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An unprejudiced heart

To consider our own prejudice, and resolve to try to stop acting according to prejudice.

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To consider our own prejudice, and resolve to try to stop acting according to prejudice.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. What’s your favourite film? Think about that for a couple of moments, then I’ll take some favourites. Remember to respect everyone’s choice – films are very personal!

    (Take a few answers – hopefully there will be lots of variations.)
  2. I’d like to share with you some of my favourites, and why I like them.

    (Share a few films and the reason that you like them. Mine would include: 21 Grams, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ghostbusters, Wall-e, Before Sunrise, Lost in Translation, It’s a Wonderful Life, Some Like It Hot and Singing in the Rain.)
  3. But the film I want to talk about today is a children’s film from 1995, which you may have seen when you were a lot smaller: it’s called Babe and it’s based on a book called The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith.

    Babe is a piglet that is fostered in the farmyard by farm sheepdog. We aren’t told why he’s not with his family, other than the farmer is going to fatten him up for Christmas lunch. Babe the piglet begins to watch his foster sheepdog brothers and sisters being taught how to herd sheep, and has a go. But rather than herding by shouting at the sheep and calling them stupid, he politely asks them, if they’d mind just going over here, or doing that. The sheep are charmed and obey. And that’s all the plot I’m going to tell you – you will have to watch the film to get the rest!
  4. The film made history at the time because it used CGI and animatronics in a new way, which hadn’t been seen before. It’s old hat now, but the film generated enormous interest and watching figures because of the new techniques, and also because of the charm of the story.
  5. But why am I telling you this today? Because the first line of the film is this: ‘This is the tale of an unprejudiced heart.’

    I’ll repeat that: ‘This is the tale of an unprejudiced heart.’

    Have you ever met anyone about whom you could say that? Someone with an unprejudiced heart?
  6. That property of Babe, of having an unprejudiced heart, is critical to his eventual success in the story: because he has no prejudice towards the sheep, he manages to get them over to his side. And then they forget their prejudice towards sheepdogs, who the sheep regard as rude bullies.

    You can see where I’m going. I know that I have some prejudice within my heart, and that’s not something I’m proud of. But most of us do, even though we usually aren’t aware of it. That prejudice affects the way we treat other people, and often we’re completely unaware of what’s happening.
  7. What would this school, and your homes and neighbourhoods, be like if we all decided not to act according to our prejudices? To question habits of behaviour that we’ve always had and acted upon? I don’t know the answer to that question, other than I’m sure it would be better for all of us.

    It’s a new term, a new year. Let’s all aim to be people of unprejudiced hearts.

Time for reflection

In a moment of quiet, think about the people you find difficult, the people maybe you don’t like.

Have you ever stopped to question why you hold those attitudes?

Is it because you hold some prejudice within your heart?

Prayer

Make me a person with an unprejudiced heart.

No matter how hard that is for me,

no matter how long it takes.

May I be a person with an unprejudiced heart.

Amen.

Publication date: January 2009   (Vol.11 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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