Ethos Education

Carnage: Do no harm or do some good?

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Assembly Objective: 

  • How should we interact with other people? Is it enough for us just to do no harm to others, or should we also seek to do good for them? This assembly invites pupils to consider the Bible’s teaching about the ‘golden rule’.

Film: 

  • Carnage (StudioCanal, 2011, certificate 15). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The values of Tolerance and Respect govern how we interact with other people. This assembly helps pupils to consider how the things we say affect others and how we can use our words as well as our actions for the good of other people.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Good Neighbours (something to think about)

Download the Bullying Good Neighbours PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • Display the PowerPoint with a suitable musical accompaniment. We suggest either You’re My Best Friend by Queen (available on the album Queen’s Greatest Hits) or Be My Enemy by the Waterboys (from the album This is the Sea). The Waterboys option will need fading out at the end, while the Queen selection fits the timing perfectly. If you prefer to use a different song, make sure that it is at least two minutes and 45 seconds long, which will get you safely through to the end of the PowerPoint.
  • The PowerPoint will transition automatically between slides once you start it. If you want slides to transition sooner, simply left click your mouse to move on. If you don’t want to use the PowerPoint, you could tell the stories from the PowerPoint in your own words.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Research in 2011 revealed that one person in twenty chooses to move house as a result of clashes with their neighbours. Here are just a few of the stories of good neighbours gone bad:
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • John and Theresa Beale are moving from Manaton, Devon after ten years. One neighbour, a parish councillor, complained about the noise their Burmese cat Rio made while calling for the company of female cats.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • The complaint was rejected by environmental health officers, but the chairman of the council still wrote in the local paper about ‘a series of complaints about animal noise spoiling people’s enjoyment of our peaceful village.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • The Beales have decided to move, claiming that in a small community they don’t know who to trust and who will be talking about them behind their backs.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • George McGourty was annoyed when his neighbour’s extension was bigger than expected. His response? He drilled a hole in the wall, pushed through a hosepipe and pumped water in for several hours, flooding the room to a depth of two feet.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • When his neighbours eventually found the hose, they traced it back to McGourty’s property and called the police, who discovered McGourty had built a rabbit hutch to disguise his handiwork.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • McGourty, who caused £50,000 worth of damage, was sentenced to 260 hours of community service and fined. His neighbours called for him to be imprisoned ‘in the name of justice’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Two neighbours in Greater Manchester fell out over window cleaning. John Byron claims that when his upstairs neighbour, John Trayers, cleans his windows, the ladder blocks Byron’s front door.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Initial discussions resulted in Byron locking himself in his own flat, afraid that Trayers would attack him. Mr Byron now refuses to talk to Mr Trayers.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Their landlord has suggested Trayers put a note through Byron’s door giving him 24 hours notice of when he intends to clean his windows.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Trayer’s response: ‘The idea that I will put a note through his door when I want to clean my windows – it just doesn’t happen. I would rather not clean my windows than speak to him or put a note through his door. It is not about cleaning windows. It is all about principles.’

What Would You Do? (quiz)

