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Taking the rough with the smooth

To help children appreciate that loving someone has its ups and downs, and that working through these is a sign of true love.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help children appreciate that loving someone has its ups and downs, and that working through these is a sign of true love.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an envelope containing the set of instructions in point 1.
  • Note: This assembly could lead on to a useful PSHE class lesson on how we react to one another on bad days. A series of short drama scenarios, based on real-life experiences, could be a useful tool in giving children strategies to use when faced with difficult moods in others and on how to forgive and move on.


  1. Explain to the children that you are getting ready to prepare for a new family member. You know that it is always wise to prepare as best you can, so you asked for some instructions to be sent to you. Pretend to open a letter and read.

    (1)  Pour cold apple juice on the carpet in several places and walk around barefoot in the dark.
    (2)  Wear a sock to work that has been shredded by the blender.
    (3)  Scatter your dirty washing all over the living-room floor and leave it there even if you are expecting visitors.
    (4)  Play ‘catch’ with a wet tennis ball.
    (5)  Practise taking the new family member outside every 15 minutes for a toilet break, even during your favourite TV programme; also practise being patient!
    (6)  Run out into the snow in your bare feet to shut the gate.
    (7)  Take a warm, cuddly blanket out of the airing cupboard and immediately wrap it round yourself. This is the feeling you will get when your puppy falls asleep on your lap.
  2. Did the children guess that this new family member was a puppy? Did any of the children get a puppy or any other animal for Christmas? Help them to identify with the mixed emotions that come with being responsible for an animal.
  3. Think about the people closest to us, our family. At times it seems easy to love and to live in harmony with one another. But there will also be times when we get on one another's nerves, when we irritate one another. Point out that this is quite normal. Explain that life is all about learning to accept the rough with the smooth.
  4. Suggest that love for our pets will grow if we take care of them when we find them difficult or even annoying – is this the same with people?

Time for reflection


Will I be easy or difficult to live with today?

Will I do some things that I don’t want to, because it is helpful to other people?



Dear God,

We thank you that you love us all the time,

in all our moods, on good days and on bad days.

Teach us to have that kind of acceptance of one another.



‘Morning has broken’ (Come and Praise, 1)

Publication date: January 2008   (Vol.10 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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