the extended family
- To help pupils see that the Bible affirms the extended family.
- To help pupils understand the importance of supporting each other.
Things you’ll need
If you use the Key Stage 1 option you will need a flip chart and pens.
If possible, arrange for a class to practice the opening activity before the assembly.
1 Ask for twenty volunteers, ten boys and ten girls. Divide them into two groups – one group of girls, one group of boys. Ask each group to stand in a circle, all facing to the right. Then they must all sit down on the knees of the person behind them. When they are all sitting down, they must wave their arms in the air. (The reason for having separate boy and girl teams is to avoid their embarrassment at having to sit on each other!) As they are trying to do this, explain to everyone else just how difficult it is to do. Congratulate your volunteers on their efforts, however well they do.
2 Point out that in that exercise everyone needed to rely on everyone else for it to work. It wasn’t just the people nearest to you who needed you, but even the people on the other side of the circle. Often we are good at helping and caring for people near to us, but not for those we think of as further away. In the Bible it says that God wants people to look after the people who are close to us, like parents, brothers, sisters etc; but he also wants us to care for people further away from our immediate families, like uncles, aunts, cousins and so on.
3 Tell the pupils that in the Bible we read about Ruth and her family, who had some sad and difficult events in her life. Tell Ruth’s story:
Ruth lived with her husband and his mother who was called Naomi. Then there was a famine and Ruth’s husband died of hunger. Ruth looked after Naomi, her mother-in-law, someone who as very close to her. Even when Naomi, told her she could go, Ruth stayed with Naomi to care for her.
Ruth and Naomi travelled to the country where Naomi was born. There, Ruth worked in the field collecting corn for food. She went along after the farmers and collected the scraps they missed for her and Naomi to eat. Ruth worked in the field of someone called Boaz. When Naomi found out, she was pleased, because Boaz was a distant relative, someone who might help them. One day Ruth told Boaz that he was a distant relative of hers, and how poor she and Naomi were. Boaz knew that he had to look after them properly, so he married Ruth and looked after her and Naomi.
A Christian viewpoint
Ruth knew that she had to look after Naomi. Boaz knew he had to look after both Naomi and Ruth. The Bible says that we should care for people near to us, and those not so near. Just like the sitting game, we all need to support each other, even if the people are not close relatives.
We all have families, whether they are big or small. We can learn to be people who care about those close to us, and also those not so near. We can write or phone or help with shopping or cleaning, or just sit and chat. By giving our time we can show we really care.
Pray, thanking God for our families. Mention some of the people listed if you do the Key Stage 1 option. Ask God to help us to become people who care for those close to us, and those not so near.
Key Stage 1 option
1 Instead of the sitting game, ask the pupils how many people live in their house. Write up their answers on a flipchart so that everyone can see. Ask the pupils which relations live in their house (eg Mum, Dad, Grandma and so on). Then ask which relatives live in different houses, and which ones live overseas. Write up all the answers. You could find out who has the most people living at home, or the most relatives in more than one country.
2 Talk about all the different relatives and how some are very close to us, like our mums; others are not so close to us, like our aunts. They might live near, or even with us. In the Bible, we read that God thinks all our families are important, however big or small, and that each person in the family is important. Go on to tell the story of Ruth.