Small ideas, big consequences
To encourage creative thinking.
by Penny Hollander
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
Encouraging creative thinking.
Preparation and materials
- You will need for display: several packets of different seeds (preferably ones that will grow into plants of a variety of sizes), acorns, a biro pen, a picture of Noah’s Ark.
Show the different packets of seeds and ask the children to describe the plant they will grow into. Ask the same about the acorns. Get the children to think and talk about the fact that all plants have small beginnings, such as seeds, and in time, given the right conditions, they develop into something much bigger. Sometimes they can last many years, as in the case of the oak tree.
- Explain that through the centuries many ordinary people have had small ideas – we can call these ‘the seeds of an idea’ – which have had big consequences. Show the ball point pen, and say that writing instruments until the twentieth century only used liquid ink. This was very messy, particularly in classrooms with inkwells on each desk having to be filled each day. Children got into trouble if they spilt the ink over themselves or their work – they would have to do their work all over again if it had any blots of ink on it!
In the 1940s, a Hungarian journalist, Laszlo Biro, had the idea of using a small steel ball in his pens to control the ink flow and so prevent ink blots. This idea was an overnight success. The British Government were so impressed that they bought the rights to his invention, paying Biro for his idea, and naming the pen after him.
- In the Bible there are many people who used their creative abilities for the good of others, with big results. In the Old Testament, the story of Noah tells of a man who followed God at a time when most other people had turned away from him. They had started quarrelling with each other and destroying the good things around them. The Bible tells us that God told Noah that he was going to flood the world, and that Noah had to build a boat (called an Ark) for himself, his family and all his animals, so that they would be saved from the flood. So that is what Noah did – he built his Ark.
Then re-tell the Noah’s Ark story from one of the many colourful Bible editions. Ask the children what Noah’s neighbours would have thought of what he was doing – building a boat on dry land, far from any water. Would they have thought he was strange, and laughed at him? Would they shake their heads in amazement at such a crazy idea?
The point is that Noah carried through the idea. As a consequence they were saved, so that the world was once again inhabited by people and animals – some consequence!
- We may not have ideas that have such far-reaching consequences but we all have ideas – let’s not be afraid to share them. They could change things more than we think!
Time for reflection
Think about how even the biggest plants in our world have tiny beginnings, as seeds.
We look after those seeds until they become the fully grown plants.
Do you have an idea, however small, that you can share and that maybe will benefit other people?
Don’t be persuaded that your ideas are stupid – what could be as daft as building a boat where there is no water?
Thank you, God, for giving us creative minds.
Help us to use our ideas and abilities to help others, day by day.
‘I listen’ (Come and Praise, 60)