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The parable of the sower - doing the right thing

Considers the idea of doing what we know to be right, without being sidetracked.

by Jenny Tuxford

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

Considers the idea of doing what we know to be right, without being sidetracked.

Preparation and materials

  • There is a lot of material suggested in this assembly, and you can pick which sections to use at any one time. Alternatively you could spread the assembly over several days, so taking on an element of ‘real time’. You could even plant some beans and watch them actually growing!

Assembly

Suggestions for using the elements of this assembly:

 

  • Read the parable of the sower (Luke 8.5–15), and discuss. Explain that a parable is a story with lots of meanings. They’re a bit like onions – they have many layers. So today a parable may mean one thing to you, and tomorrow something quite different – they’re like magic stories!
  • Suggested discussion: have there been times when the children perhaps knew what they should have done, but were put off by someone or something?
  • You might like to practise the poem as a mime, with the children being different groups of birds. That way the whole class could be involved.
  • Read through the play a few times. Since no one character has more than a few lines to read, the children may learn it quite quickly.
  • You could read the poem taking it in turns to say a line.

 

  1. The parable of the sower

    Jesus told us stories
    To help us understand.
    He talked of common people,
    Who fished, or worked the land.

    Jesus sat on board a boat,
    The folk sat on the shore.
    His stories seemed quite simple,
    But they meant a whole lot more.

    One tale was of a farmer,
    Who went out one day to sow.
    But he was planting seeds,
    Not sewing clothes, you know.

    He told of farmers planting seeds,
    But not by farm machine, because
    At the time when he was talking
    They wouldn’t have known what one was.

    So, listen to this story
    About the farmer sowing seed.
    Are you producing what you should,
    Or are you a bit of a weed?

    Well, the farmer spread the seed all right,
    But some of it fell on the ground.
    And the birds flew down and ate it all,
    As they hopped and pecked around.

    Some seed fell upon stony ground,
    Where it was hard to grow.
    And seeds do need some fertile soil,
    As all you gardeners will know.

    These seeds grew very quickly,
    But when the sun grew hot,
    Because they hadn’t many roots,
    It burnt them up – the LOT.

    Now other seeds fell in thistles,
    So they hadn’t got a hope.
    Anything choked by thistles
    Would find it very hard to cope.

    But some seed fell on good ground,
    And grew and grew and grew.
    And bore lots of lovely fruit,
    As it was meant to do …
    And we hope that you do too!
  2. The parable of the broad bean

    Monday

    Miss Bud:  Well, children, there is just time to plant your broad bean before break.

    Terry: I washed out my jam jar just as you said, Miss.

    Tina:  My mum washed mine.

    Ben:  My dad did mine.

    Sharon:  Mine went in the dishwasher.

    Lucy:  Urgh! Rob’s has still got pickle in his!

    Rob:  So what?

    Miss Bud:  That’s enough! I expect Rob didn’t have time to wash it properly, did you, dear?

    Sally:  Have you brought soil to grow your bean in, Rob?

    Rob:  Don’t be silly, Sally. I had better things to do last night than waste my time getting soil.

    Ben:  I bet he was watching Underground Ernie.

    RobAnd I had my football stickers to count.

    Wendy:  You should have done what I did and got some soil from the pile where the builders are working.

    Rob:  Stupid! That’s not soil. That’s gravel for making concrete.

    Wendy:  Miss Bud, Rob just called me stupid.

    Miss Bud:  We’ll have to broaden his vocabulary with some extra homework then, won’t we?

    Pete:  Miss Bud? You know the Head was talking about the Good Samaritan and how we should be thinking about helping other people? Well, I was wondering. Do you think we could hold a sponsored walk round the field and collect money for the premature baby unit at the local hospital?

    Miss Bud:  What a wonderful idea, Pete.

    Wendy:  Please, Miss, what’s premature?

    Miss Bud:  It means coming before the proper time.

    Wendy:  Oh! You mean like Rob, Miss. He was at school at eight o’clock this morning. He must be premature.

    Rob: No, I’m not. Premature yourself.

    Miss Bud:  Getting back to the sponsored walk, Pete. You must talk to the Head first. If he agrees we’ll need to arrange a date and get some forms duplicated. I’ll be there to supervise and support. How about a week on Friday? If you walk for an hour after school then you’ll have the weekend to recover.

    Pete:  That sounds good to me. Can we just see who’s interested, please?

    Rob:  I won’t be able to. My dad won’t let me and in any case I’ll be far too busy.

    James:  How do you know your dad won’t let you when you haven’t even asked him?

    Wendy:  I’ll do it, Pete. I’ll go round and round and round the field and get pots of money for those poor little babies. You’ll see.

    Simon:  Me too. I’ve got some super-dooper new trainers. Cost an arm and a leg. I don’t do anything after school on Fridays. You can count me in.

    Miss Bud:  Well done, everybody. You’re very kind. Now, we must plant our beans. They’ve been soaking over the weekend so they should be ready.

    Lenny:  My cress grew best on my flannel.

    Tariq:  Is that why you haven’t had a wash for weeks?

    Pete:  I’ll go first if you like. I’m using John Innes number 3. My granddad’s a gardener. He’s exhibited at Chelsea. Not broad beans, though. There’ll be plenty of soil left if anyone else wants to use it.

    Wendy:  I bet my bean grows best. I’ll just ram it into my gravel with my ruler and put it right next to the nice hot radiator. It’s bound to do well there. (Aside) Ha! I wonder why Pete didn’t think of putting his bean there?

    Rob:  Your soil looks awful, Simon. It’s full of weeds. Your bean will never grow in that.

    Simon:  Mind your own business, Rob. At least I brought some soil, which is more than you did.

