Ethos Education

Instant Family

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Assembly Objective:

  • What does it feel like to be part of a family? No family is perfect, but part of the purpose of family is to teach us how to negotiate relationships in the wider world. The Bible uses the picture of a family to describe the church, and talks about how believers are adopted into God’s family. This is not a perfect family either, but it’s important for people who follow Jesus to know that they belong because God has chosen to include them.

Film:

  • Instant Family (Paramount, 2019, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of Individual Liberty is essential to the educational goal of developing pupils with ‘rational autonomy’. Families, like schools and the whole of society, function on the basis of certain rules set by adults. This assembly helps pupils begin to think about how to appropriately exercise their individual liberty within their home environment.
  • The values of Democracy and Rule of Law are based on a shared community where people feel that they belong. This assembly helps pupils begin to think about the nature of ‘family’ which, in its various and diverse forms, is a place where we feel we belong.
  • The value of Respect derives from an underlying belief that everyone is valuable. This assembly enables pupils to explore their view of their own value within their particular family context.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Happy Families (Activity)

Mark out a large area on the floor with tape or string and place lots of obstacles within the marked out area. Depending on the space you are in, the obstacles could be paper cups half filled with water or small toys or similar objects that will make a noise. Choose ten volunteers and divide them into two teams of five. Explain that they are going to be a family of five, and that the aim of the activity is to help get one of their family across the space safely to the other side. Blindfold the family member who is going to make the crossing, and tell the rest of the family that they may speak but not touch their family member.

When the activity has finished, explain that to achieve the goal, the ‘family member’ had to trust the others to help them, and they had to communicate well to help them across the gap. Real life families do not always work well together and can end up in trouble.

Award a small prize to the family who manages to get their family member across first.


FILM CLIP

Play the clip from Instant Family (Paramount, 2019, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

  • Start time: 00:35:43
  • End time: 00:41:41
  • Clip length: 5 min 58 sec

The clip begins with Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) in their Foster Parents Support Group. The other parents are sharing the difficulties of dealing with the children in their care. When it comes to Pete and Ellie’s turn, they say that it’s going well and they have had no problems with the three children they have taken in. Everyone else in the group is fairly cynical in their responses, laughing when Ellie says that she thinks they might have got lucky. The social workers comment that they might be in a honeymoon period. The scene then cuts to Christmas Day in the family home. The younger children open their expensive presents but want to play with the cardboard boxes. Lizzie (Isabela Moner) is less enthusiastic and when Ellie tries to get her to open up about her past, Lizzie brushes her off. We then see the family sitting around the dinner table. It is a perfect family scene until Lita (Julianna Gamiz) asks for her potato chips, the only food she likes. Pete tells her that they’re not having potato chips and Lita flies into a tantrum. Lizzie intervenes, shouting at Lita, then Ellie tells her to leave it as she has it under control. Chaos ensues with broken glass, a fire and screaming. The scene ends with Ellie admitting they need Lizzie’s help. Lizzie takes the younger children off to bed and we hear Lita saying that she hates Ellie.


