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Give and Take

Is it better to give or receive?

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore the meaning of the saying, ‘It is in giving that we receive’.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Give and Take) and the means to display them.

  • Have available the YouTube video, ‘Mr Burns versus the donation basket’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.25 minutes long and is available at:

  • Optional: you may wish to show the YouTube video, ‘Inspiring Acts of Everyday Kindness’, in which case you will also need the means to do so. It is 2.23 minutes long, although you can stop it at 2.00 minutes, and is available at:


  1. Ask the students how easy they find it to part with their money.

    - Do they find it easy when they are buying clothes or objects?
    - Do they find it easy to give to charity?

    Highlight any recent examples of giving to charity from within the school community or in the local area.

    Show the YouTube video, ‘Mr Burns versus the donation basket’.

    Point out that hopefully most people in the school community are a bit more generous than Mr Burns. Mr Burns ends up giving to charity, but reluctantly, and only under pressure. You might say that he was not giving with a willing heart. In fact, he is well-known in The Simpsons for his stinginess and reluctance to share what he has with others.

  2. Ask the following questions, pausing after each to allow time for thought.

    - Are there are any benefits to giving?
    - Can giving be good for us?
    - Does giving make us happy?

    A verse in the Bible says, ‘The generous will themselves be blessed.’

    Show Slide 1.

    This suggests that as we give, we also receive. We might give time, money or love, but in doing so, we will gain something back. Perhaps we simply love and accept someone; perhaps we give the gift of a smile, a hug or an acknowledgement that another person matters. In doing so, we may gain the satisfaction of knowing that we have helped and made a difference. We have shown that kindness, love and generosity are stronger than fear, hatred and hurt. As Gandhi said, we can ‘be the change [we] want to see in the world through our small acts of generosity.

  3. Optional: show the YouTube video, ‘Inspiring Acts of Everyday Kindness’, stopping it at 2.00 minutes.

    Challenge the students to think about the people they encounter every day who give to them without complaint or objection.

    Challenge them to think about the people they encounter every day to whom they could give.

  4. The concept of giving is very important in any religion. As we have heard, the Bible speaks about the quality of being generous. In Islam, one of the Five Pillars of the faith is to give to charity. In Sikhism, religious prayer services in the gurdwara (temple) include a free meal given to anyone.

    Show Slide 2.

    In fact, some Sikh communities in the UK also serve meals to homeless people.

    Show Slide 3.

    This slide shows the Sikh community in Northampton providing meals for people living on the streets as a means of showing them love and kindness. They are giving their time to serve others and their money to buy food to share with those in need. They are also giving themselves by chatting and being friendly to people who may otherwise feel alienated and alone. This is a wonderful example of giving.

Time for reflection

Let’s think about two famous quotations that teach us a little more about the importance of giving.

The first quotation comes from St Francis of Assisi, a Catholic preacher who was born in Italy towards the end of the twelfth century. He said, ‘It is in giving that we receive.’

Show Slide 4.

The second quotation comes from Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese-American poet who was born in Lebanon towards the end of the nineteenth century. He said, ‘You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.’

Show Slide 5.

Let us use these two quotations to help us reflect.

Ask the following questions, giving time for reflection after each.

- What do you have that you can give to others?

  • Time?
  • The gift of laughter and joy?
  • Friendship?
  • Creativity?
  • Money?
  • A smile?

- How would sharing what you have benefit you?

- How do you feel when you are kind and generous to others?

- Can you think of someone who is kind and generous?

- Would you like to be a bit more like them?

- What can you do to follow their good example?

Dear God,
o often we think about ourselves.
t is hard not to be selfish.
elp us today to think of others, to give and to be generous.
elp us to share our time, talents and material possessions with others.

Publication date: September 2017   (Vol.19 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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