Assembly: Problems – Thinking Differently

20 October 2010 — Leave a comment

The following is an assembly that I have used with students in Secondary Schools to illustrate the point of thinking differently about a problem.

Ask everyone to put up their hands if they have recently faced any kind of problem. Most people should raise their hand. Ask them to keep their hand raised if they were able to solve their problem and were happy about the outcome. You will probably get a more mixed response to this!
Explain that sometimes the key to dealing with our problems is to think differently about them. Today you are going to be thinking differently about Post-It notes!

Post-It Animations:
There are some really creative videos out there that use post-it notes. Consider showing one of them (like the one below) to illustrate how you can think differently about everyday objects.

A Happy Accident:
Tell the story of how post-it notes were invented. I found the following summary at Xperimania

In 1970, a chemist named Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research laboratories trying to develop strong glue. His work resulted instead in an adhesive that wasn’t very sticky. When pulling apart two pieces of paper stuck together with that adhesive, Spencer discovered that the glue stuck either to one paper or the other. That seemed like a pretty useless invention. Four years later a colleague who was singing in the church choir was however hit by a brilliant idea. He used markers to keep his place in the hymn book, but they kept falling out. So he coated them with Spencer’s glue. As if by magic, they stayed in place yet lifted off without damaging the pages. The Post-it note was born. Today, it is one of the most popular office products available.

Explain that by thinking differently about the seemingly useless glue that Spencer had created, they created a very successful and versatile product. Sometimes our failures and problems can seem huge, but maybe if we look at them differently, they could become opportunities!

A Different Diet:
Tell the story of Daniel and his friends from [youversion]Daniel 1:8-16[/youversion], where they refused to eat the rich foods from the king’s table and instead asked for vegetables and water:

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

Explain that by thinking differently and doing something that wasn’t the usual way of doing things, Daniel and his friends were far healthier than everyone else and changed the diet for the better!

Challenge & Reflection:

  • What problems are you facing right now in your life?
  • Who could you turn to, to talk things through?
  • Thinking differently about your problems, what opportunities might there be? What could you learn from the situation?

This week when faced with a problem, consider how it might be an opportunity for you. Try to think differently about the issue and help others to do the same.

Image Credit: p4nc0np4n on Flickr


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I am a qualified youth worker, writer and consultant based in Littlehampton, UK. I've worked in the voluntary youth sector for over 12 years, am married to Kirsty and we have two daughters named Hope and Eloise. Check out 'Journeying Together: Growing Youth Work and Youth Workers in Local Communities' and read my opening chapter.

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