Ethos Education

Ferdinand: How should we treat our enemies?

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Assembly Objective:

  • How should we treat our enemies? This assembly introduces children to Jesus’ most radical teaching about loving one’s enemies.

Film:

  • Ferdinand (Blue Sky, 2017) certificate U, click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Luke 6:27-28 (The International Children’s Bible)

Supporting Values Education:

  • Rule of Law: The rule of law applies to all in British society even those who would consider themselves to be enemies of the state.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Animal Similes: (Quiz)

  • Download the Ferdinand PowerPoint and use slides 3-8 for the quiz – can the children complete the similes?

FILM CLIP 1

  • From Ferdinand (Blue Sky, 2017) certificate U
    • Start time: 00:20:19 (Bell rings.)
    • End time: 00:24:16 (Ferdinand says, ‘Oh, no!’)
    • Clip length: 3 minutes and 57 seconds.
  • If you cannot play this clip from the DVD, instead say, ‘Disobeying instructions to stay at home, Ferdinand makes his own way to the Flower Festival in the nearby village. Because of his huge size, he frightens all the people at the festival who run away when they see him. In the village square, he spots Nina and tries to go to her but his horns get caught up in a washing line. He is then stung by a bee and starts rampaging all over the square, terrifying everyone. A pram with a baby in it gets caught between his horns. The baby’s mother panics but, eventually, Ferdinand manages to put the pram down safely. It doesn’t matter, though, because everyone now thinks that Ferdinand is ‘a beast’. Ferdinand is ordered to return home but the police start to chase him. He takes refuge in a shop that sells tableware. Ferdinand is now a bull in a china shop’.

FILM CLIP 2

  • From Ferdinand (Blue Sky, 2017) certificate U.
    • Start time: 01:27:14 (El Primero enters the arena.)
    • End time: 01:36:03 (Flowers rain down on Ferdinand.)
    • Clip length: 8 minutes and 49 seconds.
  • If you cannot play this clip from the DVD, instead say: ‘El Primero, the no.1 bullfighter in Spain, enters the arena to the cheers and applause of the huge crowd. He gives the signal for Ferdinand to be released from his pen. Ferdinand emerges from the darkness nervously. El Primero and others try to get Ferdinand to attack. A man on a horse prods Ferdinand with a spike and he charges towards El Primero a couple of times before becoming entangled in the matador’s red cape. El Primero tries in vain to get his cape back and is accidentally tossed into the pen by Ferdinand. El Primero angrily comes out of the pen, holding two long spikes. He tries to stab Ferdinand but misses each time. Finally, he manages to cut Ferdinand who, reacting to the pain, picks up El Primero with his horns. The bullfighter is now totally at the mercy of the bull. But, noticing a flower on the floor, Ferdinand sets El Primero down and sniffs the flower. He remembers all the happy times that he spent with Nina on the farm. El Primero prepares to kill Ferdinand but Ferdinand just sits down. The crowd starts to object. El Primero turns and walks out of the arena. Ferdinand is reunited with Nina. Flowers thrown by the crowd start raining down on Ferdinand and Nina in the centre of the arena.

