The following is an assembly that I have used with Year 7 and Year 9 in Secondary Schools. It is based on an assembly plan by James Lamont on assemblies.org.uk
Suitable for: Key Stage 3
Key Themes: Truth, Honesty
Bible Verse: [youversion]Proverbs 11:3[/youversion]
Delivery Time: 10 minutes
Equipment needed: A copy of the poem “Matilda (Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death)” by Hilaire Belloc
Introduce yourself and explain that you are going to be speaking on the theme of ‘Truth’. To illustrate the idea of truth, you are going to play a quick game of Truth or Dare!
Truth or Dare
Ask for three volunteers who would be willing to play the game. Pick them and get them to stand up. One at a time, ask them the question ‘Truth or Dare?’. If they say dare, give them a quick challenge to complete in front of everyone. Examples could include:
- Dance the Macarena
- Hug 10 people
- Sing a song out loud
If they choose a truth, ask them a suitable question such as:
- Who in this room do you fancy?
- Tell us your most embarrassing moment!
- What is your worst habit?
Remind them that they are supposed to be honest with their answers.
You will probably find that most of the volunteers will pick a dare rather than reveal a truth about themselves. Explain that it can be hard to tell the truth. Itâ€™s often easier to avoid the question or tell a lie.
Matilda, (Who told Lies, and was Burned to Death)
Read the following poem by Hilaire Belloc
Matilda told such dreadful lies,
It made one gasp and stretch one’s eyes;
Her aunt, who, from her earliest youth,
Had kept a strict regard for truth,
Attempted to believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not she
Discovered this infirmity.
For once, towards the close of day,
Matilda, growing tired of play
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the telephone
And summoned the immediate aid
Of London’s nobel Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the gallant band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow,
With courage high and hearts a-glow
They galloped, roaring though the town,
“Matilda’s house is burning down”
Inspired by British cheers and loud
Proceeding from the frenzied crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the ball-room floor;
And took peculiar pains to souse
The pictures up and down the house,
Until Matilda’s aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed
And even then she had to pay
To get the men to go away!
It happened that a few weeks later
Here aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that interesting play
The Second Mrs Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her niece
To hear this entertaining piece:
A deprivation just and wise
To punish her for telling lies.
That night a fire did break out-
You should have heard Matilda shout!
You should have heard her scream and bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To people passing in the street-
(The rapidly increasing heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence)-but all in vain!
For every time she shouted “Fire!”
They only answered “Little Liar!”
And therefore when her aunt returned,
Matilda, and the house, were burned.
The poem is similar to the famous story of the boy who cried “Wolf”. When we tell lies too much, people don’t trust us anymore. It is better to tell the truth.
Read the following verse from the Bible.
If you are good, you are guided by honesty. People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty. ([youversion]Proverbs 11.3[/youversion] )
Explain that people who tell the truth, are honest and trustworthy. People who lie too much will be destroyed by their dishonesty just like Matilda in the poem. Ask the students to think about what sort of person they would like to be and challenge them to be honest and tell the truth.