Need a Hand?
Helping one another
by Guy Donegan-Cross (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider how we can help others, including those less fortunate than ourselves.
Preparation and materials
You will need a few chocolates, a plate and two one-metre bamboo canes (these should be cleaned thoroughly). Please make sure that the volunteers are permitted chocolate, and that the canes are used safely and sensibly.
Optional: you may wish to use a candle during the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly.
Optional: you may wish to link this assembly with a charity or fundraising event.
Place a few chocolates on a plate on the floor. Ask for a volunteer. Give the volunteer the two bamboo canes. (You might like to make a show of cleaning the ends with some sort of handwash or sterilizer.)
Ask the volunteer to pick up one of the chocolates with the canes. When they have done that, ask them to use the canes to try to eat the chocolate.
When they fail to do so, ask for another volunteer. Ask this volunteer to have a go at eating the chocolates, and then suggest that the two volunteers work together. Let them work out that they need to feed each other in order to be able to eat. When they have had a couple of chocolates, they can sit down.
Ask the students what can be learnt from the game. Draw out the message that working together can solve many problems and that giving is as important as receiving. Point out that, in the Bible, Jesus says that it’s better to give than to receive.
Explain that in this world, there are many people who have very little. You are going to show the students how that feels.
Ask the students to close their eyes and imagine themselves in their homes. Read out the following statements slowly.
- Remove all of the furniture from your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use one blanket for a bed.
- Take away all of your clothes except for your shirt and trousers. Leave only one pair of shoes.
- Empty the kitchen and the fridge except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions and a dish of dried beans.
- Take the bathroom apart and stop the running water. Remove all of the electrical wiring in your house.
- Now, take away the house itself and move the family into the shed.
That is what life is like for many people in the world. What do the students think should be done about it? What could we do about it?
Time for reflection
Jesus said, ‘It is better to give than to receive.’
Ask the students to think about something that they could give to someone in need.
If appropriate, suggest ways in which the school could help people in need, such as a charity or fundraising event.
Thank you that you gave everything to us.
Help us to give to those who have nothing.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)