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Changes Are Good!

Reflecting on changes in the past year

by James Lamont (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To reflect upon the personal changes that take place over the course of a year.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and one reader. Alternatively, the assembly could be delivered by one person.


Leader: Every year, the seasons change and the world changes with them. We begin the year in winter and end it in winter, with a spell of summertime in the middle. As we begin a new school year, that period of summer is coming to an end, and we may feel that everything is the same as it was a year ago. Just as the seasons will always begin again, so it may seem that the school year is an endless cycle, year after year after year with little change or progress.

Reader: That’s how many of us might feel, but if we stop to think about it, we can see how wrong that assumption is. Every year brings great changes, and the greatest changes often occur when we least expect them. At the start of this new term, after several weeks away, we are all different in some way from the people we were when we left school that day in July, ready for the long, hot summer. We have all had different experiences. We have all changed in some way.

Leader: Long breaks are not just valuable because they offer a chance to control our own time, they also give us time for self-reflection, to consider who we are: what we think, what we want and how we see ourselves. This is why some of us have made obvious changes over the summer.

Reader: Still, change doesn’t have to be overt. Sometimes, the most lasting changes are those we make within ourselves: changes in our attitudes and values. Maybe the decision to work harder in school or to be a better friend. Maybe even a less obviously ‘moral’ choice such as deciding to devote more time to a particular skill or hobby.

Leader: In years to come, some of our more obvious changes may be a source of mild embarrassment. Anyone who was alive in the 1970s or 1980s may well regret some of the fashion and lifestyle choices that they made then! However, that is no reason not to make changes.

If we feel confident now in the choices that we make, we should stick with them. After all, old changes are only made redundant when they are replaced by new changes. Life is a succession of changes and alterations. We never really reinvent ourselves; we merely change little bits of what we consider to be ourselves.

Reader: It is a modern cliché to say that we should be ourselves. However, thinking about change in this way shows us that who we are is in flux. We are always ourselves. It is just that our selves are changing, sometimes in subtle ways and sometimes less subtly.

Leader: Some things about ourselves are more important than others. However, we are who we are, each one of us, and none of us is exactly who we were one year ago, on another autumn morning in September.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to consider the following statements and questions, allowing time for reflection after each one.

Think about how different you are today compared with this time last year. Which changes are you proud of?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Are there changes that you wish had never happened?

Pause to allow time for thought.

How might you want to change in the coming year?

Pause to allow time for thought.

How can you set those changes in motion?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
Thank you that all of us change and grow.
Help us to make good changes this year.
Help us to grow in character and in love and care for others.
Help us to grow in perseverance, hope and joy.

Publication date: September 2019   (Vol.21 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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