Ethos Education

X-Men: First Class: Never Changing

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Assembly Objective:

  • Why does everybody need to feel loved, and to love ourselves? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching that nothing can separate us from God’s love for us.

Film:

  • X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox, 2011, Certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The values of Respect and Tolerance derive from an underlying belief that everyone is valuable, whomever they are and whatever they have done. This assembly enables pupils to explore how we can be part of a loving community, and learn to love ourselves.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Where’s Wally’s Tie? (game)

  • This game will need the help of a willing student to be your secret assistant. Ask your assistant to change their tie before the assembly. In place of the normal school tie (if your school has such a thing – if not, you may have to improvise something that works in your school context) for one of a very different (and preferably vivid) colour.
  • Ask for two volunteers to come up onto the stage for an observation game. Stand them with their backs to the audience and explain that somewhere in the audience, someone is wearing a bright red (or whatever colour it is) tie. When you say ‘go’, the two volunteers will be allowed to turn around and the winner will be the first one to spot the non-conformist, point and shout ‘I see the tie!’ (You could also encourage them to point out any other instances of uniform code violation that they spot. If you do this, you might want to arrange for members of staff to be on hand to talk to the miscreants at the end of the assembly).
  • After the game, and depending on whether it took a long or short time, you could talk about how easy/hard it can sometimes be to blend in to a crowd when we aren’t the same as everyone else. Explain that in today’s assembly we are going to think about the importance of feeling that we belong, and of being comfortable with who we are.

Talking About Beauty (something to think about)

Download the Beauty Quotes PowerPoint for use with this activity.

  • Display the PowerPoint with quotes about beauty and appearance for the students, either leaving the quotes to speak for themselves or providing whatever editorial commentary you wish.
  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Appearance rules the world.
    • (Friedrich Schiller)
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • For the girl with the hourglass figure, time runs out very fast.
    • (Billy Bragg)
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • I definitely believe in plastic surgery. I don’t want to be an old hag. There’s no fun in that.
    • (Scarlett Johansson)
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Beauty is the first present nature gives to women and the first it takes away.
    • (Fay Weldon)
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • The problem with beauty is that it’s like being born rich then getting poorer.
    • (Joan Collins)
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • It is better to be beautiful than to be good, but it is better to be good than to be ugly.
    • (Oscar Wilde)
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • I’d like to grow up and be beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter, but it doesn’t hurt.
    • (Kirsten Dunst)
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.
    • (Sophia Loren)
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Beauty in things exists in the mind that contemplates them.
    • (David Hume)
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
    • (Miss Piggy)

FILM CLIP

  • X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox, 2011, certificate 12)
  • Show the clip from X-Men: First Class:
    • Start time:       0.11.24 (in chapter 3 of the DVD)
    • End time:         0.12.57
    • Clip length:     1 minute and 33 seconds
  • The clip starts with Charles (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) walking out of an Oxford pub. The first line is Charles saying, ‘Don’t talk to me, you did that on purpose’. The clip ends after Charles says, ‘…you’re awfully concerned about your looks.’ Please note that this clip includes the phrase ‘an old fart’. If you feel this language would be unhelpful in the context of a school assembly, then it is better not to use the clip.
  • If you have time for a longer clip, start at 0.09.48 (also in chapter 3 of the DVD), with a captioned panoramic view of the city of Oxford. This longer clip shows Charles chatting up a young woman in a pub, talking about mutation, only to have his style cramped by Raven’s discrete use of her mutant shape-shifting ability. It then continues with the clip as detailed above.
  • Both versions of the clip shows Charles and Raven discussing the importance of keeping their mutant status secret, and of blending in to appear just like everybody else. Charles is much more emphatic about the importance of this than Raven, who displays a desire to be seen and accepted as she truly is.

