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The Meaning of Ohana

‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten’

by Rachael Crisp

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider the meaning of ‘ohana’ and the way in which it affects how we view family.

Preparation and materials

  • Note: this assembly considers the idea of families and could be a sensitive issue for some students.

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Ohana’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 0.15 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLd40ddnN7c

  • You will also need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (The Meaning of Ohanaand the means to display them.

  • Optional: you may like to tie in this assembly with Adoption Sunday, which happens on 5 November 2017. More information is available at: https://www.homeforgood.org.uk/what-we-do/adoption-sunday

  • Optional: you may wish to light a candle for the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to do so.

Assembly

  1. Ask for a show of hands as to which students enjoy Disney films.

    Show Slide 1.

    Point out that many people of all ages love Disney films – we all have our favourites! However, today’s assembly is going to consider the film Lilo & Stitch, and particularly one line in the film.

    Show Slide 2.

  2. In the film, Stitch says the line, ‘Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.’

    Show the YouTube video ‘Ohana’.

  3. Explain that ohana is not a word we hear used very often. It is a Hawaiian word that means extended family, including blood relatives, adopted relatives and intentional family. The word intentional means something that is done deliberately and with purpose, so an intentional family means a family that is chosen.

  4. Ask the students to reflect on the following questions, pausing for a moment after each one.

    - What is family?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

    - What do our families look like?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

    - What do our families mean to us?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  5. Show Slide 3.

    Remind the students that families come in different shapes and sizes. There is not one type of family that is the correct one. Whatever our families look like, they are special places where we should experience ohana.

  6. There are many different types of family. Each family - small, large, adopted, fostered, blended (step- or half-brothers and sisters), friends and grandparents - is important and special and to be respected by everyone. Family can be chosen and intentional.

  7. Please be sensitive: some people have experienced loss and separation in their family. This could be through the death of a loved one or being fostered or adopted. It is important to respect each other’s family, whatever this might look like. We need to remember that each family is different: there is not one type of correct family.

  8. Optional: Christians believe that they are adopted into God’s family. The Bible speaks about God being a ‘father’ and other people being brothers and sisters: being a family. This is another example of an ‘ohana’ family. It is an intentional kind of family because we choose to be part of it.

  9. Optional: you may wish to tie in this assembly with Adoption Sunday, which happens on 5 November 2017. More information is available at: https://www.homeforgood.org.uk/what-we-do/adoption-sunday

Time for reflection

Optional: you may wish to light a candle as the students reflect upon the following words.

As we light this candle, let’s think about what we have heard and how it affects us.

Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.’ Let’s make sure that people in our own families are not left behind, left out or forgotten. Let’s make sure that everyone in our school family feels part of the family and is loved and cared for.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for family.
Thank you that there are lots of different types of families.

Thank you that you love each person in every family situation.
Please help us to make sure that ‘ohana’ happens, that no one gets left behind or forgotten.

Help us to see each family as special and important, especially when it is different from our own.
Amen.

Publication date: November 2017   (Vol.19 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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