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Old rubbish

To introduce the idea of moving on and being able to start afresh.

by Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To introduce the idea of moving on and being able to start afresh.

Preparation and materials

  • Have three or four bits of paper screwed up in your pocket. Written on each is a different thing that you want to get rid of, such as 'getting angry'.
  • Also have a letter addressed to yourself, with 'Not to be opened until 2001' on the envelope, and inside the words, 'Time to say goodbye to the old rubbish and start again'.


  1. Ask the children to think back to the start of the year. Did any of them make resolutions (recap this concept if necessary)? Now that we're three months or so down the line, have they kept their resolutions? Ask them to put their hands up if they have already broken them!

  2. Tell a brief story of a family who moved house and told the removal company to move everything. They ended up with all their old rubbish piled on the floor of their new house. Comment that it's difficult to make a fresh start if you are still carrying old rubbish.

  3. 'Find' the bits of screwed-up paper - rubbish from the past - in your pockets. Unwrap them one by one and read them out. These could include: not being good at something at work, being bad at sport, and (in chest pocket, i.e. close to your heart) getting angry, being lazy, thoughtless, etc.. Wonder aloud what you can do with this rubbish.

  4. Say that you can think of a story that might help. Recall the story of Zacchaeus, if you used the assembly, 'Jesus was friends with the tax man!' (November). Or tell the story in as simple or dramatic a fashion as you want, focusing on the 'rubbish' Zacchaeus carried - possibly linked in with your own. Tell how Jesus helped him to leave it behind. You can find the story in Luke 19.

  5. Now you know what to do. Rip up your 'rubbish' and throw it away in the rubbish bin. Admit that you may well do these things again, but God doesn't want the fact that you did them in the past to stop you having a fresh start - at any time.

  6. 'Find' the envelope addressed to you with 'Not to be opened until 2001' on it in your pocket. Take out the piece of paper with writing on it. Ask a pupil to read it out. 'Time to say goodbye to the old rubbish and start again.'

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you that at any time you are ready to help us get rid of our old rubbish and start again.
In a moment of silence, think of one thing that you would like to change.
Perhaps ask God to help you change, starting today.


''Tis the gift' (Come and Praise, 97)

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