Who's to Blame?
An Assembly Story for Primary Schools

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At the tender age of seven, Grace is called into service as a scullery maid in a large Victorian house. Whilst she is excited at first, she soon finds that her experiences aren’t quite as pleasant as she’d hoped. Grace finds that the work is tiring and the days are long, the nights are bitterly cold and uncomfortable, and she is suffering with very painful chilblains on her hands. Beyond this - she misses her big family immensely. Grace’s vexation starts to bubble, and it culminates in her losing her temper when working alongside Winnie, Feeling that their efforts are futile whilst washing, Grace’s hot temper rises and she takes it out on Winnie- demanding that she acts, with no consideration for her feelings. Sick of being yelled at- Winnie heedlessly dumps the boiling water from the stove into the tub… only for it to splash back and hit Grace. For a sickening second Grace is too stunned to feel anything, and then it hits her and she screams out in excruciation. This secures the attention of almost everyone in the house- and they all flock to the scullery to investigate and to help. It is arranged that two of the boys will carry Grace to the stream and hold her in the cold water to cool her skin down and alleviate the sting of her burns. Winnie watches the process and feels that she is responsible- and she is ashamed. Grace soon heals though and forgives Winnie after she apologises and before long the two girls have grown really close. New arrangements are made in the scullery so that the girls have extra help and accidents are prevented- everything starts to look brighter. This assembly story for primary schools demonstrates the importance of forgiveness and acceptance. Both Grace and Winnie acknowledge here that they have done wrong, and owning this is what enables them to move forward. They learn that exasperation can cloud judgement and acting on it can create dangerous circumstances, teaching children listening to think wisely before acting rashly. Grace’s forgiveness of Winnie here also encourages listeners to think twice before retaliating to mistreatment. It can be very hard for children to ‘rise above’ the things others do to them that are unkind (even those that are unintentional), but Grace’s thoughts at the end of the story make forgiveness seem approachable. Following her mother’s advice Grace has decided not to assume Winnie is a bad person but to put herself in Winnie’s shoes and accept that what happened was an accident. This mature approach to dealing with adversity will encourage children listening to break free from the typical cycle of hurt, blame, and tattle-tales that often occur in primary school friendships. Grace and Winnie’s budding friendship is a positive resolution to motivate children to adopt this tolerant attitude, to look for the good in people, and be more considerate towards others in the first place. It is impossible to ever completely stop accidents from occurring- particularly with young children, but it is possible to help them handle them better and realise that blame can be unnecessary. It is important for children to recognise that admitting to wrongdoing and learning how to apologise and forgive are steps towards being good, honourable people as they grow up. 

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