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How to Make the Most of Your Holiday

How can we make the summer even better?

by Vicky Scott (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To encourage us to think during the holiday period about ourselves and our relationships.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to think about your own plans for the summer, such as taking a family holiday, going swimming or writing a novel, and select a few relevant images to depict your ambitions. You will also need the means to display these during the assembly.

  • You may wish to display a world map and ask the students where they are going for their summer holiday. Then, you can mark the destinations on the map.

Assembly

  1. The school summer holiday is a great break from early mornings and the busy schedule of lessons, homework and coursework. It offers an opportunity to experience something different.

    Show some images that represent your own hopes for the summer holiday.

  2. Some of you may count down the days until the next holiday, whereas others may dread the prolonged time away from the company of some of your friends. If you are daunted by the six-week stretch of holiday, or simply uncertain about what you will be doing, consider the following ideas.

  3. Learn more about yourself: step out and try new things.
    Take a good look at your life and decide that you’re going to make it count. It can be scary to take risks and try new things. Perhaps you’ve become too comfortable. Perhaps you think, ‘What if I fail?’ What if you do? It probably won’t be the first time - or the last, for that matter! No matter how badly you fail, it probably won’t be your worst. Whatever happens, you’ll grow in wisdom, experience and character.

    Unless you’re willing to risk getting involved, you’re not going to know what you’re good at. The road to success is never entirely free from mistakes. In the Bible (Galatians 6.4), Paul wrote, ‘Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.’ No risk, no reward!

  4. Invest in your family relationships.
    Each life touches other lives in both seen and unseen ways. You don’t necessarily have to know somebody to experience the impact of their life. A person’s influence can continue to be felt long after they’ve moved on. The Bible (Proverbs 13.22) says, ‘A good person leaves an inheritance.’

    Do you want to start making an impact in the place where you live? You can begin investing now in your family relationships. Every day, you can invest kindness, fun, care, love, advice and inspiration into the lives of the people around you.

    Family is not always an easy experience. As the saying goes, ‘You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.’ If you find a particular family member hard to get along with, why don’t you try to work harder at that relationship? By investing your time and effort in being kind and patient with them, you will soon notice that their behaviour towards you improves, too.

  5. Strengthen your friendships.
    Throughout your life, friendships will come and go. You may have hundreds of friends listed on social networking sites, but how many of those do you know well and which of them would stand by and support you in hard times? Make sure that you express your thanks to those who have stayed by your side over the years.

    Try to adopt the words of Jesus to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ by treating those around you with the respect that they deserve. Friendship should be about giving as much as it is about taking. Don’t be a friend who always expects their own way, but try to think about what others would like.

    Many adults still have friends who go back to their school years. This is probably because, as a young person, you have a lot of time to invest in friendships. You could make use of the time in this way over the summer holiday. Friendships are an important part of our development because those around us help to shape our personality.

  6. Be safe!
    The school holidays are a potentially dangerous time for young people. Parents often allow their children to venture out with friends, and the better weather and freedom may encourage people to be more adventurous than usual.

    Use common sense to stay safe. If you’re going out, embarking on a long walk or perhaps even scaling a mountain, make sure you tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. If you’re going swimming in open water, make sure you check that the appropriate flags are visible. Even if you class yourself as a strong swimmer, it is important not to venture out too deep, especially if you are using an inflatable and unaware of the water’s depth.

Time for reflection

The summer holiday is just around the corner! Have fun, enjoy trying out new things, spend quality time with your family and friends and learn more about yourself and this beautiful world.

Be safe and I look forward to seeing some of your photos when you get back. (You could initiate a photo competition with a prize for the best photo or video from the students’ summer holidays: this will capture their attention!)

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that every person is unique: no one exactly like us has ever existed or will exist again.
We thank you for our family and friends,
For all those who have helped us to become the people we are today.
Please help us over the summer holiday to relax,
To enjoy new experiences and to discover new places,
Perhaps making new friends and investing our time wisely.
With all our plans for the summer, help us to be safe.
Amen.

Publication date: July 2017   (Vol.19 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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