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Big plans

To suggest that sometimes we need to take a leap of faith and commit ourselves to something big - even if we don’t know how we’ll achieve it!

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To suggest that sometimes we need to take a leap of faith and commit ourselves to something big – even if we don’t know how we’ll achieve it!

Preparation and materials

  • None needed – except perhaps a deep breath before you commit yourself to some of the ideas in this assembly!

Assembly

  1. Begin by reading the words below, adapted from President Kennedy’s 1961 speech.

    ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of eating a piece of pie. No single project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.’

    Ask the children what is wrong with what you’ve just read and if any of them know what should be in the place of ‘eating a piece of pie’.

    Explain that the speech was given by US President John F. Kennedy in 1961 and was about trying to land on the moon. This is what he really said:

    ‘I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.’
  2. Point out that at the time he said this, no one, least of all him, knew how it could be achieved. Space flight was in its infancy, no one had a rocket that could reach the moon or had any clear idea how it could be done. And yet it was done – new materials and fuels were invented, new techniques were tried out. It cost billions of dollars and some brave American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts lost their lives, but in 1969 – less than ten years after Kennedy’s speech – two American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, landed on the moon. They walked on its surface before coming safely back to earth with their third crew member, Michael Collins.

    Kennedy could not have known that this would happen, but he had enough faith in his scientists and engineers to believe that they would find the answers and somehow make it happen.
  3. What would you put in a big speech of your own:

    I believe that this school should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the year is out, of …

    Discuss ideas that the children could insert, such raising £1,000 for a project; raising a large sum for a charity; improving some aspect of school life. Whatever it is, it needs to be a big project with clearly identifiable aims – just ‘doing better’ or ‘being kinder’ won’t do in this instance!
  4. Here’s a big idea: How about if the European Union were to echo Kennedy’s speech with an announcement like this:

    ‘We believe that the nations of his Union should commit themselves to achieving the goal, within ten years, of developing cheap, safe, non-polluting energy for the world. No single project in this period will be more impressive or more important for the long-term development of humankind and peace among nations; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish, requiring us to work together for the good of all.’

    How would it be if every school using this assembly sent a letter to their MEP suggesting such a goal?

Time for reflection

Reflection

A big idea is a great thing to have.

A big achievement is even better!

 

Prayer

Dear God,

Help us to be bold and brave when thinking about what we could achieve together.

Amen.

Song/music

‘There’s a big idea’, words by Gordon Lamont, sung to the tune of ‘He’s got the whole world in his hand’ (Come and Praise, 19)

There’s a big idea in the air

There’s a big idea in the air

There’s a big idea in the air

A big idea in the air.

Let’s go to the moon, Kennedy said

Let’s go to the moon, Kennedy said

Let’s go to the moon, Kennedy said

And to the moon they went.

Let’s do something big, in our school

Let’s do something big, in our school

Let’s do something big, in our school

Let’s all do something big.

Let’s all solve the problems in our world

Let’s all solve the problems in our world

Let’s all solve the problems in our world

And let’s begin today.

Publication date: February 2008   (Vol.10 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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