TALK 

Download the Identity X-Men: First Class Talk PowerPoint  for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Chameleons are impressive creatures. Their stereoscopic eyes pivot independent of one another; their lengthy prehensile tail aids balance; their lengthy, rapidly extendable tongue is great at catching food; and – most famously – they have the ability to change colour. Sometimes this colour change is a social indicator – it shows when they are feeling fear, or hunger, or some other physiological condition. Sometimes, the colour change is a matter of camouflage, blending in with their surroundings, making themselves harder to spot. It’s a useful skill, [click] and one which some of us might wish we had the ability to carry off at times.
    • We’re going to watch a film clip now, featuring two people whose safety depends on their ability to blend in, to appear just the same as everyone else. But the truth is that they are very different indeed.
    • Introduce the clip from X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox, 2011, certificate 12).
      • Start time:       0.11.24 (in chapter 3 of the DVD)
      • End time:         0.12.57
      • Clip length:     1 minute and 33 seconds
    • The clip starts with Charles (James McAvoy) and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) walking out of an Oxford pub. The first line is Charles saying, ‘Don’t talk to me, you did that on purpose’. The clip ends after Charles says, ‘…you’re awfully concerned about your looks.’ Please note that this clip includes the phrase ‘an old fart’. If you feel this language would be unhelpful in the context of a school assembly, then it is better not to use the clip.
    • If you have time for a longer clip, start at 0.09.48 (also in chapter 3 of the DVD), with a captioned panoramic view of the city of Oxford. This longer clip shows Charles chatting up a young woman in a pub, talking about mutation, only to have his style cramped by Raven’s discrete use of her mutant shape-shifting ability. It then continues with the clip as detailed above.
    • If you are unable to play the clip, explain that in the film Charles Xavier and his adopted sister Raven are two mutants at large in Oxford. Charles is adamant that they should keep their mutations secret, but Raven – who can change her appearance at will, but whose normal appearance is bright blue and scaly – is growing tired of always hiding her true nature.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Charles wasn’t entirely sympathetic, but Raven was struggling with a real issue: she doesn’t want to put on a false persona the whole time, she doesn’t want people to accept her because she pretends to be like them – she wants to be accepted for who she really is.
    • For Raven it’s a very real dilemma. She wants to be able to be herself, but she’s afraid that if people see the real her, if they know how she is different from everyone else, she will be rejected. She’s afraid of the consequences of letting everyone know who and what she really is. Charles accuses her of worrying too much about how she looks, but she’s missing the point. What she is worrying about is who she is, where she fits in, where she belongs.
    • You might know the actress Kristin Chenoweth. She played April Rhodes in Glee, and has appeared in Pushing Daisies and Ugly Betty, among other television and film appearances. This is what she has to say about how people see themselves:
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • ‘If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.’
    • I think she maybe puts her finger on Raven’s problem. Raven doesn’t feel that she is worthy of love. Because she doesn’t love herself, that makes it hard for her to feel that others could love her. What Raven needs is to be reassured that someone loves her, and that they will love her no matter what.
    • I don’t think Raven – blue scaly skin and ability to shape change aside – is all that different from most of us. It’s a fundamental, deep-down human need to feel that we are loved. All of us need to feel that someone somewhere loves us and accepts us just as we are; someone who loves us with a love that nothing can shake.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • This is what the Bible says about God’s love:
    • ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 8:38-39 (NIV).
    • This is a passage written to Christians. The writer is talking to people who have accepted God’s love and put their trust in him. And the promise here is that once someone accepts God’s love, nothing – nothing at all – will ever make them lose it. Take a look at the list of things the writer dismisses as being insufficient to cut off God’s love. It’s pretty exhaustive, isn’t it? Christians believe that God offers precisely what Raven and many others are looking for: unconditional love, just as they are.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • No, none of us are blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutants. At least, I don’t think any of us are. But most of us will identify to a greater or lesser extent with Raven’s problem. If we want to feel that we belong, we need to feel loved, and we need to learn to love ourselves.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Identity X-Men First Class Talk PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Chameleons are impressive:
      • Stereoscopic eyes.
      • Lengthy prehensile tail.
      • Rapid extendable tongue.
      • Ability to change colour.
      • Colour change can be a social indicator, or camouflage.
      • Camouflage is a useful skill [click] one that some of us might wish we had sometimes.
    • Introduce film clip:
      • Two people whose safety depends on ability to blend in.
      • But they are very different from the others.
      • Play the clip:
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Raven’s problem:
      • She doesn’t want to hide behind a false persona.
      • She wants to be accepted for who she really is.
    • Raven is afraid of rejection if people knew the truth about her.
      • Charles thinks it’s all about looks – he’s missing the point.
      • It’s all about who she is and where she belongs.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Kristin Chenoweth (Glee, Pushing Daisies, Ugly Betty):
      • ‘If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.’
    • This is Raven’s problem:
      • She doesn’t feel worthy of love.
      • Because she doesn’t love herself, it’s hard for her to feel that others could love her.
      • Raven needs reassurance that someone will love her no matter what.
    • Raven isn’t that different from most of us:
      • Fundamental human need to feel loved.
      • We all need to be loved and accepted just as we are.
      • We all need someone whose love for us can’t be shaken.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • This is what the Bible says about God’s love:
      • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.‘ Romans 8:38-39 (NIV).
    • This passage is written to Christians:
      • It talks to people who have accepted God’s love.
      • It promises that once someone accepts God’s love, nothing can make them lose it.
    • Christians believe that God offers precisely the kind of love that Raven and many others are looking for: unconditional love, just as they are.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • None of us are blue-skinned, shape-shifting mutants.
      • Most of us will identify with Raven’s problem.
      • To feel that we belong, we need to feel loved.
      • We need to learn to love ourselves.

Photo Copyright for Beauty Quotes PowerPoint: Slide 1 Ludovike Simanowiz Slide 2 Ben Sutherland / Slide 3 Angela George / Slide 4 Mogens Engelund / Slide 5 Frantogian / Slide 6 Napoleon Sarony / Slide 7 David Shankbone / Slide 8 Allan Warren / Slide 9 Allan Ramsay / Slide 10 Theo Wargo/NBC Universal

Photo Copyright for Identity X-Men First Class Talk PowerPoint: Slide 1 chameleon by Oliver Dixon, man in purple iStockphoto.com / Slide 2 and 5 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 3 Frazer Harrison


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you for seeing us as we truly are. Thank you that with you we never have to hide our feelings or our personality, we never have to pretend to be something that we’re not. Help us to have the confidence to be ourselves with others, and to accept others for who they are. Amen.

Reflection

  • What parts of your self-identity do you think would surprise the people in this room? How many people ever get to see the real you? Perhaps you’re not sure who the real you is. How comfortable are you with yourself? If you wanted to discuss these issues with someone, who would you trust to talk to?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox, 2011, Certificate 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Beauty Quotes PowerPoint.
  3. Identity X-Men First Class Talk PowerPoint.

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