Show Me the Way
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to consider how we make decisions about the future and how to get there.
Preparation and materials
- None required.
- Ask the students, ‘Where in school do we find arrow symbols?’
Listen to a range of responses.
The students will probably give obvious examples initially, but some may be challenged to discover more obscure examples such as the Play icon on a video. There may also have been a change in signage around the school since the end of the summer term.
- The arrow is an important symbol. It’s found in all sorts of places: on the road, in shops, in instructions and in scientific calculations. So, why is the arrow there?
Listen to a range of responses.
Responses will largely be about pointing out a way that is safe, direct, legal or convenient.
- Explain that if you walk one of the UK’s National Trails, such as the Pennine Way or the South West Coastal Path, at regular intervals, you’ll come across signposts or discs that show an arrow accompanied by an acorn symbol. These indicate the correct way ahead.
The route that the arrow directs you along will be the way that avoids any hazards such as rock falls or rivers. It will be the way that goes directly towards your next destination, preventing you from getting lost. It will be the way that keeps to paths that have legal access, preventing you from trespassing. The arrow shows the right way to go.
- In school, the arrow may not always go directly to your destination, but it’s still the safe way, especially in a one-way system or a socially distanced set-up. For visitors, the arrow provides direction and prevents them from entering parts of the school that are out of bounds to them. The arrow shows the right way to go.
Time for reflection
Jesus once said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ In other words, he was saying, ‘I’m like an arrow on the road, the footpath and in school.’ What might Jesus have meant by this statement?
First, I think he was envisaging daily life as being like a path. We’re all heading for a destination in time, whether it be tomorrow, next week or next year. It could be the day when we meet our lifetime partner. It might be when we fulfil an ambition or a dream. We want to get there safely, without making any big mistakes. We want to get there without getting lost, going round in circles and making a huge detour. We want to get there by the best means possible, without causing hurt or damage to other people or ourselves. We want to know the right way to go.
It’s not uncommon nowadays for people to adopt a mentor or a personal director, someone who’s there to turn to when they want advice. This can be a formal arrangement, with regular meetings to discuss the way ahead and address its opportunities and dangers. Many of us, though, will have informal arrangements with best friends. We can chat through our dilemmas. They can keep a protective eye out for us as we can for them.
Jesus is saying that he can be the very best mentor who’s ever existed. Some people have a regular relationship with him, reading what he said in the Bible and praying to him often. These people call themselves Christians. However, Christians believe that Jesus is very accepting and is happy to be an informal mentor for anyone. All of his advice for finding direction in our lives is contained in the four parts of the Bible called the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Where do you plan on going today? Are you going in the right direction? Maybe you’re a little unsure. Maybe you know who you can turn to in school or at home. Maybe you could take a look at Jesus too. (You may wish to remind the students of mentoring and counselling provisions in school.)
‘Show me the way’ by Pete Frampton, available at: https://youtu.be/I_Kv1O2KpoA (5 minutes long)
Imagine that the coming week is like a footpath.
Take a sheet of paper and a pencil. Draw next week’s path, including hazards, beauty spots (the times that you’re looking forward to), route-finding decisions and so on.
Illustrate your footpath map and pin it to your wall at home or in the classroom.