Where Are You Going?
Life is a journey
by Helen Bryant (revised, originally published in 2011)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To reflect on life as a journey, and to ask how we might find the right path.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a map, a compass, a satnav, access to Google Maps and anything else you can think of that might facilitate the idea that we need help in finding our way.
- Optional: in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, you may wish to arrange for some students to tell their own stories of being lost.
- Show the map, compass, satnav and any other props to the students and ask what the items have in common.
Point out that they all help us to find out where we are and show us how to reach our destination.
- Ask the students if any of them have ever been lost. Maybe they lost their parents in a supermarket or town centre when they were younger, got lost on a car journey, found themselves unsure of how to get home after a walk somewhere new or even got lost in school when they first arrived.
Optional: you may wish to invite some of the students to tell their own stories of being lost.
- Before maps were invented, ancient mariners used the stars to help them navigate the oceans of the world. Human beings have always got lost from time to time and needed the guiding help of such things as maps, stars and satnavs.
- Life itself is like a journey on a road with crossroads and T-junctions. The purpose and meaning of our whole lives will often depend on the turnings that we decide to take.
In the journey of our lives, we all need something to point us in the right direction or show us the right path.
- Some of us are making important decisions about our future at the moment. Maybe we are choosing our options, or our A levels. Maybe we are thinking about which universities to put on our UCAS form or whether to take a year out.
Most of us will need some help and guidance on the best route for us and on how to go about making those choices. We may seek the advice of parents, teachers, friends and others so that we can steer the course that is best for us. It is always sensible to listen to advice and to speak with people who have more experiences in life than we do.
- Many religions have a holy book. Each holy book (for example, the Torah for Jews, the Qur’an for Muslims and the Bible for Christians) is like a road map or compass for life to followers of that religion. These holy books give helpful advice about many things. They offer directions on how to live life to the best of our ability, as God would want us to live.
Time for reflection
Christians believe that the Bible does not simply hand down rules, but is also good to go to for guidance and encouragement. In fact, in some Bibles, at the front or back, there is a list of specific passages that you can read if you are struggling with particular problems such as fear, worry, anger, doubt or despair.
Next time we need to make a decision, let’s not forget all the resources we have at our disposal to help us and to show us the path that we need to follow to get to the place that is right for us.
Read out the following words from this traditional hymn.
Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand.
Help us to see and hear the right way to go in the decisions that we have to make today and in the future.
Please help us to listen to others.
Please help us to take advice.
Please help us to make decisions that influence others for good.
‘The royal wedding - Guide me, O thou great redeemer’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwvpTl88jwI (3.01 minutes long)