Don’t judge a book by its cover
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore our understanding and valuing of self-image (SEAL theme: Self-awareness).
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and two readers.
Have available the TrueTube video ‘The Perfect Body’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 6.38 minutes long and is available at: https://www.truetube.co.uk/film/perfect-body?tab=film
Leader: What is it that first attracts you to another person? The comedian, Caroline Aherne, became famous for her role as Mrs Merton, a TV chat show host. One of her best-known interview questions was to Debbie McGee, who was married to the famous magician, Paul Daniels. Mrs Merton asked her, ‘So, what first attracted you to the millionaire, Paul Daniels?’
Pause to allow time for thought.
The implication was that she had been attracted to him because of his money.
Being attractive to others becomes increasingly important as we go through our teenage years. That’s the theme of the next video.
Play the TrueTube video ‘The Perfect Body’: https://www.truetube.co.uk/film/perfect-body?tab=film
Leader: How many of those thoughts have gone through our minds at some point? It’s easy to get too focused on appearance, so much so that it takes over, just as it did for the boy in the video. It can take over our money, our time and our relationships – sometimes, losing us the friends we would most like to keep. We may not go to the gym obsessively or eat a dozen steaks for dinner, but we can spend hours in front of the mirror, browsing in fashion shops or worrying about the latest fashions and looks.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking some time to project the best appearance. It’s great to keep fit, eat healthily and dress well, but attractiveness based on appearance is often governed by conforming to fashions, which can easily change. There’s been a lot of discussion about this in recent years. For some people, placing too much importance on appearance has led to eating disorders, whereas for others, it has led to the use of muscle-building drugs such as anabolic steroids. The advice is that we should learn to love our appearance as it is.
There are, however, other factors that make us attractive. The Bible talks a lot about what is on the outside compared with what is on the inside. Outside appearance is temporary. Our appearance changes month by month, year by year. What is on the inside lasts and is of far greater significance.
Time for reflection
Leader: So, what might we discover on the inside that is attractive? One selection from the Bible lists love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Based on that set of attributes, how attractive would you say you are?
Reader 1: Are you naturally affectionate?
Reader 2: Do you always have a smile on your face?
Reader 1: Are you a peacemaker when there’s an argument?
Reader 2: Can you put up with other people’s failings?
Reader 1: Do you spontaneously do good deeds?
Reader 2: Do you always look for the best in others?
Reader 1: Do you stick with others through thick and thin?
Reader 2: Are you careful not to offend others?
Reader 1: Does your temper have a very long fuse?
Leader: How did we score on that list? Often, aspects of our personalities are not noticeable at first glance. They are on the inside, so they take time to discover. Nevertheless, they are longer lasting than most of those on the outside.
Each of us is a unique blend of external and internal attractiveness. Let’s try to cultivate both, but remember which characteristics matter most and last through the years.
Thank you for the unique person that each one of us is.
Help us to have good self-images.
Help us to remember the importance of the characteristics that we have on the inside.