To show pupils that being embarrassed may be a price worth paying for doing what’s right.
2 Kings 5:1-15 – the story of Naaman
You will need:
- Find out in advance if there is a teacher who would be willing to tell the pupils about their most embarrassing experience (optional).
- Prepare and rehearse your telling of the story of Naaman (see 2 Kings 5:1-15). Aim to make it as entertaining as possible, emphasising any ‘embarrassing’ aspects.
Talk about how embarrassing it could be for you taking an assembly in front of all of them! You might make a mistake, or say the wrong thing, or forget what to say completely. So, you are relying on everyone to help you.
1. Announce that you are going to conduct a survey on the subject of embarrassment. Tell the pupils sitting on the front row of the assembly that you would like them to help you. (You need a group of about fifteen to twenty people.)
2. Say that you are going to give them a series of two alternatives. Each of the options will be represented by opposite sides of the hall. They must each decide which of the two alternatives is the most embarrassing situation and move to the appropriate side of the hall. Insist that they must make their own decisions.
3. The choices are
- Being singled out by name in assembly or to go forward as a group to receive an award;
- Falling flat on your face in some mud or being drenched by a passing car going through a puddle;
- Making the alarm go off in Marks & Spencer’s doorway or not having enough money to pay at the supermarket (you could use the name of the local supermarket) checkout;
- Getting bottom marks in a test or getting top marks in a test;
- Being seen by your friends with a member of the opposite sex or being seen by your friends out shopping with your parents.
- Photos of you from four or five years ago being shown to relatives at a family party or everyone at the party being told how well you are doing at school.
4. When the survey is complete, thank those who took part and ask them to return to their seats.
1. Make the point that whilst some of them might have found it embarrassing to come to the front, at least they had other people with them! The most embarrassing times are when you feel as if everyone knows that you alone have done something stupid! For example:
- An American – Tony Randall – who had been asked to be a spokesman for the National Sleep Disorder Month, overslept and missed a guest spot on the TV show Wake Up America.
- Police were called to a flat in Bournemouth after a passerby heard screams of ‘Help!’ They found twenty-one year old Toni Hoare in the shower, singing along to the Beatles’ song of the same title at the top of her voice!
- Tell the audience about one of the most embarrassing moments you have experienced and/or ask a teacher to do this.
2. These are all situations where the embarrassment has been due to a simple mistake. But there is another kind of embarrassment – the sort of embarrassment you know you are going to feel because you have chosen to do or say something unusual because you believe it is right or necessary.
3. As an illustration, tell the story of Naaman dramatically, drawing out all the embarrassing aspects. Explain that Naaman was a very important man with lots of servants. Unfortunately, he had a serious skin disease – leprosy. He reluctantly agreed to God’s way of curing him. Emphasise how embarrassing it must have been going to bathe not once, but seven times, one after the other, in a not-very-beautiful river, especially in front of all his servants.
Conclude your telling of the story by saying that he obviously thought the embarrassment of doing something so apparently stupid was worth it for the sake of being cured.
1. People sometimes find it difficult to admit they are a Christian, or even to show that they are interested in the Christian faith. They are afraid they will be teased or ridiculed – and, as a result, embarrassed.
2. Continue by saying that many people throughout history have taken risks and been ridiculed for something they believed in (eg believing that the earth was round; that penicillin was an effective medicine; that the sun was the centre of the solar system). And sometimes the cost of doing what you believe in can be far worse than embarrassment – it can be persecution or even death. That is still happening to some people today, just for admitting that they are Christians.
3. Conclude by saying that sometimes it’s difficult to do what’s right, especially when most people act as if they think you are wrong. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, but the temporary embarrassment may be a price worth paying for doing what is right.