old when he was thrown into the pit. For the next 13 years, he was in trouble and was treated as a slave. Then, he ended up in prison, accused of a crime that he hadn’t committed. So, even though Joseph was out of a physical pit, he may have felt like he was still trapped in a hole.

    When Joseph turned 30, things started to look up. After he interpreted the pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph was released from prison and became the pharaoh’s second in command.

  8. Show Slide 5.

    Explain that when Joseph was in the pit, he knew that he was facing a lot of problems. Having a ‘pit of problems’ can act as a metaphor – we don’t have to be in a physical pit to feel like we have a problem that we can’t seem to solve and that seems to be getting on top of us.

  9. Ask the children, ‘What sort of problems might we all face?’

    Pause to allow time for thought and then listen to a range of responses.

  10. Show Slide 6.

    Go through the list of problems that we might face at school or at home. Discuss what each problem is or give examples.
    - Friendships
    - Bullying at school
    - Homework
    - Learning times tables
    - Anxiety
    - Loneliness
    - Cyberbullying
    - Tests/SATs
    - Sporting activities (not everyone enjoys all sports)
    - Anger/upset

    Add any extra ideas that the children mention. Remind them that something that is a problem to one person might not be a problem to someone else.

Time for reflection

Show Slide 7.

Ask the children, ‘So, how can we deal with our problems?’

The first step is to ask a question. Ask the children to look carefully at the image of the rugby posts. Can they use it to turn their problem into a question?

The rugby posts pose the question, ‘How . . . ?’

When we are asking ourselves, ‘How can I deal with my problem?’, the next step is to consider who, where, when, what and why.

For example, if we are having problems with our times tables, we could ask ourselves, ‘What resources can I use to help myself?’ or ‘Who can help me?’

Likewise, if we are experiencing cyberbullying, we could ask ourselves, ‘
Who can I tell?’ (the answer being a trusted adult).

Show Slide 8.

The second step in dealing with our problems is to make time for reflection.

We should discuss the problem with somebody we trust, such as a family member, friend, teacher or other trusted adult. They will be able to give us helpful advice on how to deal with the problem. It might feel difficult, but by sharing our problem through having a chat or writing a note, we can start to climb out of our pit of problems.

Show Slide 9.

The third and final step in dealing with our problems is to take action!

When we’ve worked out how to solve our problem, we need to do something about it, otherwise the problem will always be there. It may feel uncomfortable to solve a problem, but once it’s done, we will feel much better.

Dear God,
Thank you for the story of Joseph and the lessons that we can learn from it.
Thank you that there are actions that we can take when we have problems.
Thank you for the people who are there to help us sort out problems.
Please help us to have the confidence to sort out our problems smoothly and quickly.


‘Oh wow! (Awesome God)’ by the Cheeky Pandas, available at: (3.33 minutes long)

Publication date: July 2023   (Vol.25 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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