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Are You Listening?

The importance of listening

by Alison Thurlow (revised, originally published in 2014)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To encourage us to be good listeners.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a student to read the story of Martha and Mary that is found in the Bible at Luke 10.38–42.


  1. Explain that in today’s assembly, we are going to think about getting on with - and falling out with - our friends. First, we’re going to have a quick quiz!

  2. Explain that you are going to read out a set of questions one at a time. Each question has two possible answers, and you want the students to choose one.

    – What would you rather do? Play football or sit on a bench and chat to your friends?
    – What do you prefer to do with your friends? Play on a games console or go swimming?
    – If your best friend was away, would you sit on your own for a day or go and sit by somebody else?
    – If there was someone new in your class, what would you do? Ignore them or go and talk to them?
    – If you saw someone being bullied, would you sort it out yourself or go and tell a teacher?
    – If you had fallen out with your friend, what would you do? Go and tell everyone else how horrible your friend is or try to make up?

  3. Point out that all of the questions had something to do with friends. Some questions addressed personal preferences whereas others related to important choices in behaviour. These choices could either help or hinder relationships.

    Optional: you may wish to read out the questions again.

  4. Invite the student to read the Bible passage Luke 10.38–42.

    Explain that the passage is about two sisters who nearly fall out about something.

Time for reflection

Ask the students to discuss the following questions in pairs or small groups.

– Why did Martha feel so cross with Mary in the story?
– In the story, Jesus told Martha that it was sometimes good just to sit and listen. Why is it important to listen to our friends?
– How can listening to our friends help us not to fall out?

After discussion time, listen to a range of responses.

Conclude by emphasizing the importance of listening to others. If appropriate, you could mention that Christians believe that we can listen to what Jesus has to say to us by reading about him in the Bible.

Dear Lord,
Please help us to be good listeners.
Please help us to realize the importance of our own words.
Please help us to understand the importance of what others say.
Please help us never to be too busy to notice those around us.


‘Reflections’ from the film Mulan, available at: (2.36 minutes long)

Publication date: October 2021   (Vol.23 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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