How to use this site    About Us    Submissions    Feedback    Donate    Links - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Secondary

Email Twitter Facebook


The Sibling Bond

Exploring our family relationships

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the importance of siblings and others in our family.

Preparation and materials


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Welcome the students to the assembly and ask them, ‘Can anyone estimate how many children there are in the world’s largest family?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show Slides 2-3.

    Reveal that the world’s largest family is thought to be the Ziona family, which includes 94 children! The slides show the family and the house in India where they all live together. The father of the family, Ziona, died in 2021, aged 75.

  3. Show Slide 4.

    This is the UK’s largest family: the Radfords. Sue and Noel Radford live in the north-west of England and have 22 children. They also run their own bakery business and have been the subject of several documentaries. Most recently, they appeared on the Channel 5 show 22 Kids and Counting, which aired in January this year.

    Let’s watch the trailer for it.

    Show the YouTube video ‘22 Kids and Counting trailer’.

  4. The relationship that we have with any brothers and sisters is unusual in that it could be the longest relationship that we have over our lifetime. Of course, we make friends along the way, but brothers and sisters get to know us from a very early age.

  5. Having a sibling can be a lot of fun. A brother or sister can be a great play partner and friend, and they can provide us with welcome company. It can be comforting to know that we have our big brother’s support, or to feel proud as our younger sister follows in our footsteps or achieves one of her goals.

    For those of us who don’t have any siblings, cousins and close family friends can take on a similar role, becoming almost like a brother or sister to us. It can feel great to have their support, company and love in our lives.

  6. However, sibling relationships are often where we learn how to bicker and squabble too. We learn the meaning of rivalry as we compete for our parents’ attention, for access to the TV remote or for the biggest bedroom! It is often said that many siblings argue like cat and dog. Bart and Lisa Simpson are great examples of this.

    Show Slide 5.

    Let’s watch a sibling argument in action!

    Show the YouTube video ‘The Simpsons – Bart vs Lisa’ (stop after 1 minute).

  7. When we argue with our siblings, we are learning how to navigate conflict in life. Hopefully, there will be a chance to make up and put any squabbles behind us, which is a great lesson in learning to repair relationships. These skills stand us in good stead for life.

Time for reflection

The idea of being part of a supportive family unit was important to the first Christians. They adopted the practice of calling each other ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ to indicate that, even though they might not have been blood relatives, they were still united in a larger family, the family of God. In Matthew 12.50, Jesus says, ‘For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.’

Also, Christians pray the Our Father prayer, which reminds them that they are united in a larger faith family, and that people of faith are like brothers and sisters.

The early Christians came from various economic backgrounds and social classes, but by calling each other ‘brother’ and ‘sister’, and by speaking of God as ‘Father’, they publicly acknowledged their equality before God.

The idea of being part of a larger family unit, and united with other believers as brothers and sisters, is also an important idea in Islam, as we can see at the Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

Show Slide 6.

Muslims from around the world participate in the pilgrimage and wear the same simple white garments, which are known as ihram clothing. This shows their equality before God as fellow brothers and sisters in faith.

So, whether we have multiple siblings or none, we can consider ourselves as part of a wider family, united by shared beliefs and practices with others.

Encourage the students to reflect upon the ways in which they feel part of a larger family, where people take on a brotherly or sisterly role for them.

Their larger family might include:

- people in their friendship group
- people who are part of a club or society with them
- people who share their faith

Ask the students, ‘What do you have in common with these people?’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the students, ‘Are we committed to finding ways to resolve difficulties with these people when they arise? How can we do that? What are the benefits of having this sibling-type relationship?’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Dear God,
Thank you that you have given us families as places to be in relationships with others.
This might include sharing our lives with brothers and sisters, step- or half-brothers and sisters and cousins.
Thank you for our relationships with people who are a similar age to us, who we look up to and may even argue with, a bit like a brother or a sister.
We thank you for the gift of our siblings and our sibling-type relationships.
Help us to be loving, forgiving and patient with others.
Please help us to learn from others and be willing to find ways to resolve difficulties when they arise.
Help us to remember that we are all equal before you.


‘He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother’ by The Hollies, available at: (4.18 minutes long)

Publication date: April 2022   (Vol.24 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page