TALK

Scripted Talk

Download the Instant Family PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • All of us come from different types of families. Some are large, some small. Some are happy, some not so happy. Some of us can feel sad when we think about family life because of things that have been said in our families, or because we have not been treated well. Some of us have lots of happy memories of times we’ve had with our families.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • There is one thing that is certain. Nobody has a perfect family. At some point all of us will have experienced days that are better than others. Families argue. Not everyone gets along with everyone. People get ill or lose their jobs or feel sad because people leave or die. Family life is not always easy.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • In today’s assembly we are going to think about what it feels like to belong to a family, either a birth family or an adopted one. We’re going to begin by watching a clip from the film, Instant Family, about a family of three children – Lizzie, Juan and Lita – who are fostered by a couple called Pete and Ellie. Their situation is unusual because Lizzie is 15, and Pete and Ellie have chosen to foster her as a teenager because they felt strongly that she should have a home and a family that would take care of her. However, Lizzie has been used to looking after Juan and Lita, and although the foster placement has started well, family life is about to get bumpy.
    • Watch the clip from Instant Family (Paramount, 2019, cert 12).
    • The clip begins with Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) in their Foster Parents Support Group. The other parents are sharing the difficulties of dealing with the children in their care. When it comes to Pete and Ellie’s turn, they say that it’s going well and they have had no problems with the three children they have taken in. Everyone else in the group is fairly cynical, laughing when Ellie says that she thinks they might have got lucky. The social workers comment that they might be in a honeymoon period. The scene then cuts to Christmas Day in the family home. The younger children open their expensive presents but want to play with the cardboard boxes. Lizzie (Isabela Moner) is less enthusiastic, and when Ellie tries to get her to open up about her past, Lizzie brushes her off. We then see the family sitting around the dinner table. It is a perfect family scene until Lita (Julianna Gamiz) asks for potato chips, the only food she likes. Pete tells her that they’re not having potato chips and Lita flies into a tantrum. Lizzie intervenes, shouting at Lita, then Ellie tells her to leave it as she has it under control. Chaos ensues with a broken glass, a fire and screaming. The scene ends with Ellie admitting they need Lizzie’s help. Lizzie takes the younger children off to bed and we hear Lita saying that she hates Ellie.
    • I don’t know what Christmas dinner is like in your house, but I hope you’ve never set fire to the table!
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Life was not straightforward for the family in the film. The children needed a home, and Pete and Ellie wanted to help, but it was hard for all of them to get used to living together in the same house. It was especially hard for Lizzie as she was used to taking care of her younger brother and sister. She had been forced to act like a grown up, even though she was only 15, and now it was hard for her to learn to trust Pete and Ellie.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Everyone in the family needed to learn how to get on with each other. Lita had to learn to stop throwing tantrums when she didn’t get what she wanted. Juan had to learn not to be afraid of Pete and Ellie. Lizzie had to learn to trust Pete and Ellie. They had to learn how to be parents, even though this was the first time they had ever been responsible for three children.
    • This family quickly realised that if they were going to make life work, they would have to work hard together. They would also have to learn to communicate better with each other, to trust each other and not to be afraid to be themselves.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Family life is never perfect but there are some important things that should be in place.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Firstly, everyone needs to communicate well. When we have a problem in our families, we can sometimes find it hard to talk about it. This sometimes leads to frustration, anger, shouting and even tantrums like Lita’s. Learning to share what’s on our mind calmly and without shouting can help a lot, and can stop small problems from growing into enormous rows. If your family finds it hard to communicate, then finding someone you can talk situations through with can be helpful. That might be a grandparent, a good friend or an adult you trust.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • The second thing we need in families is trust. The children in Instant Family had spent their lives being moved from one foster family to another and never knew when their natural mum was going to be around to look after them. Because of this it was very difficult for Lizzie to believe that Pete and Ellie were going to stick with them. Lots of adults had made promises to Lizzie then broken them, so it was hard for her to trust Ellie to look after them well. Trust is important in any family or relationship. Learning to trust someone when they have hurt us or let us down can be really hard and takes courage. Sometimes we have to choose to forgive our families for times when they have hurt us. Trust is a quality that is built slowly, so if you find it hard to trust other people, you might need to keep trying and not give up.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • The third thing that is important in family life is to know that we are free from fear. We didn’t see much of Juan in the clip we watched, but throughout the film we see that he is a boy who is afraid that he will upset other people and that they will hurt him as a result. He says sorry a lot, and it’s not usually his fault. Saying sorry is important in family life, but only when we have caused the hurt. What is also important is feeling safe, secure and free to be yourself. If you feel afraid in your family then it’s important to tell someone how you feel so that they can help you.
