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Watch Your Actions!

Actions have consequences

by Annaliese Renda (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider the effect that our actions might have.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the game Jenga, with the tower already constructed on a table. You will also need two volunteers.

    It is probably best not to use the full set of blocks because the assembly might go on for too long. About one-quarter of the blocks would probably suffice. If Jenga isn’t available, KerPlunk or Buckaroo! would be suitable alternatives.

Assembly

  1. Explain how the game Jenga works by telling the students that each player takes it in turns to carefully remove a wooden block from the tower and place it on the top. The person who causes the tower to collapse loses.

    Invite two volunteers to come forward to play against each other.

  2. While the two volunteers are playing the game, explain to the remaining students that Jenga is a game of consequences. Each move that the volunteers make could result in the tower collapsing.

    Go on to explain that there are situations in life, like in Jenga, that are also affected by the consequences of our individual actions.

    For example, if we choose not to cross the road carefully, we could be hit by a car, which could result in us being seriously injured. If we decide not to make an effort with our work, we may not do as well as we could do in our exams, which could restrict the choices we have when we are older. On a larger scale, our actions have consequences for the environment. If we always drive instead of walking, or if we fail to recycle, we make some impact on the Earth.

  3. Check to see how the volunteers are getting on. After a while, nudge the table so that the tower collapses and the game ends. Point out that your decision to nudge the table had several consequences.

    - The game ended.
    - The volunteers could have been cross with you.
    - Some students could have thought that you were being unfair.
    - Some students could have thought that it was funny.

  4. Read out the following statements and ask the students to think about their meaning. You may wish to ask the students to discuss the statements with others sitting close to them.

    - Robert Green Ingersoll said, ‘In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.’
    - Stephen R. Covey said, ‘While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.’
    - Alfred A. Montapert said, ‘Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.’

Time for reflection

Repeat each of the statements, giving time for reflection after each one.

Robert Green Ingersoll said, ‘In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Stephen R. Covey said, ‘While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Alfred A. Montapert said, ‘Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
Please help us to be aware of the actions we take.
Please give us the wisdom to understand the effects that our actions might have on others.
Please give us the strength and the courage to do what we know to be right.
Help us to consider our own needs, the needs of others and the needs of the world.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Cross over the road’ (Come and Praise, 70)

Publication date: August 2018   (Vol.20 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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