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Who Am I Really?

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools


To consider what makes us the people that we are.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need four readers.

  • You will also need to read an extract from ‘Leftovers’ by Ted Hughes (in Tales of the Early World, Faber & Faber, 1987, p.95).


Reader 1: (Reads from Leftovers in Tales of the Early World by Ted Hughes, beginning At the end of his working day . . . and ending with ‘. . . It was amazing what ragged bits and pieces came out from under his workbench.’)

Reader 2: In this story by Ted Hughes, God creates an animal called Leftovers’. As we might expect, the animal is very unhappy because that is what he is - left over. None of us likes to think that we are left over. We want to feel loved and cared for, and we want to care for others, too. But how do we understand who and what we are?

Reader 3: In 2012, there was a story in the newspapers about a woman who had lost her memory. At least, she had lost part of her memory because, although she was in her fifties, the last thing she could remember was tucking her two children into bed when she was 34 years old. What she could not remember was any of her life after that, including the third child she had when she was 36 and her childrens journey into adulthood. An accident had blocked out more than 20 years of her life. Who was she? How would her partner and children cope?

Reader 4: The question is this: is the woman the same person now as she was before she lost her memory? Or is she a different person with different memories?

Reader 1: And what about us? Are we the same person who wore nappies and sat in a pram? Are we the same person who people cooed over and attempted to make smile? Are we the person our parents like to think we are? Or do we know differently? What is the earliest memory that we have?

Reader 2: Are we the same person who left primary school? Or had a fight with a dreaded enemy? Or told our parents a whopping lie and hoped to get away with it?

Reader 3: Is that what we are - a collection of memories? Are we like a rolling stone that rolls through life, gathering bits and pieces of memories?

Reader 4: I wonder about people who change their names. Lots of famous people do that. Is a name important? Does it mean anything?

Reader 1: And what about people who take their partners name when they marry? Theyve been a certain person for a long time, but then they have to learn another name. If your surname were Smith, would you change it to your partners surname of Jackson’ when you married?

Reader 2: I think we become what we want to be. Some of us have very old names: David, Sarah, Rebecca, Joshua and Joseph are names that are thousands of years old. But other names are more modern, such as Cody and Kirsten.

Reader 3: Sadly, it may not be just our names that we are known by. We may be known by the company we keep and the things we do.

Reader 4: When Jesus asked Peter, his close friend, Who am I?’, he wasnt asking to be told who he was, but who people thought he was. Could they see who he really was from what he was saying and doing? Peters reply - You are the Messiah,’ - was the answer that Jesus was looking for, but some people did not recognize who he really was. Sometimes, we need our friends to tell us the truth about ourselves to help us know who we really are.

Time for reflection

Reader 1: Let us think about the sort of person we are and the sort of person we would like to be. Let us think also about what impressions our words and actions make on other people.

Dear God,
Thank you that you know us and care for us.
Thank you that each person is different.
Help us to know who we want to be on the inside.
Help us to take the steps necessary to become good, honest and kind people.

Publication date: August 2016   (Vol.18 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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