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Moving On

Leaving the past and heading for the future

by Tim Scott (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To help us to deal with times when we have to move on in our lives.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available a property website such as, and the means to show it during the assembly.


  1. Show the property website to the students and show them how to go about searching for a house if they were looking for their dream property. Make this interactive by asking different students to give you criteria for searching for a house. Tell them from personal experience about a time when you moved house.

  2. Whether we are moving house, moving schools or even moving country, there are often times in our lives when we will experience having to move on.

    Ask the students, How do you find having to move on? Exciting? Daunting? Scary?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  3. Not moving on sometimes feels like the safe option, but in reality, it can be very bad for us. Scientists conducted an experiment in which they placed an amoeba, a tiny one-celled organism, in the ideal conditions of a comfortable, stress-free environment. It had no need to change or make any adjustments, yet it died. Why? Because even an amoeba needs change and challenge, just as we need food and water. Comfort can kill us.

  4. You may have heard of hermit crabs. They find a shell that fits, and then live in it until they grow too big for it. Do you know what hermit crabs do then? They leave the too-small shell and rush around the seabed looking for a bigger shell, before something eats them! This process repeats itself several times through the life of the hermit crab.

  5. Are you holding on to something that no longer fits you, just because it’s comfortable? If you want to grow personally, you have to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone and move on, even when this means dealing with a little discomfort. You may have outgrown a club or a hobby, you may have to re-examine a relationship that you are in or you may have to change a behaviour that’s proving to be destructive. No matter what, don’t become so settled that you can’t let go and move on when you need to.

  6. In life, we will sometimes face obstacles that block us from moving on physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually. It may be the shock of leaving somewhere familiar, the death of a loved one, an injury or illness or a relationship that’s broken down. Before you can move on, you need to do three things.

    - Forgive those who’ve hurt you. Don’t let the past control you. In the story of The Lion King, the young lion Simba must let go of his past. He blames himself for the death of his father because his wicked Uncle Scar had told him that he was responsible. In the story, Simba runs away and refuses to confront his past. However, with the help of his friends, Timon and Pumbaa, and childhood sweetheart, Nala, he returns to become the lion king that he was meant to be.
    - Confess your mistakes, say you are sorry and accept forgiveness.
    - Give back by helping others to deal with their troubles. Be kind to people whom you may not like: adults and younger children as well as people your own age.

Time for reflection

As we draw near to the end of another school year, which for some of you means the end of your time at this school, don’t just focus on what you’re leaving behind.

Think about what you’ll be taking with you when you go: hopefully, some good memories. Perhaps you can see that you have gained confidence, self-worth, wisdom and faith for the next challenge ahead.

Learn from what’s gone before and move on. Are you ready for bigger things?

When it’s time to move on, it’s because, like for the hermit crab, there’s another shell out there that is a better fit for you. However, you can’t move into your new shell until you leave your old one.

There’s more ahead of you than behind you – the best is yet to come!

Dear God,
As we think about the next stages in our lives, whether it is a new class, new school or new home,
Help us to be willing to move forward.
Help us to have courage.
Help us to let go of the things that hold us back
And to look up as we face the future.


‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: August 2017   (Vol.19 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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