Celebrating our individuality
by Helen Redfern
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage students to respect diversity.
Preparation and materials
- Download and have the means to show during the assembly the short video on Hinduism from the Alien Abduction series on Truetube at: http://www.truetube.co.uk/embed/1529/700/395
– it lasts 5 minutes and 33 seconds.
- Download and have the means to play at the end of the assembly some traditional Hindu music, such as that at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy3U9ihJo4o
- You will need two readers to prepare for and act out the scene below to introduce the assembly.
- Reader 1 Eugh (pointing at Reader 2’s forehead) . . . what’s that on your face? There . . . just between your eyes. Looks like one of those red spots those religious Indian people have. Did Rupal do it for you? She wears one sometimes. Rub it off – you look like a fool. Have you gone all spiritual on me?
Reader 2 I can’t rub it off, it’s a spot, you idiot! Stop drawing attention to it! I know what you mean, though – that red spot they wear does look stupid, but then Rupal doesn’t seem to care. She really showed herself up when she refused to eat anything at the end of term barbecue, didn’t she? I would do anything to fit in, me – everyone was staring at her.
Reader 1 Well, don’t people like her burn dead bodies in public and pray to silly statues and believe we’re all going to come back as rabbits or something when we die? It all seems pretty weird to me.
Reader 2 There are a lot of weird people around, that’s for sure. They might live on our street and come to our school, but they are so different. I don’t understand them at all.
- Leader These two individuals do not seem very well informed. Rupal seems weird to them, but they have made no effort to understand her beliefs and why she does what she does. In the short video I am about to show you, Rupal has the opportunity to explain more about her faith. Let’s watch it together and see what we can learn.
Show the Truetube video Alien Abduction: Hinduism, the two readers sitting down and watching it, too.
- Leader So, you two, come back here. Listening to Rupal talk about her faith was very interesting. I wonder what you can remember of what she said. Why are there lots of different statues?
Reader 1 These are all just different forms and representations of one supreme God. They are not actually gods themselves.
Leader What have you learnt about reincarnation?
Reader 2 It’s all about trying to live a good life and become a better person, which I can see leads to a better world for everyone.
Leader Why are Hindus strict vegetarians?
Reader 1 They believe that all life is precious, including that of animals.
Leader Why do they burn the dead?
Reader 2 To release their souls back to God.
Leader Finally, what about the red dot?
Reader 1 Hindus will wear this red dot on their foreheads during festivals as a mark of their faith and commitment.
- Leader Well, you have both certainly learned a lot about Rupal and her beliefs!
Reader 2 It was really interesting. She doesn’t seem so weird now that I understand more about why she does what she does.
- Leader It seems to me that Rupal appeared weird to our two friends until they got to know more about her. That is probably true for all of us. Everyone seems weird until you get to know them. Johnny Depp said:
I think everybody's weird. We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.
I agree with him. We will all seem weird to someone. Even me. Even you. If we could find a way to celebrate diversity and not cause others to be embarrassed or ashamed of the ways in which they are different, the world would be a better place.
Time for reflection
Everybody is weird.
Let us take a moment to reflect on all the different people we know – in our homes, our school and our communities. Let us consider all that makes us different – our backgrounds, our traditions, our faiths, our interests, our talents.
We should all celebrate our individuality.
Let us reflect now on how we can celebrate individuality and diversity. Let us think about all that we can learn from one another. Let us look forward to all the fun we can have getting to know new people and embracing new experiences.
We should not be embarrassed or ashamed of our individuality.
Let us think about those times when we have caused others to be embarrassed and ashamed for being different from us. Let us acknowledge the times when we have judged others without getting to know them. Let us recognize the occasions when we have made difference out to be a bad thing.
Please listen to the words of the prayer and make them your own if you wish.
Thank you for diversity.
Thank you for making everyone different.
Thank you for all that we can learn and discover from each other.
Help me to celebrate individuality.
I’m sorry for the times that I have judged someone for being different and not taken the time to get to know them.
Help me to be willing to learn from others.
Help me to be open to new experiences.
Help me to develop a more positive attitude towards difference.
Traditional Hindu music.