Inspire your pupils and students to take part in little acts of heroism. This assembly looks at the need that society has for heroes and what we can learn from them, using two notable examples from popular culture: James Bond and Doctor Who

Resources

You will require two readers

Engagement

Reader 1: What exactly makes a person a hero?

Reader 2: Is it bravery, being fearless when other people might run away?

Reader 1: Is it about putting the needs of others before your own? Being prepared to risk your own safety for others?

Reader 2: Perhaps all of us can be heroes as w can all choose not to be selfish but to live in such a way that helps others and puts our selfishness to one side.

Reader 1: Heroes don’t have to be trained for battle, like perhaps they were in the past. They can be people who have protested or supported a cause, or who have tried to make the world a better place.

Reader 2: Heroes don’t have to be well-known. They can be found in the streets you live on – quietly making sure that their families or their communities have the care they need to be as good as they can be, making sure that everyone feels secure.

Reader 1: Could you be a hero?

Reader 2: Could I be a hero? Does it matter where you are born or who your parents are? Does it matter if you are able to naturally do things that others might regard as really brave?

Reader 1: There are times when we might just need to be someone else’s hero. Are you ready for that? How would you cope?

Reader 2: We can all be heroes, as each of us can help each other and that requires courage and commitment.

Reflection

Leader: 44 years ago, the writer Ian Fleming died. He was most famous for creating one of the most enduring of all heroes: James Bond. Fleming based his secret agent on some of the people he had worked with when he had been an intelligence officer in the second world war. Bond novels became very popular and from the early 1960s until today, films of his exploits have been seen by millions of people. Bond has a licence to kill – he is able to end the life of anyone that the secret service sees as a threat to the security of the country or on many occasions, the world. The whole story of Bond was celebrated at the Imperial War Museum last summer.

45 years ago, television screened the first episodes of the science fiction serial “ Doctor Who”. The Doctor is a time traveller who tries to help all in trouble across time and space. Unlike Bond, he tries to avoid being violent at all costs, trying to show respect to all life forms, even if they have very different values to his own.

Do heroes need to be people who accept violence like James Bond or reject it, like Doctor Who? It is difficult to say: it depends on the situation. James Bond is allowed to kill only in extreme situations – so even here, the link between being a hero and being able to use force isn’t as close.

Most of us will never be in a position to be able to save our country, our planet or the entire universe. Yet each of us can be a hero. When Martin Luther King was asked once what made a person great, he pointed to the fact that everyone could serve other people and he said that the truly great people, the ones who were important to the world were those who served others not those who tried to become more powerful than others. He said they needed to be, “souls generated by love”.

How might we become the heroes who seek the needs of others? Here are three suggestions.

First, we need to learn about others, to try to understand them and their needs. This will not be easy – too often we are so focussed on our own needs that we forget the needs of others.

Second, we need to view ourselves in a way that does not exaggerate our weaknesses nor our strengths: we need to be realistic about the sort of people we are in order to help others.

Third, we need a commitment to remain true to the goal of helping others, as this will not be without cost to us. We need to realise that helping others will cost us time, and affect other people’s views of us.

Some years ago, there was a song which urged people to “search for the hero inside yourself”. We can all be heroes. Some of you already are, through your commitment to your families and friends. All of us can be heroes. Let us try to be at least one other person’s hero this week, this month, this year.

Response

You might to use this as a prayer or an affirmation:

What does it take to make a person a hero?Could I be a James Bond or a Doctor Who?Probably not. Yet there are seemingly little acts of heroismThat I can take part in which can change me, my family, my friends, my community For the better. May I possess the wisdom to see what I can do to change the world

Then have the bravery to make the choices that will help others.

All can be great because all can serve others:May I be a person who learns to see the value of others,

Who treats them with respect and care.

To be a hero takes the courage to keep going,To keep believing in a cause when othersMight try to run away or give up rather than risk the problems

I will face if things get difficult.

If I can develop these qualities, I will be a hero.
May I become so.

Amen

This e-bulletin issue was first published in September 2008

About the author: Cavan Wood

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