Who Am I?
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools
To consider the different faces that we show to other people.
Preparation and materials
You will need a selection of images that show faces of different ages and backgrounds. You will also need the means to display these during the assembly. Some examples are available at: http://tinyurl.com/j276rkz
You will need a copy of the poem ‘Who am I?’ by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is available at: http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/who-was-db2.htm
- Ask the following series of questions, pausing for thought between each one.
- Who am I?
- Who do you think I am?
- What am I to my parents, to my family?
- What is it about me that makes my friends like me?
- Why do some people dislike me?
- Does it matter to me that I am liked and disliked?
- Show the images of the different faces.
Point out that we often appear to be different to different people. For example, we may be loud and outgoing when we are with our friends, but shy and quiet when we are with adults. It is as if we have different ‘faces’ for different situations and people.
- Ask the students to think about how they behave when they are:
- in the classroom
- out with friends
- explaining to parents why they are late home
- pleading for extra time to finish work
In life, we learn to be our own person, with our own priorities and values.
- Ask if anyone has heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer was born over 100 years ago in Germany. He became a well-known minister and teacher in Spain and the USA as well as in Germany. Bonhoeffer was totally opposed to the Nazi regime and, in 1936, he was banned from teaching at the University of Berlin. He left Germany to teach in the USA in June 1939, but when war broke out a few months later, he voluntarily returned to Germany and was a thorn in the Nazi side. Bonhoeffer was arrested in 1943 and was a prisoner for the rest of his life. He was murdered in a concentration camp on 9 April 1945. He inspired many people, including some of his jailers, by the ‘face’ they saw.
Bonhoeffer wrote the poem ‘Who am I?’ in prison a year before he died. The poem is available at: http://www.dbonhoeffer.org/who-was-db2.htm
It contrasts the ‘face’ that the people in the concentration camp saw with the way Bonhoeffer was really feeling.
Time for reflection
Many of us are good at hiding the way we are feeling deep down. Many of us feel scared of the reaction we may receive from other people if we let them see what we are really like inside. However, sometimes, it is good to stop and consider questions about ourselves.
- Who am I?
- Am I one person today and another tomorrow?
- Am I both at once?
Thank you that you made us.
Thank you that you see us just as we are, without any pretence on our part.
Please help us to look more closely at others and see when they are struggling and need our care or help.