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Friendship

Friends matter

by Hannah Knight

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To remind us of the importance of friendship and how we can learn to love our enemies. 

Preparation and materials

  • Gather or create some images with the quotes given in the ‘Assembly’, plus questions and photos or illustrations related to the theme of the assembly and have the means to display them during the assembly.
  • If you wish, you could ask some of the students to read much of the content of the assembly.
  • Prior to the assembly, ask the students to prepare a small passage about what friendship means to them and bring it along on the day.
  • An extra step is included in the ‘Assembly’ – Step 10 – for Church schools. If using, ask a student to read the passage Matthew 5.43–45 (NRSV).
  • Have available the song ‘With a little help from my friends’ by The Beatles and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.

Assembly

1. Display the definition of friendship below:

The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends: old ties of love and friendship, this is an ideal group for finding support and friendship.

2. Ask the students to read their prepared small passages about what friendship means to them.

3. Friendship can be found in many different forms and in many different places. It could be a friend you have known since you were a baby, someone you regularly see on the bus, a friendship you share with your brother and sister or even a friendship you share with your pet.

4. A friend will normally be someone you feel close to, someone you can talk with when you are upset and have fun with when you are happy. Someone you can be honest with in conversations and someone you can trust to keep a secret.

5. Having friends is one of the world’s greatest pleasures. Taking the time to get to know someone and nurture a lasting friendship can be difficult, but it is worth every ounce of effort.

6. With friendships, it is important to put yourself in other people’s shoes as this ensures that you are treating people in the same way you would like to be treated.

Here are some tips for being a good friend.

–  Be trustworthy and loyal. If a friend tells you something in confidence, it is important to keep that information to yourself. Imagine how hurtful it would be if your friend spilled the beans about you to someone else in your friendship group.

–  Listen! Sometimes we are so concerned about getting our own thoughts and opinions across that we forget to listen to the other person. Being a good listener could make you stand out from other friends the person may have and is also a great skill in life generally and for when you are working one day.

–  Be supportive. It is impossible to be selfless all the time, but we can try to think of others before ourselves more often. If your friend is struggling with a task, you could maybe offer to lend a hand or, if he or she is sad, why not organize a fun day out?

–  Forgive. One of the noblest qualities you can have as a friend is the ability to forgive. We all make mistakes and it is important that we value our friendship more than words that are spoken. This could also mean that people will be willing to forgive you.

7. When we are young, making friends seems to be incredibly easy. A friendship could blossom from just asking to borrow a classmate’s crayons, but, as we grow up, our expectations change.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
A.A Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh  

8. Sometimes you have to ignore the voice in your head that tells you to hide in the corner and, instead, pluck up the courage to speak to new people. Remember, in life we can never have too many friends. It is also important that we are not judgemental. Just because someone looks different or has different interests does not mean you shouldn’t approach them. In fact, doing so is a great way to learn new things!

9. A way of making friends could include starting a new club or hobby – engaging with people with similar interests can be a great conversation starter.

10. For Church schools
We are told in the Bible that we must love our enemies, which sounds like a very peculiar thing to do, but actually does make sense. If we can be mature enough to not act in the same ways that our enemies do, with nasty comments or violence, then we are already one step ahead of them. It means that we are smart enough to not follow a bad example. Remember, sometimes people act in certain ways for a reason. Perhaps they have problems at home or are being bullied. It is our job to pray for these people and be the ones who set a good example.

Ask the student prepared to read the passage Matthew 5.43–45 (NRSV) to do so:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

11. So, to sum up everything we have spoken about today, let’s remember these three key points:

–  everyone deserves friendship

–  we must work hard to be a good friend

–  we must love our enemies.

Time for reflection

Prayer

Dear Lord,
Thank you for our friends and for everything that they are.
Thank you for all their gifts and talents, the kindness they have shown us and the many things they have given to others.
Please continue to guide me, so that I may also be a good friend to others.
Amen.

Music

‘With a little help from my friends’ by The Beatles

Publication date: April 2015   (Vol.17 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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