Pause for Thought: This Is the Day
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Key Stage 4/5
To encourage us to mark special moments in our lives.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- The month of April is peppered with national celebration days throughout the world. There is a National Day in Syria, Republic Day in Iran and Sierra Leone, and Independence Day in Senegal, Israel, Zimbabwe and Togo. April is also the month when Liberation Day is celebrated in Hungary, Italy and Portugal.
Each of these days is important within the relevant countries because it commemorates the day when the country assumed a national identity. For some, it marks independence from a foreign government, often Britain, France or Germany. For some, it marks liberation from an occupying power. For others, it marks the uniting of disparate regions into one nation.
- Such celebration days are not merely an excuse for pomp, partying and display. They are also times for looking back and looking forward. By looking back, people may remember the determination and struggle it took to become the nation that they are now. Sometimes, there is a memorial stone, statue or building that encapsulates this. It encourages people not to take their identity for granted. By looking forward, a wise government in any of these nations will lay out the hopes and strategies for their development.
Time for reflection
Do you have a significant moment in your life, some event that marked a turning point, a change of gear, a discovery that is worth remembering? It could be a first meeting with someone, a random event in which you found yourself involved or a light-bulb moment that you had when listening to a talk or reading a book.
Pause to allow time for thought. Where appropriate, encourage three or four students to share their experiences within the group.
Just as these nations mark an important moment in their history, it might be useful for us to mark our own important moments in some way too. Why? First, it’s often important to look back and remind ourselves that it actually happened. It’s easy for us to forget the great significance, the way our life turned around. Second, it’s an excuse for a celebration - we can give ourselves a little treat as we remember the event with pride and pleasure. Third, it’s a good time to review the future. Are we still putting into practice the changes that occurred? Are our lives still moving forward? Is it time for a new impetus?
Finally, what form of memorial would be appropriate to mark this moment in our life? Some people plant a tree, which sounds like a good idea in these eco-conscious times. Others have a small memento: maybe a pebble from a significant location, a picture or even a piece of music. Of course, there’s the option of visiting the place where the event took place too. Standing there can evoke many thoughts. What’s important is that, whenever we see or hear our chosen memorial, the memory immediately springs to mind.
So, let April be a month of celebration. Hopefully, the whole year can be filled with many special days.
‘In my life’ by the Beatles, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqpysaAo4BQ (2.35 minutes long)
- Think about a significant event that may have sprung to mind earlier in the assembly. Consider whether there is a way to mark the day on a calendar and create a simple memorial.