Ethos Education

The Greatest Showman

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Assembly Objective:

  • How do we find contentment in life? This assembly explores how our values and beliefs affect our relationships with other people. It presents a biblical perspective on wealth and possessions, stressing the importance of friends and family to our emotional wellbeing. It encourages students to prioritise relationships with others over possessions and self.

Film:

  • The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 2017, cert PG). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty affirms each person’s right to self-determination, but the values of Democracy, Respect and Tolerance call us to live as part of a community. This assembly encourages pupils to consider how their choices will affect their relationship with the wider community.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Would You Rather (Quiz)

Download the Would You Rather Quiz PowerPoint for this activity. The students are presented with a set of choices that all begin with the phrase, ‘Would you rather…’ and must choose one. The choices are:

  • Be too hot, or too cold.
  • Always have to tell the truth, or never be able to tell the truth.
  • Use someone else’s toothbrush, or wear someone else’s dirty socks.
  • Wear the same outfit for a year, or not be able to wash for a year.
  • Find true love, or win the lottery.
  • Have no money but a happy family, or be a millionaire but not speak to your family.
  • Be popular with lots of people you don’t like, or be friends with a few people who are not popular.
  • The quiz works best when one or two participants have an opportunity to explain why they made their choice – it usually sparks some debate!
  • When you have worked through all the choices make the point that in life, choices have to be made, and what we believe about ourselves and the dreams we have for our lives will influence how we treat other people.

FILM CLIP

The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 2017, cert PG). Click here to buy the DVD online.

  • Start time: 01:18:46 (beginning of chapter 18)
  • End time: 01:26:56
  • Clip length: 8 minutes 10 seconds
  • The clip begins with P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) sitting alone in a bar. He has lost everything and is feeling sorry for himself. He is joined by the other members of his circus show. He tells the assembled group that if they’ve come to get paid they can forget it. Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), the bearded lady, tells him to shut up. She explains that their mothers were ashamed of them and that now he is giving up on them too. She says that he gave them a real family. W.D. Wheeler (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), the trapeze artist, adds that the circus was their home and that they want their home back. Barnum sings the song From Now On, a song in which he decides to come back home to what really matters to him. The rest of the cast joins in. Barnum leaves the bar and travels to find his wife, Charity (Michelle Williams). Eventually reaching her, he confesses that he has brought hardship on her and the family because he wanted to be more than he was. She tells him that she never wanted him to be anything but the man she fell in love with. He promises that from now on he will change and they embrace. The clip is fairly long so if short of time it can be stopped at 01:24:03 (image of the train heading into the sunset).

TALK

Download The Greatest Showman PowerPoint for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Everyone dreams about what they’d like to achieve in life. Some people want to be rich, others want to be famous. Some people dream of having a successful career, others want to have a happy family life. Everyone in this room probably dreams of having a good life, of being happy and of having friends. It’s good to have dreams.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Every time we go online, look at our social media feeds or switch on the TV we are presented with dreams other people think we should have. There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way, to have the right stuff and to live a perfect life. Sometimes, however, when we pursue our dreams, or the dreams that we think we should have, and things don’t work out as we’d hoped, we end up unhappy and dissatisfied.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • In the film The Greatest Showman we meet the character of P.T. Barnum. Barnum has come from nothing, the poor son of a tailor, but through hard work and determination has achieved success as the owner and ringmaster of Barnum’s Circus.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • He has gathered a cast of misfits, people who are laughed at or ignored by others, and has offered them the opportunity to perform. He has also made a lot of money and gained social success. However, at the point we join the film, Barnum has lost everything. His circus has burned down, there is no money left and his wife has left him because he was photographed being kissed by another woman. We’re going to join the film at his lowest moment, when it seems all his dreams have failed.
    • Play the clip from The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 2017, cert PG).
      • Start time: 01:18:46 (beginning of chapter 18)
      • End time: 01:26:56
      • Clip length: 8 minutes 10 seconds
    • The clip begins with P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) sitting alone in a bar. He has lost everything and is feeling sorry for himself. He is joined by the other members of his circus show. He tells the assembled group that if they’ve come to get paid they can forget it. Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), the bearded lady, tells him to shut up. She explains that their mothers were ashamed of them and that now he is giving up on them too. She says that he gave them a real family. W.D. Wheeler (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), the trapeze artist, adds that the circus was their home and that they want their home back. Barnum sings the song From Now On, a song in which he decides to come back home to what really matters to him. The rest of the cast joins in. Barnum leaves the bar and travels to find his wife, Charity (Michelle Williams). Eventually reaching her, he confesses that he has brought hardship on her and the family because he wanted to be more than he was. She tells him that she never wanted him to be anything but the man she fell in love with. He promises that from now on he will change and they embrace.
    • The clip is fairly long so if short of time can be stopped at 01:24:03 (image of the train heading into the sunset).
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • This is a turning point in the story. Barnum had a choice to make. He could feel sorry for himself and abandon the people who love him, or he could make some changes and choose to reconnect with the people around him. All his life, Barnum has worked hard to a achieve the dream of making money and being successful, but at his lowest point he realises that having family and a home are what he actually wants after all.
    • Having money is not bad. Money can be used to make life better for ourselves and for other people around us, but money, whether we have lots of it or none, also brings worry, and it doesn’t last.
    • In the Bible there is a famous passage called the Sermon on the Mount. This was a talk that Jesus gave to his followers on a mountainside. In it, Jesus gives his followers instructions on how to build a solid life. Here are some verses from the sermon:
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Matthew 6:25-27 (New International Version)
    • ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • P.T. Barnum’s problem was that he had allowed his dreams of having money and success to become his god. He had forgotten that there were more important things in life like friendship, family and home, and when he lost his money and his fame, he was in danger of losing what really mattered to him. Here are some more verses from the Sermon on the Mount:
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Matthew 6:33-34 (New International Version)
    • ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
    • Jesus tells his followers that seeking God is more important than seeking wealth. He talks about God’s kingdom and righteousness. Seeking God’s kingdom means living fairly and treating other people well, looking after the world and sharing what we have with those who need help. It also means being faithful to the people we love. Jesus is saying that his followers should seek God first.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Whether or not you believe in God, it’s good to stop and ponder what a good life really looks like, and to ask ourselves a question:
    • Would you rather have success and wealth, or treat other people well and have a strong family and friends?
    • P.T. Barnum learned that his friends and his family were more valuable to him than any money or popularity, and the song is about changing direction and chasing after what really matters. It’s never too late to change how we live. We might have to be honest with our friends about the mistakes we’ve made or say sorry to the people we love for letting them down, but when we decide that ‘From Now On’ we are going to live a different way, we might be surprised to discover that other people and God are there to help us.

