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What’s More Important?

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider that decisions can be difficult and there may not always be a universally agreed outcome.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need six students to perform the playlet and they will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly. The tone of the piece is light, but thought-provoking.

  • You will also need the following props: a tennis racket, a magnifying glass, a plant, a guitar, a wooden spoon, a saucepan and two clipboards and pens.

Assembly

Sport-lover, Nature-lover, Music-lover and Food-lover should move to their own spaces on the stage and start miming what they love best.

- Sport-lover has a tennis racket and is practising his/her swing.

- Nature-lover has a magnifying glass and is examining a plant.
- Music-lover has a guitar and is quietly strumming chords.
- Food-lover is using a wooden spoon to stir something in a saucepan.

The interviewers, complete with clipboards and pens, enter and address the gathering.

Interviewer 1: Good morning. We’re doing a survey, so we’d like to ask your opinion about a few things.

Interviewer 2: Some of the questions are easy, but some need a bit more thought.

Interviewer 1 approaches Music-lover.

Interviewer 1: Whats more important - your fingers or your thumbs?

Music-lover: Ooh, thats a tough one. I need my fingers, but I couldnt hold this guitar properly if I didnt have my thumbs.

Interviewer 2 approaches Sport-lover.

Interviewer 2: Whats more important - your right arm or your left arm?

Sport-lover: Wow, thats tricky. I play tennis right-handed, so my right arm is very important, but my left arm keeps me balanced.

Interviewer 1 approaches Food-lover.

Interviewer 1: Whats more important - the pizza base or the cheese that goes on top?

Food-lover: Woah, thats really hard. (Thinking) Cheese, I guess. You cant have pizza without cheese. I love cheese. (Thinking again) On the other hand, without the base, it wouldnt be a pizza. Hmm - thats a real toughie.

Food-lover continues to think about it as Interviewer 2 questions Nature-lover.

Interviewer 2: Whats more important - the colour red or the colour green?

Nature-lover: Hmm, let me think. Thats really difficult. I love red and I love green.

Interviewer 2: Let me give you an easier question. Whats more important - insects or birds?

Nature-lover: Thats not an easier question! Without birds, the insect population would get out of ecological balance. Without insects, the birds would die of starvation. All animals are important.

Music-lover turns to address Interviewer 1.

Music-lover: Hey, Ive got a question for you. Whats more important - this chord (plays G Major chord) or this one (plays D Major chord)?

Interviewer 1: Ooh, thats a tricky one.

Sport-lover: Or how about this: whats more important - the number 2 or the number 3?

Interviewer 2: Woah, thats another tough one. I think I prefer the number 3.

Interviewer 1: No, no. Its not the preferences were interested in. Our survey is about opinions and deeply held beliefs.

Interviewer 2: Thanks for reminding me.

Nature-lover: Whats more important - the sea or the beach?

Interviewers 1 and 2: Ooh, thats a hard one.

Nature-lover: No, its not. Logically speaking, you cant have a beach unless theres sea as well - so theyre equally important.

Interviewer 2: Good point.

Sport-lover: Ive got a good one. When youre playing football or netball, whats more important - the ball or the player?

Music-lover: You cant play football or netball unless you have a player AND a ball.

Sport-lover: Exactly. Have you ever tried playing your favourite ball game with a piece of string instead of a ball? No, me either. Itd be a total waste of time. It just wouldnt work. String doesnt bounce and it doesnt move through the air like a ball.

Interviewer 1 turns to address the audience.

Interviewer 1: Are you getting the idea that it can be very hard to decide whats more important? Sometimes, the question is absurd, illogical or irrational.

Interviewer 2: Some people even go so far as to say that EVERYTHING is important because everything is related and interconnected. Which is worth bearing in mind because . . .

Food-lover (interrupting, teasing): Yes, thats all very philosophical and clever, but the really important question is . . . is it time to eat yet?

Interviewer 2: Not yet.

Food-lover: I cant stop thinking about pizza!

Interviewer 2 turns to address the audience.

Interviewer 2: OK, lets make the questions a bit harder for you clever people. Whats more important - to make the journey or to arrive?

Interviewer 1: Think about that very carefully. What’s more important - to make the journey or to arrive?

Interviewer 2: Imagine you’ve just won a competition and the prize is really great. You’ve won a holiday in Portugal! Yeah! You’ll be staying in a fantastic hotel, right on the beach. And it has a great restaurant where you can eat as much as you like.

