Donít Be Afraid of Change!
Embracing change and moving forward
by Tim and Vicky Scott (revised, originally published in 2011)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explain that instead of being afraid of change, we should embrace it so that we can grow and move on.
Preparation and materials
You will need images that represent changes that take place in life, such as going to college or university, getting married, leaving a job or starting a new one, moving house, having children, caterpillars changing to butterflies and so on. You will also need the means to display them during the assembly.
- You may need to adapt the ‘Assembly’, Step 5, if a particular student has experienced a recent loss.
Optional: you may wish to use the Bible passage, Ecclesiastes 3.1–8, during the ‘Time for Reflection’ part of the assembly.
Show the images.
Ask the students what the common theme of the images is. (The answer is ‘change’.)
Life is about change. How we deal with it is our choice.
Change is the process of becoming different. We use the word ‘change’ to describe many different things.
– In sociology, ‘social change’ may refer to changes in society, such as women being given the right to vote. (In the UK, it wasn’t until 1928 that all women over 21 got the vote.)
– In politics, political change includes things like last year’s EU referendum, the calling of a general election or major changes in government throughout the world.
– In biology, change may refer to what happens when, in a process known as metamorphosis, creatures change into something else, such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
– Mathematicians, statisticians and economists study changes such as ‘percentage change’.
– Historians look at changing fashions, technologies and practices.
– Psychologists are interested in the process of personal change and development: the ‘life-changing experiences’ that people sometimes talk about.
Can you think of any other examples?
Listen to a range of responses.
For humans, change and challenge are both inevitable and vital. From the moment we were born until now, we have all experienced change. We will continue to experience change for the rest of our lives.
We have a choice about how we deal with change. Are we ready for the new challenges that lie ahead of us on our journey through life? Maybe you have certain ideas about how things might be in your next year at school or perhaps when you leave school to go on to other things?
New challenges are opportunities to grow. Most of us want to better ourselves. We cannot always change our circumstances, but we can change the way that we think about change. We have the freedom to choose to change ourselves – our outlook, our thinking and our habits – to improve our circumstances. This is why it is good to be open to change, rather than seeing it as something negative.
We build our character day by day as we deal with changing situations. Sometimes, this may include painful changes like handling loss and the changes that it brings. For example, we might lose something that we had worked for, a pet might die, we might suffer health problems or a relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend might end. However, we can decide to work through these things, rather than trying to suppress them, which could lead to depression and anxiety. We must have time to grieve. Grief is the natural reaction to loss.
We cannot move on until we have dealt with loss, grappling with our feelings of pain and hurt. This takes time, depending on how great the loss that we have experienced and the support networks that we have to help us.
When you have been through the grieving process, you will be ready to re-engage with life and your future. There is hope of a brighter tomorrow. You know that you have grieved properly when you remember the loss without being immobilized by it.
We can miss out on enjoying the future by clinging to the past and yearning for the ‘good old days’. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, sometimes, when we think about the change that we are going through. Christians believe that God can ultimately transform every ending into a new beginning. However, this does not stop us having to go through pain and confusion during the in-between time.
Time for reflection
Everything has its time.
Read the following passage from Ecclesiastes 3.1–8, omitting some lines if you prefer.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
Have you been resisting change in your life? If so, why not ask God to give you his peace and to take away the fear that you might have about your future? Trust that something good will come out of it.
Thank you for helping me at every stage of my life.
Whenever I must go through times of change,
Help me to choose to learn from the challenges that the change brings
And put my hope and trust in you for my future.