Download the Carnage What Would You Do? PowerPoint with this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Ask the students to answer the following questions to find out what their actions in different situations reveal about them.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • On your way to school you see that one of your teachers has broken down in their car. What do you do?
      • a) Go straight past – you don’t want to be late for school, too.
      • b) Offer to help push while they try to jump-start the car.
      • c) Offer to help in return for the teacher letting you off homework for a week.
      • d) Think about helping, but worry that it will look like you’re being a suck-up, so just walk past.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • You see a man lying down in the street, who looks like he’s been mugged. What do you do?
      • a) Walk on by, don’t get involved.
      • b) Stop and see if he’s all right, calling an ambulance if necessary.
      • c) Check that no one is looking, then go through his pockets in case his attackers missed any valuables.
      • d) Think about stopping to help, but decide not to in case things get complicated and you somehow get blamed.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • On the way to the bus stop you see a worried-looking man who says he’s dropped his wallet. What do you do?
      • a) Do nothing. He should have been more careful.
      • b) Help him to look for it, and give him money for his bus fare if he can’t find the wallet.
      • c) Check whether he’ll give a reward to anyone who finds it, then help him look if he agrees.
      • d) Consider helping him look, but decide not to in case it makes you miss your bus.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • You see a woman on the bus dropping all her shopping. What do you do?
      • a) Stand and watch her pick it all up.
      • b) Help her to pick up her things and then listen to her endless chat about how things aren’t like they were in her day.
      • c) Nip past her and steal the last vacant seat.
      • d) Think about helping her, but leave it too late and end up doing nothing.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Your Mum is about to arrive home, and the house is looking a mess. What do you do?
      • a) Go up to your room and start doing something else. If she wants you to tidy, she can ask.
      • b) Start tidying up so that she can come back to a neat and clean house.
      • c) Go round to a friend’s house so that you don’t get asked to tidy up.
      • d) Think about tidying up, but then get distracted by whatever’s on television.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • If you answered mostly A: You wouldn’t hurt a fly, but you wouldn’t help one either. You are so concerned not to do anything bad to anyone that you never think to do anything good for them either.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • If you answered mostly B: You are always looking for the chance to help others, even if that means putting yourself out.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • If you answered mostly C: You only really look out for yourself, don’t you? It’s all about what you can get out of any given situation, and who cares how that affects anyone else.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • If you answered mostly D: You want to help other people, but you can always find a reason to hesitate and let the moment pass. Your indecision is final.

FILM CLIP

  • Play the clip from the film Carnage:
    • Start time:       0.36.27 (in chapter 7 of the DVD)
    • End time:        0.37.56
    • Clip length:     1 minute and 29 seconds
  • The clip starts with Nancy (Kate Winslet) applying hand lotion and saying, ‘In the bathroom, I was thinking…’ It ends with Nancy saying, ‘If you don’t know anything, don’t say anything. Don’t make insinuations.’
  • In the clip, two sets of parents discuss a conflict between their sons and debate whether words, as well as violence, constitute abuse.

