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Change for the better

by James Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To examine the process of change and its effects on us.

Preparation and materials

  • Gather some images of people enjoying the summer and display them as the students enter (check copyright).
  • Have available the song ‘Changes’ by David Bowie and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.


  1. As the summer ends and a new season begins, many of us find ourselves being thrown into new situations. Be it a new school, new class, a new teacher, new job or new classmates, autumn often means change.

  2. Many people fear change. Change is new and uncertain. Change can turn something comfortable and familiar into something difficult. If your life is good right now, changes can be threatening and undesirable. Certainly some changes can be bad. Since the Recession began, many people have been forced to change their expectations about life. Being forced into change can feel very unjust. 

    That is because many changes can feel like losses. Gone are the old expectations, the old certainties. In their place come new and challenging demands that we perhaps did not agree to. Yet, for many going into the sixth form, graduating from university, moving house or even just moving up a year, there are always opportunities as well as aspects we’re less keen on.

  3. Our ‘comfort zone’ – the actions and situations that feel secure and familiar – is a relaxing and safe place. Yet our comfort zone can be as much a prison as a luxury. With comfort, with familiarity, comes boredom. A life spent doing the same, easy things, eating the same meals, talking to the same people, playing the same games, is a boring life. Being forced to adapt to a new situation gives us new experiences. Experiences – good or bad – make life interesting.

    Even a bad experience means we learn lessons and have useful memories. Moreover, it expands our comfort zone. If our comfort zone may sometimes act like a prison, an expanding prison is barely a prison at all. 

    We are often forced to expand our comfort zone because of sudden, even unwelcome, changes in our lives – such as an unexpected house move or relocation – yet we gain from them in the long term.

  4. By living a full and varied life, we collect experiences. Without letting go of our memories and our pasts, we can develop as people by embracing change and looking forward to the possibilities of tomorrow.

Time for reflection

Give the students time to settle and think for a moment.

Spend a few moments thinking about a change in your life that you thought was unwelcome and how it affected you.

Did you grow personally as a result of that experience?

Did you make a mental note, perhaps, not to try it again or that it was good and you want to try it again?

Have you allowed that experience to change your attitude, however slight, towards that thing?

Now take a few moments to think about a change that has come about very recently, one you may be finding challenging.

How could you take the experience and use it to grow as a person? How can you continue working on that positive change today?


‘Changes’ by David Bowie

Publication date: August 2014   (Vol.16 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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