    • Family life is hard work for natural families, foster families or adopted families. The church is often described as being God’s family, and it is not perfect either.  The Bible has some words that describe what it is like to call God our Father or Dad. Although his family is not perfect, God is a perfect Father.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Read Romans 8:14-17 (NLT): ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Christians believe that when they decide to follow Jesus, God adopts them into his family and calls them his children. Like any family, Christians don’t always find it easy to get on with one another, but these verses help us to remember that when people are God’s children they don’t have to be afraid. The word ‘Abba’ is not just the name of a band, it’s also the Hebrew word for father, or dad. Christians often call God, Father and describe themselves as his children. In God’s family, people can communicate with God by praying and reading the Bible. They can trust that God keeps his promises and they do not have to be afraid of God because he loves them, forgives them and promises to be with them forever.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • No matter what our human families are like, we can find help from God’s family and from other people. They can help us communicate well, trust well and be ourselves without fear.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Instant Family PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Different types of families:
    • Some are large, some small.
    • Some are happy, some not so happy.
    • Some of us can feel sad because of things that have been said or how we have been treated.
    • Some happy memories of times we’ve had with our families.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Nobody has a perfect family:
    • Families argue.
    • Not everyone gets along with everyone.
    • People get ill or lose their jobs or feel sad because people leave or die.
    • Family life is not always easy.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Introduce the film clip:
    • Family of three children – Lizzie, Juan and Lita.
    • Fostered by a couple called Pete and Ellie.
    • Lizzie is 15.
    • Pete and Ellie felt strongly that she should have a home and a family. However, Lizzie has been used to looking after Juan and Lita.
    • Family life is about to get bumpy.
    • Watch the clip from Instant Family (Paramount, 2019, cert 12). 
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Life was not straightforward for the family in the film:
    • The children needed a home.
    • Pete and Ellie wanted to help.
    • But it was hard for all of them to get used to living together in the same house.
    • Especially hard for Lizzie.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Everyone in the family needed to learn how to get on with each other.
    • Lita had to learn to stop throwing tantrums when she didn’t get what she wanted.
    • Juan had to learn not to be afraid of Pete and Ellie.
    • Lizzie had to learn to trust Pete and Ellie.
    • They had to learn how to be parents.
    • This family quickly realised that if they were going to make life work, they would have to work hard together.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • Some important things that should be in place:
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Communication:
    • Sometimes we find it hard to talk to each other.
    • Leads to frustration, anger, shouting and even tantrums like Lita’s.
    • Learning to share what’s on our mind calmly and without shouting can help.
    • Stops small problems from growing into enormous rows.
    • If your family finds it hard to communicate, then finding someone you can talk situations through with can be helpful.
    • A grandparent, a good friend or an adult you trust.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Trust:
    • It was very difficult for Lizzie to believe that Pete and Ellie were going to stick with them.
    • Lots of adults had made promises to Lizzie then broken them.
    • It was hard for her to trust Ellie to look after them well.
    • Trust is important in any family or relationship.
    • Learning to trust someone takes courage.
    • Sometimes we have to choose to forgive our families for times when they have hurt us.
    • Trust is a quality that is built slowly, so if you find it hard to trust other people, you might need to keep trying and not give up.
  • [PowerPoint slide 9]
    • Freedom from fear:
    • Juan is a boy who is afraid that he will upset other people and that they will hurt him as a result.
    • He says sorry a lot, and it’s not usually his fault.
    • Saying sorry is important in family life, but only when we have caused the hurt.
    • What is also important is feeling safe, secure and free to be yourself.
    • If you feel afraid in your family then it’s important to tell someone how you feel so that they can help you.
    • Family life is hard work for natural families, foster families or adopted families.
    • The church is often described as being God’s family, and it is not perfect either.
    • The Bible has some words that describe what it is like to call God our Father or Dad.
    • God is a perfect Father.
  • [PowerPoint slide 10]
    • Read Romans 8:14-17 (NLT).
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Christians believe that God adopts them into his family and calls them his children.
    • Like any family, Christians don’t always find it easy to get on with one another.
    • These verses help us to remember that when people are God’s children they don’t have to be afraid.
    • The word ‘Abba’ is not just the name of a band, it’s also the Hebrew word for father, or dad.
    • In God’s family, people can communicate with God by praying and reading the Bible.
    • They can trust that God keeps his promises.
    • They do not have to be afraid of God because he loves them, forgives them and promises to be with them forever.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Finding help when life is hard:
    • No matter what our human families are like, we can find help from God’s family and from other people.
    • They can help us communicate well, trust well and be ourselves without fear.

Photo Copyright for Instant Family PowerPoint: Slides 1 and 5: Paramount Pictures / Slide 2: Paramount Pictures / Slide 3 Paramount Pictures / Slide 4 Paramount Pictures / Slide 6 Paramount Pictures / Slide 7 Paramount Pictures / Slide 8 Paramount Pictures / Slide 9 Paramount Pictures / Slide 10 image 12 www.LumoProject.com / Slide 11 Pixabay.com / Slide 12 Paramount Pictures 


RESPOND

Prayer

Father God, you are a perfect father, full of love and forgiveness. Help us in our families to learn to communicate better, to trust one another and to be free from fear. We pray for families in trouble, and for children and teenagers who don’t have a family of their own. Please be with them and help them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 Reflection

  • [PowerPoint slide 13]

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of Instant Family (Paramount, 2019, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Instant Family PowerPoint.
  3. Tape or string to mark out a course, blindfolds, small obstacles (cups of water, small toys or musical instruments) and a prize for five people for Happy Families opening activity.

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