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Temptation

To think about what ‘temptation’ means and to apply this to our own lives.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To think about what ‘temptation’ means and to apply this to our own lives.

Preparation and materials

  • Read through the story and collect the necessary props.
  • This assembly could be presented in several different ways and teachers can use the ideas as appropriate.
  • An OHP will enable the children to read the prayer with you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the actions for Thomas, his brother, his sister, his mother, the teacher and the police officer.

Assembly

  1. Today we are going to think about times when we are tempted to do something wrong – when we feel a pull to do something that really we know we shouldn’t do. In the Bible we can find quotations such as: ’Say no to bad things or you will get into trouble’ (James 1.15); ‘Don’t listen when friends tempt you’ (Proverbs 1.10); ‘Ask God to help you say no’ (Ephesians 6.11).
  2. Before we begin our story I would like you all to help me.

    Choose the children to mime the actions for Thomas, his brother, his sister, his mother, the teacher and the police officer. Explain that you want everyone to join in as you tell the story. Every time they hear Thomas say, ‘Shall I?’ you want them to join in and say loudly, ‘No, don’t do it!’ Practise this with them, then ask your main characters to step forward and begin the story.

    This is Thomas. He is about the same age as you. This is his brother and this is his sister. Thomas knows how to be good most of the time but there are days when he feels tempted to do something that he knows he shouldn’t. Today we’re all going to help him to do the right thing.

    It is morning and Thomas is feeling tired and grumpy, having been dragged out of bed (mime). Thomas and his brother and sister are eating their breakfast. Their mum is trying to hurry them up, afraid she will be late for work. Thomas is cross; he wants to say something rude to his mum.

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    He resists the temptation and they jump into the car and Mum drops them at the school gates (mime). They wave goodbye and his brother and sister go off into school, but Thomas stays at the gate. He knows that he will be in trouble for not doing his homework. He is thinking that it would be much easier to pretend to be ill and not go to school today.

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    He knows the right thing to do is to go into school and own up, and that’s what he does. The teacher is cross (mime) and says he must stay in at playtime and finish his homework. Left all alone in the classroom he notices some lunch boxes. He goes over and has a look inside one of them. He is feeling very hungry. He is tempted to take a chocolate biscuit. He holds it up…

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    Thomas realizes that it would be stealing and puts the biscuit back. He finishes his work and the morning passes without any more temptations. After lunch he is in the playground. He can see some of his friends playing ball. It seems like they don’t want him play with them so he feels he wants to spoil their game by taking the ball and throwing it over the wall.

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    He knows that would be a spiteful thing to do. His friends let him join in when they see him watching the game so he was glad he had not done it.

    It is afternoon and the class are working on some art (mime). While he is painting Thomas accidentally knocks over some red paint. It spills all over the floor and onto another child’s work (mime). The teacher wants to know who is responsible. Thomas hangs his head and feels tempted to blame someone else.

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    He owns up and is pleasantly surprised that the teacher praises him for telling the truth.

    It is home time (mime). He is waiting outside the school gates with his brother and sister for Mum to collect them. He looks down and notices a purse on the ground. He picks it up. When he opens it he finds that it is full of money. His brother and sister huddle round him. They are very excited and discuss what they could buy with the money. Thomas is about to put the purse in his pocket…

    He thinks to himself, ‘Shall I?’

    Response: ‘No, don’t do it!’

    Thomas knows that it would be wrong to keep it. When Mum arrives he shows the purse to her. She drives to the police station and they leave the purse there (mime). The police officer writes down Thomas’s name and address. They drive home.

    They are having tea (mime). The phone rings. Mum answers it and afterwards tells the children that the purse has been claimed and the owner has left a £10 reward for Thomas which he can collect the next day. Thomas is very pleased. He thinks how close he came to getting into trouble and that by doing the right thing he’s even got a reward!

    Well, Thomas, I think you ought to thank everyone for helping you.

    Ask Thomas to step forward and say, ‘Thank you, everyone, for helping me to do the right thing.’ Let the actors take a bow and ask them to sit down. Further discussion of the story can follow if time allows.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Can you think of any time that you’ve been tempted to do the wrong thing? Perhaps you wanted to say something nasty about someone, or you didn’t want to be helpful when asked.

(PAUSE)

Can you think of a time when you thought about doing the wrong thing, then changed your mind?

(PAUSE)

What can you do if you’re not sure what’s right? Who do you trust to help you make difficult decisions?

Prayer

Dear God,

It can be hard to know right from wrong.

Sometimes we know something is wrong but we still want to do it.

Please help us, in those times, to do the right thing.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Father, hear the prayer we offer’ (Come and Praise, 48)

Publication date: June 2006   (Vol.8 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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