What if?
An Assembly Story for Primary Schools

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Life is an accumulation of choices. The age-old ‘what if?’ tends to crop up most when we are rethinking a choice we have made- usually when we are not certain that we are happy with the consequences. Here, Emma makes a choice that contradicts her moral standing and experiences feelings of regret, guilt, and fear that she struggles to cope with. When the most popular girl in school: Narinder, makes an effort to be friendly with Emma, she is flattered. Flattery morphs into excitement when Narinder invites Emma to her house one Saturday, and, desperate to impress her new buddy- Emma collects a few of her family’s prized possessions to take with her. This choice becomes a source of trauma as unbeknownst to Emma, Narinder’s cheeky brothers have swapped her family’s lovely things with their own shabby versions- leading her to believe she has ruined everything:- the items she has taken, her family’s view of her, and her friendship with Narinder . Ultimately. Emma feels like a fraud. Having sought a hiding place for some sanctuary, Emma ends up in the spice storeroom- only to be discovered by Narinder’s kindly and wise grandfather. He deduces the actions of his wayward grandsons and, puts all to rights behind the scenes- leaving Emma grateful that all is not worse, and now understanding the valuable life lesson that all choices have consequences and resolving to be much more thoughtful henceforth. This assembly story teaches children the importance of thinking carefully and choosing not to do things they know are wrong. The fact that Emma’s family’s possessions were not ruined does not excuse her actions- listeners will be able to recognise from this story that borrowing without permission is effectively stealing- discouraging them from doing so themselves. Emma took the items in an attempt to impress Narinder but in fact never got the opportunity to show them off- teaching her, and the children listening to the story to have confidence that people like you for who you are, not what you have. Emma placed too much emphasis on popularity and possession over personality- a habit that causes a lot of issues for youngsters. With the benefit of hindsight, Emma establishes that nothing was worth the guilt, and the potential for more severe upset caused by stealing. Primary school children will be able to understand this and understand also that impressing others is not the be-all and end-all (especially if it requires wrongdoing), and that it is very important to think carefully before choosing to take action to impress. In this story, Narinder’s grandfather helps Emma out of her predicament by being kind. Everybody is human, and everybody makes mistakes- particularly children who have little malicious intent. In the case that they do make the wrong choice, they should feel that they could turn to somebody else to make amends before consequences become too severe. Children listening should feel comforted in this knowledge, and should know that the fretting and the ‘what-ifs’ will not solve anything- but that they can always ask for help should they so need it. 

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