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It can start with me

To help children appreciate that by working together, big problems can be solved.

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To help children appreciate that by working together, big problems can be solved.

Preparation and materials

  • The assembly is based around a simple song sung to the tune of ‘He’s got the whole world, in His hand’ (many versions available, including Come and Praise, 19).

Assembly

  1. Introduce and teach the song, singing it through a few times.

    It takes lots of people to change the world
    It takes lots of people to change the world
    It takes lots of people to change the world
    But it can start with me.

    If we work together, we can change the world
    If we work together, we can change the world
    If we work together, we can change the world
    And it can start with me.

    One small change can change the world
    Just one small change can change the world
    Yes one small change can change the world
    And it can start with me.
  2. Ask the children what they would most like to change to make the world a better place for everyone. Value all ideas and pick one that seems theoretically possible, such as enough food for everyone or an end to a particular conflict that the children may have heard of.

    Pick a child who you feel will take a joke. Ask him or her to stand up. Say, ‘Go and sort that out, please, Mahinda, and if you could be back by playtime that would be good. Now on to the next problem …’

    Ask the volunteer and the rest of the children why what you just asked was silly:

    Because it’s a big problem.
    Because ‘Mahinda’ can’t solve it on his own and he has to be at school.
    It would cost a lot of money.
  3. Ask, should we just give up, then, or can the words of our song help us to see the answer?
  4. Explain that there are some very big problems around the world. Lots of people are hungry; others don’t have clean water; many people are ill but could be cured by simple medicines; some people cannot afford to pay for food and shelter; and sometimes unexpected disasters happen. Here’s just one story from a young girl called Sylvia:

    Sylvia is a young girl who lives with her family in Sri Lanka, an island near India. Their house used to be beside the sea. But a few years ago, at Christmas time, a giant wave called a tsunami hit the island, and their home was completely washed away by the water. Huge waves carried Sylvia out to sea. She was separated from her family and all alone in the middle of the sea. She managed to cling to a log and held on to it for more than 24 hours. At last, an army helicopter spotted her and rescued her. Sadly, her nine-year-old brother and her best friend weren’t so lucky; they both died.


    Explain that the children might think that this is one of those impossible situations – how could anyone do anything to help? But now, some years later, things are better for Sylvia, and for thousands of other people who lost everything in the tsunami. Sylvia still misses her brother and her friend who died, but lots of people all over the world have shown that they care for Sylvia and the other victims of the tsunami by sending money and other kinds of help so that they can rebuild their homes and their lives.

  5. Finish by saying that the world faces very big problems and no one can just pop out and sort them out as you asked ‘Mahinda’ to, but many people work hard every day to make the world a better place. And, like the song says, ‘It can start with me’. Sing the song again.

Time for reflection

Reflection

It can start with me.

What can I do?

How can I help?

How can I make a difference?

It takes lots of people to change the world.

Can I be one of them?

If we work together, we can change the world.

Can I help to make things better?

One small change can change the world.

And it can start with me.

 

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for all the good things that we have:

our food, our shelter, our families and friends, our school.

We think of people who don’t have so many good things

and we thank you that there are people working to make a fairer, better world.

Please help me to be part of that,

because if we work together, we can change the world.

Amen.

Publication date: March 2009   (Vol.11 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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