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Something new: You never know where it might lead

To encourage students to see how new opportunities may develop from seemingly insignificant beginnings (SEAL theme: Motivation).

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage students to see how new opportunities may develop from seemingly insignificant beginnings (SEAL theme: Motivation).

Preparation and materials

  • Gather a few twigs with buds.


  1. (Hold up twigs)  I’m holding the future.


    They might not look like much but these slim, brown twigs are bursting with opportunity. You need to look closely. If you do, you see that each one has the beginnings of tiny buds. In a few weeks these buds will have developed into stems, leaves and flowers.

    You can see similar signs of the future in gardens, woods, hedgerows, roadside verges and even on patches of waste land. We’re right on the edge of springtime, the season of newness.
  2. New things in nature are always small. A baby rabbit, a puppy or a kitten is tiny when first born. It’s the same with a human baby. It’s possible to hold a new brother or sister in the curve of your arm. Yet, just like the buds on the twig, the potential for the future is astounding.

    Wayne Rooney (choose a local footballer, if you wish) was once a tiny baby. Barack Obama was once a tiny baby. Adele was once a tiny baby. When their parents first saw them they would have had no idea of what these little bundles of new life would become.

    New things are bursting with potential, but it’s not always obvious from the start.
  3. However, new life is also fragile. I can snap this twig or rub the buds off with my thumb and totally obliterate the potential for life that exists there. I always feel a little nervous when holding a new baby because it’s so weak and tiny.

    New life needs to be carefully protected and given the time and space it needs to develop. Each one of you is an example of that.
  4. Newness comes to us in many different forms. Each new day is bursting with opportunities: new people to meet, new information to read or hear, new time we can fill, new problems that need solving, new needs to address, new places to go.

    Each of these is just like this twig. At first we may not see all the implications of the opportunity. The potential benefit, if we were to get involved, may not be obvious until we’ve allowed it to develop, until we’ve invested some time and energy.

    In my experience, one opportunity often leads to another. If I hadn’t given time and energy to the first, then I’d never have come across the second.

    But new opportunities are also fragile. A wrong word, a sign of hesitation or doubt and they’re gone because they usually exist for only a brief moment of time.

Time for reflection

It’s good, during springtime, to take a walk and deliberately look for signs of new life in the natural world. This new life gives a sense of what’s to come, a hint of summer, and optimism for the future.

I’d like to suggest that you take a similar approach to what happens in your life today. Look out for the opportunities. For instance:

–  make a point of saying something to someone you don’t know very well;
–  look at what’s on in school and the local community;
–  find out if volunteers are needed for any projects.

Imagine what the potential of any of these opportunities might be. But do it quickly. The opportunity may not come again.


Dear Lord,

thank you for the newness of each day.

Thank you for new friends to make,

new time to fill,

new activities to get involved in.
May I see the potential fulfilled.


‘Unwritten’ by Natasha Bedingfield

Publication date: March 2013   (Vol.15 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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