Posted on April 24, 2009 by Amy Tolmie
This assembly helps young people think about communication, misunderstandings, and the importance of listening.
Ask if anyone has ever played 'pass it on'? This is a game where the first person whispers a word or phrase in the ear of someone next to them, then it gets passed down the line. Quite often the word or message will get adapted as it gets misheard being passed down the line, or someone will change the message for fun. This game illustrates our theme of communication. If I was to ask you this morning how many of you feel like you are understood by those around you, I wonder how many hands would go up.
All of us at some point feel ignored, misunderstood, or like we’re not really able to communicate how we feel.
BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION
Here is a story about something that happened a while back in Wales. The following message was sent to a Welsh translator to be put on a road: “No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only”. The only problem was, the message didn’t get through, and the reply came back: "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". It was an automatic reply and it was mistakenly taken as the answer and printed on the sign, and even put up along the roadside!
You can get the image here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wal...
When there’s a breakdown in communication, it’s not only road signs that get printed wrong. Relationships can breakdown due to a lack in communication, friendships can fall apart, something you say can be taken the wrong way and spread as a rumour around school.
Are you careful when you communicate, or is there a breakdown, like there is often when you play a game of 'pass it on'? There are two sides in all communication: The one giving the message and the one receiving the message.
In this section, use at least 2 stories, including the Bible story. Depending on the length of your assembly you can fill these out (using pictures and examples) or cut these down as necessary.
- A boy called Alec Loorz was just 13 years old when he decided he could do something about the issues of global warming. He communicated his ideas, and his voice was heard and he now leads Climate Project presentations to leaders in America. Learn more about his story and what it has evolved into through the video at the bottom of this website.
- You could share a story from your own experience of when you felt listened to and understood. Perhaps someone listened to you and helped you with a big decision you were making, or it could have been the opposite.
- There is also a story of a blind man who was desperate to see. He was so desperate, that when he heard there was a man visiting town who could heal diseases, he called out. His voice was heard, and Jesus asked him “what can I do for you”. Read the rest of the story of Bartimaeus here in Mark 10:46-52 and summarise for your assembly.
The communicators were clear with their message, and the people listening responded to what they heard, not what they thought they heard or what they thought would make good gossip.
Encourage the students to think during the week about who they listen to. When we listen powerful things can happen. Imagine what would happen this week if we all took time to really hear each other?
You can use the following powerpoint if it is helpful for you to conclude your assembly with some reflective music in the background. A song you may choose to use is "Read All About It" by Emeli Sande.