Headings and Bullets

Download The Greatest Showman PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Money.
    • Success.
    • Fame.
    • Happiness.
    • Family.
    • A good life.
    • Everyone has dreams.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • When things don’t work out…
    • Dreams other people think we should have.
    • Pressure to look a certain way.
    • Pressure to have the right stuff.
    • Pressure to live a perfect life.
    • Sometimes things don’t work out as we’d hoped, we end up unhappy and dissatisfied.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Introduce the film.
    • P. T. Barnum.
    • Through hard work and determination, Barnum has achieved success as the owner and ringmaster of Barnum’s Circus.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • A cast of misfits.
    • People who are laughed at or ignored by others.
    • Barnum has offered them the opportunity to perform.
    • He has made a lot of money and gained social success.
    • However Barnum has lost everything.
    • His circus has burned down, there is no money left and his wife has left him.
    • All his dreams have failed.
    • Play the clip from The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 2017, cert PG).
      • Start time: 01:18:46 (beginning of chapter 18)
      • End time: 01:26:56
      • Clip length: 8 minutes 10 seconds
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Turning point in the story.
    • Barnum had a choice to make.
    • He could feel sorry for himself and abandon the people who love him.
    • Or he could make some changes and choose to reconnect with the people around him.
    • Money can be used to make life better for ourselves and for other people around us.
    • Money, whether we have lots of it or none, also brings worry, and it doesn’t last.
    • Introduce the Bible passage.
    • A famous passage called the Sermon on the Mount.
    • This was a talk that Jesus gave to his followers on a mountainside.
    • Instructions on how to build a solid life.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Matthew 6:25-27 (New International Version)
    • ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • P.T. Barnum’s problem.
    • He had allowed his dreams of having money and success to become his god.
    • He had forgotten that there were more important things in life like friendship, family and home.
    • When he lost his money and his fame, he was in danger of losing what really mattered to him.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Matthew 6:33-34 (New International Version)
    • ‘But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
    • What are you seeking in life?
    • Jesus tells his followers that seeking God is more important than seeking wealth.
    • Seeking God’s kingdom means living fairly and treating other people well, looking after the world and sharing what we have with those who need help.
    • It also means being faithful to the people we love.
    • Whether or not you believe in God, it’s good to stop and ponder what a good life really looks like.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • A question to ponder.
    • Would you rather have success and wealth, or treat other people well and have a strong family and friends?
    • From now on…
    • P. T. Barnum learned that his friends and his family were more valuable to him than any money or popularity.
    • The song is about changing direction and chasing after what really matters.
    • It’s never too late to change how we live.
    • We might have to be honest with our friends about the mistakes we’ve made or say sorry to the people we love for letting them down.
    • When we decide that ‘From Now On’ we are going to live a different way, we might be surprised to discover that other people and God are there to help us.

Photo copyright for Would You Rather Quiz PowerPoint: Slide 1 Pixabay.com and Pixabay.com / Slide 2 iStockphoto.com / Slide 3 Freeimages.com and Pixabay.com / Slide 4 Pixabay.com and Pixabay.com / Slide 5 iStockphoto.com and Pixabay.com / Slide 6 Pixabay.com and Freeimages.com / Slide 7 iStockphoto.com and Pixabay.com

Photo copyright for The Greatest Showman PowerPoint: Slide 1 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slides 2, 3, 9 and 10 iStockphoto.com / Slide 4 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 5 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 6 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 7 Pixabay.com / Slide 8 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Slide 11 Pixabay.com


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Father God, thank you for the dreams you give us. May our dreams be for good. Help us to live in a way that treats other people well. Help us to be fair. Help us to admit when we’ve got it wrong and say sorry when we’ve hurt others. May we be family to one another. Amen.

Reflection

  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Ask the students to consider the questions:
    • What are my dreams?
    • Would I rather have success and wealth, or treat other people well and have a strong family and friends?
    • Is there anyone I need to say sorry to for hurting?
    • Please click here for a copy of the lyrics from the song From Now On from the clip, as reading these will be useful for the students.

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox, 2017, cert PG). Click here to buy the DVD online
  2. Would You Rather Quiz PowerPoint.
  3. The Greatest Showman PowerPoint.
  4. From Now On Lyrics.

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