Many schools follow a programme of key values throughout the school year. These values can be an important framework for helping to define and validate the work of the school ‘beyond the curriculum’. Each value can be used as the theme for collective worship, the focus for classroom reflection and the subject matter for main hall or quiet corner displays.
The Bible has so much to offer in this area of positive personal, relational and community values and its timeless wisdom can help all schools pass on to the next generation the qualities of life that are most valuable and which, as Christians, we believe are not only God-given but also can be God-energised in our lives.
What follows is a series of ideas linked to the value of ‘Thoughtfulness‘.
It includes: key themes to explore, a key Bible verse to use, key concepts to unpack, ideas for displays and reflective corners, as well as Bible story links with further connections to material on the Barnabas websites.
- Key themes to explore
Stopping to consider something deeply for yourself – reflecting; weighing up the arguments; not rushing into something; thinking through all the possibilities; taking time to decide; pausing before you speak.
Showing sympathy with others – empathy; listening skills; noticing moods; becoming aware of other people’s points of view; putting things into perspective; using your imagination to understand how others think; putting other people’s feelings first.
Puzzling out a problem – searching for solutions to issues; researching the problem thoroughly; looking at something from all angles; taking time to get to the bottom of a major concern.
Remembering to act kindly – not forgetting a special anniversary; showing you care; remembering people’s names and stories; giving an appropriate present; doing good without being asked.
- Key Bible verses
‘Encourage anyone who feels left out; help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone… Be good to each other and to everyone else. Always be joyful and never stop praying’ (1 Thessalonians 5:14-18, CEV).
Or Proverbs 16:23 (paraphrase): ‘Wise people think before they speak, so their words are more effective.’
- Key concepts to unpack
A thoughtful person weighs up all the options before taking action; doesn’t usually rush into something carelessly; looks for creative ways to show kindness; takes time to work things out for themselves.
He or she isn’t superficial but thinks deeply about issues.
A thoughtful person uses his/her brain well – ‘uses their head’ and ‘looks before he or she leaps’.
A thoughtful person makes good connections between events and what people say; is interested in what others have to say; asks key questions in order to go deeper into issues such as:
Who will be affected? Why do I want to do this? What else can I do? What might happen? What might others think? How will I feel when it is done?
Children are introduced the idea of thoughtfulness when:
- they’re encouraged to evaluate and reflect on their work
- they are invited to contribute opinions and ideas in circle time
- their views are valued and they are given the time and space to think out loud
- they are encouraged to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and write cards of appreciation for birthdays and other special occasions
- they experience silence; explore the creative arts; and develop greater self awareness
- they are invited to respond to open-ended questions
- Display and reflective corner ideas
Use thought bubbles as a recurring motif in this display.
Include open-ended question words and phrases such as: what if…? Why…? I wonder whether…? If only… What else could have happened? How does he/she feel?
Have open some puzzle books; mazes; thought-provoking games such as chess, CluedoTM or PictionnaryTM; jigsaw puzzles; optical illusions.
Include some mysterious objects to touch and wonder about.
Include a Bible verse, for example either of the following:
‘I often think of the heavens your hands have made, and of the moon and stars you put in place. Then I ask, “Why do care about us humans? …” You have made us little lower than you yourself and you have crowned us with glory and honour’ (Psalm 8:3-5).
Your thoughts are far beyond my understanding, much more than I could ever imagine. I try to count your thoughts, but they outnumber the grains of sand on the beach’ (Psalm 139:17-18).
- Some Bible story links
- David thinks about the wonders of space and the uniqueness of human life – see Psalm 8.
- Paul always remembered thoughtfully all the people he had met on his journeys – see Romans 16.
- David thinks about God, who is always thinking about him and who knows all about us – see Psalm 139.
- Jesus is thoughtful both about the needs of his followers as well as the crowd during the feeding of the 5000 – see Matthew 14:13-21.
- Don’t forget to be thoughtful and pray for others.Peter’s friends prayed for him in prison with amazing results – see Acts 12:6-17.
- Jesus is thoughtfully about his mother even on the cross – see John 19:25-27.
Ideas for collective worship and the classroom