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Giving Back: Based on the book Milo and the Magical Stones
On a small island in the middle of the sea, a mouse named Milo makes an extraordinary discovery - a magic, glowing stone hidden in a deep crevice. How this discovery changes the lives of Milo and the other mice is left to the reader to decide. The book offers two alternative endings, one happy, one sad. Each offers opportunities to reflect on the implications of our own actions for the communities in which we live.
This book is potentially the basis for a series of three collective worships. The first could explore how greed can destroy the sense of community. The second could look at the long-term benefits of a sharing approach and the difficult decisions that might face each individual. The third offers a choice to reflect on how famous figures, such as Mother Teresa, have followed this second route as an expression of their Christian faith. These assemblies would easily link with PSE lessons and circle times in the classroom and the theme of daily worship could therefore be reinforced throughout the rest of the school day.
You will need:
- a copy of Milo and the Magical Stones, written and illustrated by Marcus Pfister and published by North South, ISBN 1 558 58682 2
- a collection of pebbles that are large enough to decorate. One of the stones could already be coloured or covered in gold and a second might be decorated with a symbol, picture or pattern. These two should initially be hidden.
- A mouse puppet can enhance the telling of the story.
- A flip chart or OHP (optional)
- Tell the story of Milo, explaining that there will be a choice between two endings. You will need to decide whether to state that one is a happy ending and one is sad or allow the children to go through an extra stage in their thinking by deciding which is the preferred solution.
- Ask the children to judge which is the best ending and to identify reasons why. You could expect suggestions about greed, making the island beautiful, sharing warmth and enjoying spending time together. Older children may be able to identify principles of equal distribution of wealth and making decisions for long-term good. The contributions could be recorded by a pupil on a flip chart or OHP.
- Draw from the discussion the message that we have to give back to our world, or our community, to ensure there are good things for the children that come after us.
- Take the classroom to be our world or community. Ask the children what it gives them and then what they can give back so that everyone benefits.
Refer to Mother Teresa as a person who lived out her Christian faith through constantly giving back to her community. This reading is what she writes about giving and receiving from God:
'So take whatever He gives and give whatever He takes with a big smile.
Accept the gifts of God and be deeply grateful.
If He has given you great wealth, make use of it, try to share it with others,
with those who don't have anything.
Always share with others.'
Mother Teresa - Meditations from a Simple Faith compiled by Lucinda Vardey, Rider, ISBN 0 712 67286 9
Hold a pebble in your hands, and ask everyone to pretend they are doing the same. Invite them to draw something on the pebble with their finger. This should be their way of giving something back to the island. You may ask several children or adults to describe what they have drawn and why, or ask them to share their decoration with the person next to them.
Use the prayer 'Father God, the more that we explore the wonderful world...' from Prayers for a Fragile World by Carol Watson (Lion, ISBN 0 745 97949 9).
'The Eagle and the Hawk' from Earth Songs by John Denver, Music Club CD 035. Several other of the songs in this collection are also appropriate.