Who Do You Think You Are?
Checking our self-image
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to consider the positive and negative views we have about ourselves (SEAL theme: Self-awareness).
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and two readers.
Leader: To start this assembly, I want to ask you a question, and I’m going to invite some of you to respond. The question is this: if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
Give the students some time to think, and then listen to a range of responses, asking why each student has chosen their particular animal.
Let’s try a different question: if you were a car, what type of car would you be?
Give the students some time to think, and then listen to a range of responses, as above.
The way in which we think about ourselves is interesting, isn’t it? Jesus used a similar way of describing himself.
Reader 1: Talking in the terms of his society 2,000 years ago, Jesus described himself as a loaf of bread and also as a grapevine.
Reader 2: Jesus described himself as a light; a gate; a good shepherd; and the way, the truth and the life.
Leader: He even described himself as the resurrection. At first, these descriptions appear just as daft as calling ourselves a BMW Z3 sports car or a boa constrictor, but Jesus used these images to help his audience understand something about the kind of person he was.
Reader 1: Christians believe that Jesus is essential to life, just like bread, and that his teaching can help to shed light on the complicated world in which we live.
Reader 2: Christians also believe that, if we are uncertain about what is right and wrong, or what is true and untrue, Jesus’ teachings and the promptings of his Spirit can help to clarify issues and help us to live in the right way.
Leader: Christians also believe that they can have a relationship with Jesus today where he acts as a caring shepherd in dangerous times and can point out a clear way forward in times of difficulty and confusion. If we think through each image that Jesus offers, we find that they all illustrate some aspect of who Jesus is to those who follow him.
Let’s think back to our own images of animals and cars. Initially, I suspect we each thought of an image that portrayed what we want to be. If you like, it was our avatar. The animal or car that we chose displayed the things that we see as the positive side of our personality. Maybe we chose animals that displayed strength, speed, warmth, caring or intelligence. Similarly, maybe the car was big, stylish, fast and full of the latest gadgets, or small, cosy and comfortable. If we had time, it would be interesting to consider a follow-up question: what kind of animal or car do our friends (or our enemies) see us as? Would the two sets of images match up? Do others see us in the same way we see ourselves? Maybe some of us would rather not know!
Then again, I suspect that there were other images that flashed into our minds if we were being truly honest with ourselves. Sometimes, we probably feel like a sloth or a slug, a ruthless hyena or a rampaging buffalo. Sometimes, we may feel no better than a broken-down rust bucket of a car, stranded at the side of the road while everyone else roars past in the fast lane. We all feel different about ourselves in the great times, when things are going well, from in the hard times, when we are experiencing our worst, lowest, weakest moments.
Time for reflection
Leader: The good news is that we can make a choice. Each day, we can wake up and address the question, ‘Who am I going to be today?’ Our choice will probably depend on the kind of day ahead of us. If it is going to be a long, hard day, we may need to be a strong horse or a Range Rover. If we sense that it is going to be a stressful day, we may wish to be a peaceful dove or a smooth-running Bentley. If we have a lot of tasks to accomplish in a short time, maybe we need to be quick and responsive like a scurrying gerbil or a Ferrari. Some of us will find it difficult to compare ourselves to an animal or car. However, the point is that each day, we need different resources and responses to help us to accomplish what we need to achieve and to cope with the situations that arise.
So let’s carefully consider not just what animal or car represents our personality, but ‘What sort of people are we?’
Thank you for the people we are in our best times.
Please remind us of this when times get tough.
Please help us to be able to see our good points and rejoice in them.
Help us to see the areas of our lives where we need to make changes and improvements.
Help us to create a strong image of ourselves for today.
‘Unstoppable’ by Kerrie Roberts