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What Matters Most?

Values are important

by Philippa Rae

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider the importance of respecting differences when understanding others’ values.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (What Matters Most?) and the means to display them.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Welcome the students to the assembly.

  2. Ask the students, ‘What does the word “value” mean?’

    Encourage the students to discuss the question in pairs or small groups.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Explain that there are several definitions for the word ‘value’.

    - The amount of money that can be received for something.
    - The importance or worth of something to someone.
    - A number or symbol that represents an amount.

    In its plural form, values are the beliefs people have, especially about what is right and wrong and what is most important in life, that control their behaviour.

  4. Tell the students that in today’s assembly, we’re going to consider the last definition: our judgement of what is most important in life.

  5. Point out that as we get older, we develop values along the way that can shape how we live our lives. Sometimes, our values change as we go through different experiences during our lives. Not everyone shares the same values, and values can be influenced by many things.

    Ask the students to discuss some examples.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Explain that it’s not always easy to get along with others who appear to have different values from the ones that we consider important. However, while staying true to ourselves, we should also be respectful towards others and what they regard as important.

  7. People often make judgements about others simply because their values are not the same. However, as long as someone’s actions aren’t harmful to others, we should leave the person to choose their own values, and respect them.

    If someone’s actions are harmful to themselves, we can try to steer them onto the right path with kind, compassionate advice. Alternatively, we might direct them to someone who can help them.

    Considering how we would like to be treated ourselves is always a good starting point.

  8. We should also remember that we don’t always know the reasons behind someone’s actions.

    Show Slide 2.

    We should try to set an example with our own actions.

  9. Show Slide 3.

    Many people place value on high achievers. In society, we need achievers who make improvements in different fields of life such as medicine, technology, sport and entertainment. We also need enterprising people who create successful businesses so that they provide employment for others. These people can inspire others to follow their lead and be an example to us.

    However, if we lived in a world where everyone wanted to reach the top, the world might be an unpleasant place full of discontented people. This is because we all have different skills and abilities. We need people who will use their skills for the good of others. We need people to teach and to care. We need people who will work as a team, valuing others for what they can bring and who they are.

  10. Show Slide 4.

    We live in a community where everyone should be valued equally for the part that they play.

    Some people place a higher emphasis on their family, friends, hobbies or spiritual life.

    Mutual respect and teamwork are the building blocks of a solid, stable community.

Time for reflection

Encourage the students to think about the people who live in the community around them.

Ask the question, ‘Have you ever asked any of them what the most important thing in their life is at this moment?’

Encourage the students to turn to the people sitting near them and ask the question, ‘What do you value the most?’

Listen to a range of responses.

Remind the students how important it is to learn to recognize and appreciate people’s qualities, remembering that everyone has different personal strengths.

Show Slide 5.

Read out the list on the slide and ask the students which qualities they value most and why.

Listen to a range of responses.

Ask the students, ‘What is something of particular importance to you? Why does it matter?’

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the students to think of someone they know, and then ask, ‘What do you think is important to that person?’

Show Slide 6.

Explain that the passage on the slide is found in the Bible, in Paul’s letter to the Church at Philippi. They are good words for us all to consider: ‘Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.’

Encourage the students to do as the verse suggests in the coming week, and look for the good in those around them.

Dear God,
Please help us to live our lives according to good values.
Please help us to respect each other.
Please help us to see the good in other people.
Please help us to stand up for what is right, as we love and care for other people.


‘Getting on with life’ by Philippa Hanna, available at: (4.14 minutes long)

‘That’s what friends are for’ by Dionne Warwick, available at: (4.31 minutes long)

Publication date: January 2024   (Vol.26 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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