    Rob:  And you’ve given it far too much water.

    Simon:  Well, your bean hasn’t got any soil or water – just pickle!

    Miss Bud:  Playtime, everyone!
  3. Friday

    Teddy:  Mine’s got roots!

    Jane:  So has mine.

    Katie:  Mine’s got a shoot.

    Helen:  And some leaves.

    Pete:  Mine’s huge!

    Clare:  Like your head.

    Wendy:  Mine’s the tallest. Mine’s the best. I’ve won.

    Mariam:  But yours hasn’t any roots.

    Wendy:  I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I’ve won.

    Gary:  Wendy – it isn’t a competition.

    Wendy:  Well, I’ve won anyway. Pete’s hasn’t even got any leaves.

    Sophie:  But your leaves are brown and wizened.

    Nabil:  Rob’s bean has definitely had it.

    Teddy:  What do you expect? It’s got no soil and he hasn’t even bothered to water it.

    Rob:  It’s not my fault – I’ve been too busy.

    Sarah:  Too busy writing lines.

    Wendy:  Oh no! My bean’s beginning to wilt.

    Miss Bud:  I know how it feels! Shouldn’t you move it away from the radiator, dear?

    Wendy:  Oh no, Miss. I want it to grow even bigger over the weekend. Maybe it’ll grow some beans on it too.

    Miss Bud:  Somehow I don’t think so. Now children, it’s home time. Have a good weekend. Don’t forget your sponsor forms. And remember – don’t ask strangers – just family and friends.

    All:  Yes, Miss Bud. Have a good weekend.
  4. Monday

    Billy:  Look, everyone. Wendy’s bean’s all shrivelled up!

    Laura:  Cor! Look at Pete’s. Hasn’t it grown?

    Sally:  Oh dear! What’s happened to Simon’s bean?

    Adam:  The weeds are choking it. You’ll have to get some weedkiller, Simon.

    Miss Bud:  Right, now. Who’s got a sponsor form to show me? (Most of the children put their hands up.) Well done!

    Wendy:  I did do mine but the dog ate it.

    Simon:  I’ll bring mine in tomorrow. I got 30 sponsors but I want to get a few more after my evening jog.

    Rob:  Sorry. I was too busy.
  5. Friday

    Miss Bud:  I hope you’re all ready to walk to raise some money.

    All:  Yes, we are!

    Miss Bud:  Ready – steady – go! (Children walk round hall.)

    Parent 1:  Go for it, Sally!

    Parent 2:  Pace yerself, Billy!

    Parent 3:  Slow down, Adam!

    Parent 4:  Hurry up, Helen!

    (Laura slips and Pete helps her up.)

    Pete:  Are you all right, Laura? Do you want me to take you to the nurse?

    Laura:  No, but thank you, Pete. I must have tripped over a matchstick.

    Teddy:  Helping your girlfriend, Pete?

    Pete:  She’s part of the team, Teddy. We’re all part of a team.

    Miss Bud (to the school nurse): That boy has a lovely nature. I wish some of the rest of the class would be as considerate. (She claps as the walk finishes.) And I wish all my class had taken part.

    Lenny:  Rob didn’t say anything. He just walked off after school.

    Katie:  Wendy went off without speaking too.

    Helen:  I thought she said she was going to walk round and round and round the field.

    Billy:  And what happened to Simon with his 30 sponsors?

    Luke:  He went off with one of his friends. He said he’d been practising for the sponsored walk all week, but then one of his friends said that if Simon helped him clean some cars they could earn some extra pocket money. And they wouldn’t have to give it to charity.

    Miss Bud:  I can’t say I’m not disappointed, but I’m very pleased with the rest of you. Have you all had a biscuit and a drink of orange?

    Pete:  Yes, thank you. Didn’t Billy do well? I only did 20 laps but he managed 25. I think he should go to the hospital to present the cheque, when we’ve collected all the money. I think I’ve got a few blisters on my feet!

    Sally:  I picked up some bits of rubbish on the way round.

    Miss Bud:  Well done! Well done, everybody. You all did your best and that’s what counts. And of course, Billy can go to the hospital – and you, too, Pete, since this was all your idea.

    Nabil:  Well, blow me down with a feather! Just look at Pete’s bean! It’s huge.

    Adam:  It’s like something from a fairytale – Pete and the Beanstalk.

    Pete:  Do you mind if I take it home and plant it in my granddad’s allotment?

    Helen:  You can’t see Simon’s bean – just lots of little weeds. Pity you can’t eat those.

    Sophie:  Wendy’s is all brown and sticky, like fly paper.

    Tariq:  And Rob’s has just dried up. Might as well throw it out for the birds.

    Billy:  I don’t think the birds would want it.

    Miss Bud:  You know, I think you’re right. Now off you go home. And thank you for staying behind today to walk for charity. You are very kind.

    Pete:  And thank you for letting us do the walk, Miss Bud, and for giving up your time too. Have a nice, peaceful weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.
  6. The meaning of the parable of the broad bean

    Rob:  I was a bit like the seeds that fell on the ground where the birds came and ate them up. I didn’t even try, did I?

    Wendy:  I was full of good intentions, but I didn’t really try. Like the seeds that got burned up.

    Simon:  I trained for the sponsored walk, intending to do it, but then the thought of making money washing cars was too much for me. I was the seed that was choked by thistles.

    Pete:  And I was meant to be like the seed that landed on the good soil, and I tried hard to do the right thing.

Time for reflection

Prayer

Dear God,

When I know the right thing to do,

May I not be put off, but follow it through.

Amen.

Song/music

‘The sower went out and spread the seed all around’ (Sing to God, Scripture Union)

Publication date: November 2008   (Vol.10 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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