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by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore the concept of strength.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an image of a spider’s web.


  1. One day, I was looking at a spider’s web that had been spun overnight on my kitchen window and it got me to thinking about how, often, we underestimate the strength of things.

    A spider’s web is extremely fragile and can be wiped away in an instant, yet it is also incredibly strong. Weight for weight, spider’s silk is stronger than steel, yet it looks so fragile we don’t think of it as being strong. 

  2. This then got me to thinking about times when we need to be strong and how they can come at moments when we feel at our most fragile. Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

    We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face  . . .  we must do that which we think we cannot. 

    She was saying, when we feel we cannot do something, that is when we really gain strength from the experience after we have done it. We look back and feel pleased that we have achieved something we wouldn’t have believed we could.

  3. Often such strength comes from within. For example, a son or daughter walking out on an abusive parent or someone standing up in front of a room full of people and giving a presentation even though they have a stammer – even simply saying ‘Hello’ to someone you don't know can be very hard.

  4. So, next time you feel as though you don't have any strength, think of a spider’s web –  it seems so fragile and can easily be broken, but it has great strength and so do you. Find the strength within yourself to try something new or even do something you once thought was impossible. 

Time for reflection

Show the image of the spider’s web.

Let’s take a few moments to think about this spider’s web.

How long it took to spin.

How strong it is.

How critical the web is to the spider’s existence.

What equivalent do you have of that web? Love of family and friends? Relationships? Education?

Now think about the things you will have to do today that will need you to be strong to achieve  . . .

Start to spin your own web to support you as you do those things.

Publication date: February 2014   (Vol.16 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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