Food-lover: That’s my kind of holiday!

Interviewer 1: Best of all, you get to choose how you get there. You could go by air, which usually takes two to three hours, or you can travel to Portugal in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. That will take three days, but you’ll stay in a five-star hotel each night and you can ask the driver to stop anywhere along the route so that you can look at places that interest you.

Interviewer 2: The trouble is that the holiday you’ve won only lasts seven days. This means that if you decide to fly, you’ll have almost seven full days to spend at the amazing Portuguese hotel, but if you go by Rolls-Royce, you’ll only have one day there before you have to spend three days getting back again. However, on the plus side, you’ll have travelled through France and Spain and seen lots of interesting places.

Interviewer 1: So, let’s go back to our question. What’s more important - to make the journey or to arrive? What’s more important - travelling there or being there?

Interviewer 2: What’s more important to YOU? Think it through. What would YOU decide? Which would give you more pleasure?

Sport-lover: So, you could get on an aeroplane and be in Portugal in two to three hours? That would give you the thrill of travelling in an aeroplane. That’s always interesting.

Nature-lover: But if you went by car, you’d get to see lots of interesting things along the way and you’d be able to say you’d visited France and Spain as well as Portugal.

Interviewer 1: So, what’s more important - travelling there or being there?

Interviewer 2: And - even more crucial - do you understand what you’re basing your decision on?

Sport-lover: I’d go by plane. I’d want to get to the beach as soon as possible so that I could go swimming and play beach volleyball. That’s my idea of a great holiday and there’s no way I would sit in a car for six days.

Interviewer 2: So, you’re making a rational decision by balancing out the pros and cons. Beach volleyball: good. Sitting in a car: bad.

Interviewer 1 (turning to Nature-lover): And what’s your choice?

Nature-lover: I’d go by Rolls-Royce. I get bored on the beach. I love sightseeing and going to different places. Plus, I might not get a chance to have another free holiday, so I’d want to fit in as much as possible.

Interviewer 2: So, you’re using logic to help you make the decision that suits you best.

Food-lover: I’d take the car, too. I love food and that way, I’d get to eat French, Spanish and Portuguese food all on the same holiday.

Interviewer 1 (turning to Music-lover): And what about you?

Music-lover: I wouldn’t really mind, as long as I could take my guitar with me. I’m sure I could have a good time either way.

Interviewer 2: So, you’re going with the flow. That’s another valid way of making decisions - waiting to see what happens and responding to whatever comes along.

Interviewer 2 turns to address the audience.

Interviewer 2: And you - have you made your decision yet? Do you know what it’s based on? Rationality? Logic? Instinct? Or perhaps you still need more information before you can make up your mind. You might want to get advice from someone who knows more than you and whose opinion you trust.

Interviewer 1: We often have to make a choice between one thing and another. Do you have a system for making the best possible decisions?

Music-lover: I have my best ideas when I’m listening to quiet music.

Sport-lover: My mind is most alive after a good match, especially if Im in a good mood because we won. I never make decisions if Im miserable because we lost.

Nature-lover: If I have some serious thinking to do, I try to go for a walk somewhere nice. Somewhere with lots of plants.

Food-lover: I find that relaxing after a good meal is a good time to make decisions.

Interviewer 1: Its different for everyone. Thats why its a good idea to figure out what works best for you.

Interviewer 2: One thing that seems to work for everyone is to find a place where you wont be disturbed for a few minutes, take a few deep breaths and settle down. Dont even think about the decisions that you have to make. Just clear your mind and think of nothing at all.

Interviewer 1: Try it now. Take a few deep breaths, relax and let your mind switch off.

Interviewer 2: Some people do this and call it praying. Some people think that God offers the best advice and is worth listening to. It doesnt really matter whether you call it prayer or whether you want to aim your thoughts directly towards God. Some people say God hears your thoughts anyway, but thats another story. The important thing is to relax. Give yourself a little break every now and then.

Interviewer 1: Weve been asking you about whats more important. Whats more important than knowing whats important to you? Relaxing like this is simply a way of discovering whats important to you.

Interviewer 2: The trick is knowing yourself well enough to understand how you tick. Ask yourself, ‘Whats more important to me and the people I care about? Give it time - the answers will come.

Time for reflection

Allow the students to remain quiet for a few more moments, and then bring the assembly to a close.

Publication date: January 2018   (Vol.20 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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