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'Everything changes but you': Why we shouldn't be afraid of change

To explain why we shouldn’t be afraid of change but rather should embrace change and learn from it so we can grow and move on (SEAL theme 4: Learning about me).

by Tim and Vicky Scott

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explain why we shouldn’t be afraid of change but rather should embrace change and learn from it so we can grow and move on (SEAL theme 4: Learning about me).

Preparation and materials

  • Pictures on a PowerPoint representing school, university, ageing, jobs, marriage, moving house, caterpillar and butterfly, recent political change (in the Middle East).
  • The Bible passage is Ecclesiastes 3.1–8 (see ‘Time for reflection’).

Assembly

  1. Show the pictures and ask what theme they all have in common. Answer: change. Life is about change. How we deal with it is our choice.
  2. Change is the process of becoming different. We use the word ‘change’ to describe many different things.

    –  In sociology, ‘social change’ may refer to changes in society, such as women being given the right to vote (in the UK this happened for all women over 21 in 1928).

    –  In politics, political change would include the revolutions that we have seen in the Middle East. (Suggest some examples, for example, Tunisia, Egypt.)

    –  In biology, change may refer to the incredible changes that a creature such as a caterpillar makes when, in a process known as metamorphosis, it becomes a butterfly.

    –  Mathematicians, statisticians and economists study change such as ‘percentage change’.

    –  Historians are interested in changing fashions, technologies and practices.

    –  Psychologists are interested in the process of personal change and development – the ‘life-changing experiences’ that people sometimes talk about.

    Can you think of any other examples?
  3. For humans, change and challenge are both inevitable and vitally important. From the moment we were born until now we have all experienced change. We will continue to experience change for the rest of our lives.
  4. We have a choice about how we deal with change. Are we ready for the new challenges that lie ahead for us on our journey through life? Maybe you have certain ideas about how things might be in your next year at school or perhaps when you leave school to go on to other things?

    New challenges are opportunities to grow. Most of us desire to improve, to better ourselves. We cannot always change our circumstances but we can change the way that we think about change. We have the freedom to choose to change ourselves – our outlook, our thinking, our habits – in order to improve our circumstances. This is why it is good to be open to change and not to see it as negative.
  5. Character building happens day by day as we deal with changing situations. This may include, at times, painful changes like handling loss and the change that loss brings.

    When we lose something that we had worked for, or a pet, our health, finances, a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a grandparent or parent, we can make a decision to work through these things and not try to suppress them, which could lead to depression and anxiety. We must have time to grieve. Grief is the natural reaction to loss.

    We cannot move on until we have dealt with loss, grappling with our feelings of pain and hurt. This takes time, depending on how great the loss that we have experienced and the support networks that we have around us to help us.

    Once you have been through the grieving process, you will be ready to re-engage with life and your future. There is hope of a brighter tomorrow. You know that you have grieved properly when you remember the loss without being immobilized by it.
  6. We can miss out on enjoying the future by clinging to the past and yearning for the ‘good old days’. The fact is, what was, is no more. We can sometimes feel lost between the past that we feel we know and the future that we don’t. We may feel like someone who is stuck, without a road map, mobile phone or GIS in a strange place!

    It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, sometimes, when we think about the change that we are going through. Christians believe that God can ultimately transform every ending into a new beginning. However, this does not stop us having to go through pain and confusion in this in-between time.

Time for reflection

Everything has its time

(You might like to take out some of these phrases.)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3.1–8)

A letter was returned to the Post Office. Handwritten on the envelope were the words, ‘He’s dead.’ Through an oversight, the letter was sent back to the same address. Again it was returned to the Post Office with another message: ‘He’s still dead.’

Have you been resisting change in your life?
If so, allow God to give you his peace
and to take away the fear that you might have about your future.
Trust that something good will come out of it.

Prayer
Dear Lord,
thank you for helping me at every stage of my life.
Whenever I must go through times of change,
help me to choose to learn
from the challenges that the change brings
and put my hope and trust in you for my future.
Amen.

Music

‘Everything changes but you’ by Take That
‘Change’ by Taylor Swift
‘Turn, turn, turn’ is a 1960s folk song by the Byrds, using the words from the reading (widely available to download).

Publication date: July 2011   (Vol.13 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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