To help children make wise choices when they are tempted to do wrong
by The Revd Sue Allen
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To help children make wise choices when they are tempted to do wrong.
Preparation and materials
- You will need: a selection of bells, whistles, etc. (washed between use, if appropriate), and a blindfold.
- Set up a teacher to give directions to the blindfolded child.
- Place an object (e.g. a chair) so that the blindfolded child will have to walk round it to get to the edge of the hall.
- Arrange your selection of whistles, bells, horns, etc. in a display for everyone to see, but do not identify what’s what. Ask for volunteers, one for each item, to stand in a line with their backs to the rest of the children. Give out the items to the volunteers, making a great show of not letting the rest of the children see who gets what. Ask the volunteers to operate the different items and the audience to identify them.
Ask the volunteers to sit down.
Optional extra: you could discuss what the different sounds are saying, e.g. dog whistle means ‘come’, a bicycle bell means ‘watch out’.
Comment that we’re very good at telling which sound is which, and what they mean, but can we do it with voices?
Ask for another volunteer to be blindfolded. Make sure they know what they are volunteering for! Explain that they will be asked to walk from one side of the hall to the other, around an obstacle (perhaps a chair), following instructions given by voice.
Ask the teacher you have briefed to give instructions to the child (e.g. ‘Take 1 step to your right; 3 steps forward, etc. You can ham it up: ‘of course Ms X will give you sensible instructions – she’s a teacher’).
Congratulate the volunteer on getting there! They knew that they had to rely on and trust the guiding voice.
Option: you could try this another way, this time with a contrasting voice giving the wrong instructions, at the same time as the right ones are being given, so that the blindfolded child has to concentrate on hearing and responding to the correct voice.
- Explain that in the Bible Jesus talks about himself as a shepherd, and us as sheep. Part of a shepherd’s job is to guide the sheep safely. You could include the reading The Good Shepherd (Children’s Bible, page 201, last paragraph), or tell the story from John chapter 10 in your own words.
Emphasize the key point, that ‘the sheep follow the shepherd because they know his voice’. Point out that sheep are not very clever animals; they don’t think for themselves and need someone to tell them where to go. We can be a bit like that – we hear different people/different voices telling us what’s cool, telling us what to believe – about ourselves or about God.
We may hear people telling us to do what we know is wrong. The blindfolded person could have been led astray by voices telling them to go the wrong way.
Christians believe that God speaks to us through the Bible, and through people we can trust. Jesus said, ‘I have come to look for those who have wandered away from God, who have listened to the wrong voices, and to bring them back home. I am the good Shepherd.’
Time for reflection
In a short time of quiet, think about when we might hear other voices telling us to do wrong things. How do you decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Is it sometimes difficult to do the right thing?
Thank you, God, that you always love us.
Help us to hear your voice,
and to trust you,
even when we want to do something wrong.
‘Lord of the dance’ (Come and Praise, 22)