Different Types of Changes
How can we respond to change?
by Helen Redfern (revised, originally published in 2012)
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to consider our response to changes in our own lives.
Preparation and materials
- You will need one leader and two readers.
If possible, Reader 2 should be dressed up as an older adult. The assembly can easily be divided into more parts for readers.
- You will also need two storybooks, although the students will only need to pretend to read from them.
Leader: Today, we are going to be tackling an issue that affects all of us: change. Things are changing all the time all over the world – and we’ve seen this especially during the past year. All of us, from the youngest to the oldest, will continue to encounter change throughout our lives.
Reader 1: I hated the change from primary school to secondary school. Everyone seemed so big and I kept getting lost because the corridors were so confusing.
Then again, I moved house last month and that was a great change, a real improvement. I’ve got a really cool bedroom, and a garden, and the people next door seem really nice.
Some change is almost unbearable, though. I know that. Situations like parents splitting up or people dying make us really miserable and cause us to feel like we can’t cope with change at all.
Reader 2 (dressed as an older adult): The world has changed so much since I was a child like you. You wouldn’t believe it. We didn’t have computers or mobile phones. The world was a safer place. We didn’t have all these murders or stabbings, or all this worry about global warming. And we definitely didn’t need to keep two metres apart and isolate from family and friends!
Some of the change is good, though. Nowadays, they’re finding cures for all sorts of diseases. I just can’t keep up with it all.
Leader: It’s true, isn’t it? Everything is changing so fast and we’re all noticing it. But what can we learn about change today?
We all love to hear of fairytale changes . . .
Reader 1 (pretending to read from a fairy story): ‘And the beautiful princess slowly approached the ugly frog, leaned forward, kissed it gently and ZAP! The frog changed into the most handsome prince you’ve ever seen . . . and they all lived happily ever after.’
Leader: We all want to believe that everything will turn into something beautiful eventually.
Reader 2 (pretending to read from a storybook): ‘One day, the ugly duckling woke up and set off on its lonely journey down to the lake. It looked down at its reflection in the water . . . and what did it see? A beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird it had ever seen. And it was the very same duckling who had felt so ugly – until this moment.’
Reader 1: In nature, we see the most amazing transformations all the time.
– The tadpole swimming around in the murky pond changes into a frog jumping joyously from lily pad to lily pad.
– The caterpillar munching through leaf after leaf becomes a glorious butterfly, free to fly wherever it chooses.
– The bare branches of the tree in winter become decorated with bouquets of soft, pink, springtime blossom.
Reader 2: Of course, we also see awful transformations in the world around us.
– The vast oceans and swirling seas are becoming increasingly polluted with plastic, industrial waste and oil slicks.
– Immense rainforests are being chopped down to provide land for agricultural development.
– Animals are being hunted and chased out of their natural habitat.
– People are being killed for their religion, the colour of their skin and their nationality.
– Some people are starving because of the greed of others.
Leader: How do we respond to the amazing transformations in the world around us? Do we take them for granted? Or do we celebrate these changes?
And how do we respond to the awful transformations in the world around us? Do we ignore them and hope that they will go away? Or do we do all that we can to highlight and campaign against these changes?
Time for reflection
Leader: Our two speakers today highlighted some changes in their own lives. Let’s take some time now to reflect on how we respond to change in our own lives. Change can sometimes be a painful process. Let’s pause to think about the changes that have taken place in school recently. Let’s consider how we feel about these and identify which one we are finding most difficult.
Optional: take time discussing in groups the impact of these changes and the difficulties that students are experiencing in coping with them. You may wish to play some reflective music to encourage thought and reflection. An example is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p3eOeA1F-w
Reader 1: An ugly lump of rock can only become a beautiful masterpiece after hours of painstaking chiselling.
Reader 2: When I make a cake, I first have to break the eggs and mix all the ingredients into a sloppy mess. Then the mixture goes into a hot oven, and out comes a beautiful sponge cake.
Reader 1: A handful of clay can only become a beautiful vase after it has been shaped and moulded and destroyed and shaped and moulded and destroyed and shaped and moulded again in the hands of the potter.
Reader 2: Change in our lives can be painful. It can be messy. It can be ugly. It can be lonely. It can be confusing. It can feel like we’re being broken.
However, change can refine. Change can create something beautiful.
Change is necessary. Change is inevitable. Change simply is.
Leader: Let us conclude with a short prayer. You may make these words your own, if you wish.
We thank you for the amazing changes that go on in the world around us.
May we notice them and celebrate them.
We remember the awful changes that go on in the world around us.
May we take notice of them and act to make a difference.
We thank you for the positive changes in our own lives.
May we appreciate them and embrace them.
May we face the difficult changes in our own lives with courage and wisdom, and grow through them.
Change can refine: may we be refined by change.
Change can create something beautiful: may we become more beautiful as we change.