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‘It’s good to talk’

by Simeon Whiting

Suitable for Key Stage 3


To look at resolving conflict by talking through issues (SEAL theme: Conflict).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the following to play the game in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1, and, if possible, prepare two players:

    – two headbands
    – two trays
    – two rolled-up newspapers or lengths of pipe lagging of the same size
    – four latex gloves
    – two balloons (one to use, one spare).

 You will also need a colleague or another helper to blow up a balloon in the ‘Assembly’, Step 4.

  • Either have available the song ‘Between you and me’ by DC Talk or ‘Talk’ by Coldplay and the means to play it at the end of the assembly or else sing the hymn suggested under ‘Song’.


  1. First, play the game in the following way.

    – Ask your two players to come up to the front.
    – Explain that they are about to be initiated into the ancient martial art of Tray-Fu.
    – Give each player a headband, explaining that it is essential to wear one for this martial art.
    – Give each player a tray and a rolled-up newspaper or length of pipe lagging.
    – Have the players stand facing each other, each holding their newspaper or pipe lagging in one hand and their tray balanced flat on their other hand.
    – Also have each player stand on one leg.
    – On the word, ‘Go’, each player must aim to knock his or her opponent’s tray off his or her hand, using the newspaper or pipe lagging. The first player to achieve this wins.
    – Each player must balance on one leg only until the game is finished. Trays must be balanced on their hands, not gripped with their fingers.
    – Once the game has been demonstrated, you can play several rounds with other students if you have time and they seem to enjoy the game.

  2. All sorts of things can cause conflict between us. It could be anything from a stupid game, like the one you’ve just been playing, to someone hurting you or letting you down really badly. The question is, how should we handle it when there is conflict between us?

  3. When a conflict arises, we can sometimes find that we get angrier and angrier with the other person and it feels like pressure is building inside us. We might even find that we eventually blow our tops completely. Surely there’s a better way to handle it.

  4. Next, ask your colleague or helper to inflate one of the balloons gradually, keeping on going slowly while you speak.

    Explain that many different things can cause conflict. For example, little things that your family do can get on your nerves.

    Give a few examples of this and ask the students for examples, too, if you know them well and can rely on them to make constructive comments. Maybe your parents nag you to tidy your room or have a go at you about the time you get home at night. Maybe your little sister or brother is always taking your stuff without asking. 

    If we don’t try to resolve conflicts like these, then, after a while, they can grow into huge issues. In the end, the whole thing can just explode. (If you time this well, your colleague’s balloon should burst at this point!)

  5. Believe it or not, the Bible has loads to say about how we can deal with conflict. Perhaps one of the Bible’s best-known pieces of advice is, ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’ (Ephesians 4.26, NRSV). In other words, if you’re angry with someone, try to resolve it as soon as you can. Don’t pretend nothing’s wrong. Don’t just swallow it and get angrier and angrier. Calmly talk to the other person, tell them how you feel and listen to what they have to say. It’s amazing how often we can resolve a conflict really easily, just by talking it through.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to close their eyes for a minute.

Perhaps you’re in the middle of a conflict at the moment. Perhaps someone has made you feel hurt and angry because of something they’ve said or done.

How could you make time to talk to that person? What could you say to help him or her understand how you feel?

Maybe you know you’re the one who’s hurt someone else. Is there someone you need to say sorry to? When will you talk things through with him or her?


‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 152, 2008 edition)

‘Between you and me’ by DC Talk

‘Talk’ by Coldplay

Publication date: November 2014   (Vol.16 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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