TALK

Scripted Talk

Download the Ferdinand PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome, everyone. Our assembly this morning is based on the film, Ferdinand. The film itself is based on a book that was written just before the start of the Second World War.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • The book caused a lot of controversy at the time because its hero is a bull who refuses to fight. When you think about a bull, you don’t think about it being gentle and peaceful, do you? For something that’s gentle and peaceful, you might think of a totally different animal altogether. What might that be? (Allow suggestions). And what about an animal that is mischievous? (Allow suggestions.) The English language is full of animal similes, but how many of them do you know? (Play Animal Simile quiz.)
  • [PowerPoint slide 3 – 8]
    • Play Animal Simile quiz. (Explain the meaning of any with which the children are not familiar).
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • In real life, bulls are very dangerous animals but, in the film, Ferdinand is as gentle as a lamb. He grows up on a farm that sells flowers. Nina, the farmer’s daughter, is his best friend and they spend most of their time together playing amidst the flowers. Every year, they go together to the Flower Festival in the local village. But one year Ferdinand is ordered to stay at home because he’s grown too big and Nina is concerned that his appearance will frighten the villagers. However, Ferdinand decides to disobey instructions and goes to the Flower Festival on his own. Let’s see what happens.
    • Play the first clip from Ferdinand (Blue Sky, 2017) certificate U.
      • Start time: 00:20:19 (Bell rings.)
      • End time: 00:24:16 (Ferdinand says, ‘Oh, no!’)
      • Clip length: 3 minutes and 57 seconds.
    • If you cannot play this first clip from the DVD, instead say, ‘Disobeying instructions to stay at home, Ferdinand makes his own way to the Flower Festival in the nearby village. Because of his huge size, he frightens all the people at the festival who run away when they see him. In the village square, he spots Nina and tries to go to her but his horn gets caught up in a washing line. He is then stung by a bee and starts rampaging all over the square, terrifying everyone. A pram with a baby in it gets caught between his horns. The baby’s mother panics but, eventually, Ferdinand manages to put the pram down safely. It doesn’t matter, though, because everyone now thinks that Ferdinand is ‘a beast’. Ferdinand is ordered to return home but the police start to chase him. He takes refuge in a shop that sells tableware. Ferdinand is now the bull in a china shop’.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • In the clip that we’ve just seen, the villagers call Ferdinand a monster and run away from him. Why do they do that? (Allow discussion). The villagers are frightened by how Ferdinand looks and by his behaviour. They think that he wants to hurt them and they make him their enemy.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • How often do humans do this, not just with other animals, but with other humans? We often make enemies of people we don’t really know. We judge them on how they look and think that the way they behave makes them our enemies. We then end up fighting with them.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Jesus taught his followers that they shouldn’t make enemies of people, even of people who did cause them harm. This is what he said his followers should do instead. (What do the children make of Jesus’ teaching?) Throughout history, many people have thought that Jesus’ teaching is far-fetched. How is it possible to love your enemies, especially when they hate you and say bad things to you?
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • But there have been many others who have taken Jesus’ teaching seriously. Two of the most famous people to have done so were Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. Inspired by Jesus, both of them responded to the hatred and violence directed against them and their followers not by fighting back but through peaceful non-violence.
  • [PowerPoint slide 14]
    • In the final scene of our film, Ferdinand is selected to take on El Primero, Spain’s no. 1 bullfighter. Let’s see who wins.
    • Play the second clip from Ferdinand (Blue Sky, 2017) certificate U.
      • Start time: 01:27:14 (El Primero enters the arena.)
      • End time: 01:36:03 (Flowers rain down on Ferdinand.)
      • Clip length: 8 minutes and 49 seconds.
    • If you cannot play this clip from the DVD, instead say: ‘El Primero, the no.1 bullfighter in Spain, enters the arena to the cheers and applause of the huge crowd. He gives the signal for Ferdinand to be released from his pen. Ferdinand emerges from the darkness nervously. El Primero and others try to get Ferdinand to attack. A man on a horse prods Ferdinand with a spike and he charges towards El Primero a couple of times before becoming entangled in the matador’s red cape. El Primero tries in vain to get his cape back and is accidentally tossed into the pen by Ferdinand. El Primero angrily comes out of the pen, holding two long spikes. He tries to stab Ferdinand but misses each time. Finally, he manages to cut Ferdinand who, reacting to the pain, picks up El Primero with his horns. The bullfighter is now totally at the mercy of the bull. But, noticing a flower on the floor, Ferdinand sets El Primero down and sniffs the flower. He remembers all the happy times that he spent with Nina on the farm. El Primero prepares to kill Ferdinand but Ferdinand just sits down. The crowd starts to object. El Primero turns and walks out of the arena. Ferdinand is reunited with Nina. Flowers thrown by the crowd start raining down on Ferdinand and Nina in the centre of the arena.
    • (Allow the children time to respond to the film clip. What might have happened if Ferdinand had fought back? Do his actions make him strong or weak? Why did the crowd start cheering for Ferdinand?) For many adults who have seen Ferdinand, this scene reminds them of how Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi reacted to people who wanted to harm them. In turn, it also reminds them of Jesus’ teaching about loving your enemies rather than fighting them.

Headings and bullets

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Welcome.
    • Introduce film.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Image: The Story of Ferdinand.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Animal Similes 1.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Animal Similes 1: Answers.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Animal Similes 2.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Animal Similes 2: Answers.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Animal Similes 3.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Animal Similes 3: Answers.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Ferdinand and Nina.
    • Play clip 1.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Ferdinand the Monster.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Enemies.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Luke 6:27-28.
  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • [PowerPoint slide 14]
    • Ferdinand v. El Primero.
    • Play clip 2.

Photo copyright for Ferdinand PowerPoint Slide 1 Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios / Slide 2 Amazon.com / Slides 3-8 and 12 all images from Pixabay.com / Slide 9 Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios / Slide 10 Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios / Slide 11 iStockphoto.com / Slide 13 Public domain and Public domain / Slide 14 Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios


RESPOND

Reflection

  • What single adjective might people use in a simile about you? Do you think that this would express everything about you?
  • Everyone expected Ferdinand to fight because he was a bull. How do people expect you to behave because of who you are?
  • Someone once said that the best way to defeat your enemies is to make them your friends. What do you think of this idea? How might you go about doing that?
  • If someone thinks that you are their enemy, how might you change their mind about that?
  • Why do you think the book on which the film is based caused a lot of controversy when it was published in 1936?
  • What do you think of Ferdinand in the second clip? Is he a hero or is he a coward?
  • What lesson might you take away from this assembly should you fall out with someone in the future?

Prayer

  • Dear God, we thank you that in the whole world no two people are exactly the same. Help us to remember this and not to make judgements about people whom we don’t really know. Help us to treat everyone as a unique individual just like ourselves. And when we find it difficult to get along with people, help us to be kind and sensitive towards them. As Jesus taught his followers, let us try to respond to anger and aggression with patience and love. Amen.

 YOU WILL NEED:

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