the importance of family
To help children think about why families are important and about being members of God’s family.
Things you’ll need
- List of questions about animals and their young (see below)
- Pictures of animals, if possible with their young.
- Proverbs 31:27
- Ephesians 6:1,4
- Ephesians 2:19
1 Ask for eight volunteers to come to the front. Divide them into two teams. Explain that you are going to have a quiz where the object is to give the special name of the young of various animals (eg a young cat is a kitten). In turn, ask the teams questions of increasing difficulty. You could use animals from the list provided (see box), or see if you can find more obscure ones. Add in some which you answer yourself with incorrect answers (eg duckbill platypus/duckbill platykitten) just for fun! Show some of the pictures of animals and their young that you have brought at appropriate moments, as the quiz goes along. Congratulate the winning team and ask all your volunteers to sit down.
2 Ask the children if they have seen birds, like ducks or swans, swimming on a lake or river with their young. Talk about birds and how they care for their young: they provide food for them; teach them to find food for themselves; teach them how to preen themselves, using oil from the gland at the base of their tail feathers to coat their feathers so that they don’t sink etc. Ducklings or cygnets snuggle up to the mother bird under her wings for warmth and security. If the parent birds think there is any danger to their young they will flap their wings and make a noise to deter people or dogs from coming too close.
3 Talk with the children about ways in which these families are similar to our own (being sensitive to the variety of family units that are likely to be represented). We all need to know that we are cared about and that we belong.
A Christian viewpoint
Christians believe that families are part of God’s plan. Families provide the security, care and support we need. In our families we can learn how to get on with other people (Ephesians 6:1,4). Jesus taught his followers to call God ‘Father’ and Christians think of each other as brothers and sisters in a huge family that spreads all over the world (Ephesians 2:19).
Whatever we believe about God, families are very important. We all need the safety and love of our families to grow up in. Sadly, family relationships sometimes break down and then we might need other people to help us. Sometimes people talk about ‘the family of man’ which includes all human beings.
Ask the children to think about their own family– focusing on good things. They may like to think about God as a Father who knows and loves and cares for them. They may like to think about their school as a family where people care for and support one another.
If appropriate, you could finish the assembly with this prayer:
Lord God, we thank you for our families and for all the people who care for us. Please help us to care for others too. Amen.
Animals and their young