TALK

Download the Bullying Carnage Talk PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • When people fall out, or clash, it isn’t always easy to tell who’s in the wrong. In 2011 there were two high-profile cases of footballers allegedly racially abusing opponents during Premier League matches. Even after Football Association hearings and court cases, many fans of the four clubs involved still claim that their man was hard done by and that the other feller deserves more of the blame. Sometimes our sense of loyalty to someone can colour our perception of whether they’ve done something wrong.
    • We’re going to watch a film clip now to help us think about this some more. This clip features two married couples who have met up to discuss a problem between their teenaged sons. Nancy and Alan’s son Zachary hit Penelope and Michael’s son Ethan in the face with a big stick. In this scene, Nancy, played by Kate Winslet, suggests that the laying of blame isn’t quite as clear cut as that summary might suggest.
    • Play the clip from the film Carnage:
      • Start time:       0.36.27 (in chapter 7 of the DVD)
      • End time:        0.37.56
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 29 seconds
    • The clip starts with Nancy (Kate Winslet) applying hand lotion and saying, ‘In the bathroom, I was thinking…’ It ends with Nancy saying, ‘If you don’t know anything, don’t say anything. Don’t make insinuations.’
    • If you are unable to play the clip, say, ‘Nancy points out that Zachary was responding to repeated name-calling from Ethan, and that name-calling, like physical violence, is a form of abuse.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Now it’s not so clear. [click] Nobody is disputing that Zachary was in the wrong to hit Ethan in the face with a big stick, [click] but suddenly Ethan doesn’t appear quite as innocent as he sounded at first.
    • Both of them, Zachary and Ethan, treated each other badly. There’s an argument that Zachary – the stick-wielder – was the worse offender, but Ethan is far from blameless. Both of them forgot a principle that is often described as the golden rule.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Pretty much every world religion acknowledges the idea of treating others like we would like them to treat us. Here are some examples.
    • [click] Confucius said, ‘What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others’.
    • [click] The Buddha said, ‘Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful’.
    • [click] Hillel the Elder, a leading Jewish thinker from around the time of Jesus summed up all of Jewish teaching like this, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.’
    • Jesus said something similar too, but he put a different twist on it. See if you can spot the difference:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:31, New International Version.
    • All the other forms of the golden rule that we’ve mentioned are essentially about not doing bad things – don’t do things that you wouldn’t like others to do. Jesus encourages us to positively do good things, to treat others as we would like to be treated. In the same section of the Bible he urges his followers to love their enemies. A few chapters later, when he’s urging people to love their neighbour, and is asked by an expert in the law to define what he means by ‘neighbour’, he tells the story of the Good Samaritan:
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ Luke 10:30-37, New International Version.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Notice that the first two passers-by do nothing that would be against the ‘do no harm’ versions of the golden rule. But the problem is, the man who has been beaten up needs more than the passive absence of harm – he needs someone to help him. Jesus recognised that doing no harm doesn’t go far enough. We need people to actively do good things for us, and that’s only going to work if we do the same for them.
    • We started off by talking about conflict and bullying. If we all set out to do no harm to one another, that would deal with the problem of bullying. In the case of the two lads from the film clip, ‘do no harm’ would have meant no name-calling and no whacking round the head with a piece of two-by-four. But do no harm doesn’t go far enough. To really transform our school, our community and our world, we need more. [click]  ‘Do no harm’ has to become ‘do some good’. For everyone.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Bullying Carnage Talk PowerPoint with this presentation.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Not always easy to tell who is in the wrong.
      • 2011: two high profile cases of racist abuse from footballers.
      • Fans of the clubs involved all side with their player, despite FA and legal rulings.
      • Sometimes loyalty can colour our judgement.
    • Introduce film clip.
      • Two married couples discussing their teenaged sons.
      • Zachary hit Ethan with a big stick.
      • Nancy (Kate Winslet) suggests the blame isn’t as clear-cut as first suggested.
    • Play the clip from Carnage.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Not so clear.
      • [click] No one disputes Zachary being in the wrong.
      • [click] but Ethan isn’t as blameless as he first sounded.
    • Both boys treated each other badly.
      • Maybe Zachary was the worst offender.
      • Ethan is far from innocent.
      • Both of them forgot ‘the Golden Rule’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • All major world religions acknowledge the idea of treating others as we would like them to treat us.
      • [click] Confucius said, ‘What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others’.
      • [click] The Buddha said, ‘Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful’.
      • [click] Hillel the Elder, a leading Jewish thinker from around the time of Jesus summed up all of Jewish teaching like this, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.’
    • Jesus puts a different twist on it:
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ Luke 6:36, New International Version.
    • Other versions say ‘don’t do bad things’.
      • Jesus says, ‘actively do good things’.
    • This is from the same part of the Bible where he says ‘love your enemies’.
      • Later, he says love your neighbour and explains what he means by neighbour in the story of the Good Samaritan.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’
    • The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’
    • Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’ Luke 10:30-37,  New International Version.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • The first two passers-by meet the ‘do no harm’ version of the Golden Rule.
      • But the man needs more – he needs someone to help him.
      • Jesus saw that doing no harm isn’t enough.
    • Conflict and bullying.
      • ‘Do no harm’ would solve that.
      • But ‘Do no harm’ doesn’t go far enough.
      • [click] ‘Do no harm’ has to become ‘Do some good’.

Photo copyright for Bullying Good Neighbours PowerPoint: Slide 1 Carnage 2011 / Slides 2-4 Jgroland2 / Slides 5-10 iStockphoto.com.

Photo copyright for Bullying Carnage Talk PowerPoint: Slide 1Sony Pictures Classics / Slide 8image 1 and image 2 Sony Pictures Classics.


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for the example of Jesus in looking to help others, rather than simply looking to do them no harm. Help us to see opportunities to do good things, and give us the confidence and courage to take those opportunities, even if it means putting ourselves out. Amen.

Reflection

  • When you see someone in trouble, or in need, what do you do? Do you dismiss them out of hand, do you hope that someone helps them, or do you go over and do whatever you can to make things better? Which response would you like people to make if you were the one who needed help?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. Carnage (StudioCanal, 2011, certificate 15). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Bullying Good Neighbours PowerPoint.
  3. Carnage What Would You Do? PowerPoint.
  4. Bullying Carnage Talk PowerPoint.
  5. You’re My Best Friend by Queen or Be My Enemy by the Waterboys for the Good Neighbours opening activity.

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