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Different and yet equal

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To encourage students to appreciate differences while celebrating equality and respecting diversity.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and two readers.
  • Have available the Truetube video Alien Abduction: Sikhism and the means to show it during the assembly (available at: www.truetube.co.uk/film/alien-abduction-sikhism). It is 6.01 minutes long.
  • Have two students ready to act out their parts.
  • Have available some reflective or Sikh music and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.

Assembly

Reader 1 Hiya, do you fancy hanging out tonight? We could go down the shopping centre, see who’s around.

Reader 2 Sorry, I can’t tonight. I’ve got plans with Mal. We’re working on a science project together.

Reader 1 With Mal? The one who wears that turban thing? Isn’t he a bit weird? You’re choosing to hang around with him outside school?

Reader 2 Yes, that Mal. What does it matter what he wears on his head? You went through that stage of wearing your cap round the wrong way and I still spoke to you.

Reader 1 Well, that’s different. His family all dress strangely and believe all that strange stuff. You don’t go to his house, do you?

Reader 2 Yes, of course I’ve been to his house. His family is great and his mum’s a fantastic cook. They only eat vegetarian food, but my dad’s a vegetarian so I’m used to that.

Reader 1 You’re so strange, you. You really would talk to anyone, wouldn’t you? I prefer to stick with what I know. There are some really odd people out there.

Reader 2 Well, I think that makes you so sad. People are just people. We might do some things differently, but deep down we’re pretty much all the same. You’re missing out on so much in my opinion.

Reader 1 Hey, who are you calling sad? I’m fine just as I am and I’ll find plenty of other people to hang out with tonight.

Leader (Insert name of Reader 2) is right, you know. People may seem different from us, but deep down there is much that makes us the same. Take Baldeep Kaur, for example. She is a Sikh. As we watch this video together, see how often she talks about equality and treating everyone the same. See how much you have in common with her in your thinking and beliefs.

Show the Truetube video Alien Abduction: Sikhism.

Leader  So what did you think?

Open things up for discussion at this point if you feel comfortable with that.

I loved the story about how the Sikh religion began in the 1500s. Guru Nanak Dev Ji was brought up a Hindu and yet had many friends of different religions and walks of life. He preached about equality and cared about bringing people together. After he had disappeared for three days by the river, he came back saying, ‘There is no Hindu or Muslim.’ Well, there clearly was. He was not out to abolish these two powerful and popular religions, but create a third way, where everyone was to be treated equally, regardless of their belief system, religious practices and traditions.

The other Gurus continued with the same message as before, so, when the Sikhs were persecuted for their beliefs, they stood up for the defenceless and fought against injustice. The knife that each initiated male Sikh carries is a symbol of that desire to fight for justice for all, be it political, social or religious.

Reader 2 Seems like a pretty good way to live to me. I’m all for anything that brings people together rather than causing division. When Baldeep described God in that video, it made me think, ‘Isn’t that actually what most people who believe in God think, regardless of their religion? That God is one God with no form and no gender? That he created the whole world and he is everywhere and within us?’

Reader 1 I can see what you’re saying, I suppose. Maybe I have spent my time concentrating too much on what makes people different, rather than on the ways in which people are the same. Mal is a really good footballer. I wouldn’t mind playing football on the same team as him.

 

Time for reflection

Leader  It looks like we have given (insert name of Reader 1) a lot to think about. Maybe we have given you something to think about. As we bring this assembly to a close, let us focus on the three main principles for everyday life that Baldeep shared with us in the video.

The first is ‘appreciating God in everything’.

Let us consider how we can open our eyes to appreciate the beauty in the world around us. May we see also the goodness in the people around us and celebrate God wherever he may be found.

The second is ‘earning a living by honest means’.

Let us consider how much integrity we show as we go about our work, whether that is at home, school or in a job. May we avoid lying and cheating in everything that we do.

The third is ‘sharing everything we have’.

Let us consider how we can treat the people around us with more respect, equality and generosity. May we be willing to share, however hard that may feel.

Finally, as we leave this assembly, let us take with us the lesson (insert name of Reader 1) has started to consider today – that maybe it is time to look for what unites us rather than what divides us. Maybe today we can appreciate the differences while we celebrate equality.

 

Music

Chosen reflective or Sikh music 

Publication date: June 2014   (Vol.16 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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