Ethos Education

The Measure of a Hero

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Assembly Objective:

  • How does failure help us shape our futures? This assembly considers the idea that by failing, human beings learn from their mistakes and are able to succeed. It examines how shame over past mistakes can stop people living fully, and considers the biblical teaching on forgiveness and redemption through the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector.

Film:

  • Avengers Endgame (Marvel, 2019, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The values of Respect and Tolerance presuppose an understanding and appreciation of beliefs held by different people. This assembly helps pupils consider how the Christian faith approaches the question of shame and redemption, and prompts students to consider their own attitude towards those shared human issues.

OPENING ACTIVITY

Noughts and Crosses (activity)

Set a challenge to the group, telling them that you will offer a small prize to anyone who can beat you at noughts and crosses. Once you have a few volunteers lined up, explain that the only rule is that, as the challenger, you will always go first. Make sure you always win the game (watch this YouTube tutorial if you need a reminder of how to do that – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkC1E6SIgik).

Once you have played a few games and won, explain that the game is fixed so that you will always win (there may already be an outcry!). Explain that sometimes life can feel as though it is fixed so that we feel like failures. It’s not good to always feel like a failure.

If you’re hesitant about your ability to keep winning, you should probably make sure you have a small prize ready to give any student who outwits you. You can still make the point, albeit less powerfully!


FILM CLIP

Play the clip from Avengers Endgame (Marvel, 2019, cert 12).

  • Start time: 01:24:48
  • End time: 01:28:32
  • Clip length: 3 min 44 sec

Walking through her palace, Frigga (Rene Russo), becomes aware that her son, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is hiding behind a pillar watching her. Thor has travelled back in time to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) in order to prevent it being used against the universe. He looks rough and out of shape, having given up hope and lost purpose. Frigga dismisses her ladies in waiting and goes over to speak to him. She recognises that he is from the future, and when he realises that it’s pointless to deny this because she ‘sees with more than eyes’, he tells her he needs to talk to her. While Rocket (Bradley Cooper) steals the stone, Thor describes recent events and tells his mother he feels like an ‘idiot with an axe’. She tells him he is not an idiot, but a failure, and that makes him just like everyone else, and that everyone fails at who they are supposed to be. The measure of a hero, she says, is how well they succeed at being who they are. When Rocket reappears with the Stone, she tells him to go and be the man he’s meant to be. He stretches out his hand and his hammer, Mjolnor, returns to him. He turns to Rocket and says, ‘I’m still worthy’.


TALK

Scripted Talk

Download the Avengers Endgame Powerpoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Today we are going to talk about success and failure.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Walt Disney is probably known for being one of the most creative people in the world, but when he was a young man, he was fired from his job at a newspaper for not being creative enough. Later, he tried to start an animation business, but it ran out of money. Desperate to make some money, Walt decided to move to Hollywood and eventually his films became popular and the Disney Company was formed. Disney is now one of the world’s most recognisable brands and the company makes billions of dollars every year.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • J.K. Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in cafes in Edinburgh. Her mother had died, her marriage had ended and she was living on benefits. She is now the world’s bestselling living author, but she has talked about how she felt like a failure. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been translated into eighty languages, the series of books has been made into enormously successful films and has millions of fans worldwide.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • I wonder how you feel when you fail at something. When we make mistakes, or life just doesn’t work out the way we had hoped, we can feel like giving up. We begin to wonder if we will ever feel good again. We may be like Walt Disney, determined to pick ourselves up and try again, but we may also feel like J.K. Rowling, who became depressed. Failure is hard to deal with, but it can make us more determined, and helps us become better at what we do. But it can also make us feel worthless.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • In the film clip we’re about to watch, we meet a hero who feels like a failure. Thor has travelled to the past to try and rescue the Infinity Stones and undo the damage caused by the super-villain, Thanos. However, Thor has lost hope and has given up trying. He is out of shape, and has started drinking heavily. We find him spying on his mother, Frigga, knowing that she is due to die that day and unsure of what to say to her. She has some good advice for him though. Watch the film clip.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • The measure of a hero is how well they succeed at being who they are, said Frigga to her son. Thor was under pressure to live up to the expectations other people had put on him. He was also under pressure to live up to his own expectations of what a hero should be. He knew that he had failed to save others, and he had given up. He couldn’t see the point in trying any more. His mother helped him see that he needed to stop worrying about how he had failed, and start living in the moment, acting with courage and purpose. When she told him to go and be the man he was meant to be, he rediscovered his confidence and realised he was still valuable.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • In the Bible there are many people described as heroes who were also huge failures, but they were all valuable to God, and he gave them purpose and made them realise that they were worthy. Today, we’re going to read about a man who wouldn’t be described as a hero, but was certainly a failure. He was unpopular. He was a cheat. He was a thief.
  • [PowerPoint slides 8-10]
    • Read Luke 19:1-10 (NIV UK)
    • ‘Zacchaeus was a tax collector, and in Jesus’ day that meant that he was working for the enemy. The Romans who occupied the land of Israel made life difficult for the people who lived there. Zacchaeus was also someone who was described as a sinner, meaning that he had made some bad choices and was not living the way God intended. He had cheated people and he’d probably stolen money by taking extra tax from people and keeping some for himself. He’d become rich doing it, but it seems as though Zacchaeus was a man who wanted a fresh start. He probably felt a bit like Thor. He had messed up and had failed to live as he was supposed to.’
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • However, when Jesus came to Jericho, the town where Zacchaeus lived, he took the time to offer Zacchaeus a new start. Jesus took the time to notice a failure like Zacchaues. He chose to spend time with a failure like Zacchaeus. He offered a failure like Zacchaeus the chance to put things right and start again. Zacchaeus got to be the man he was meant to be.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone fails. What matters is what we do when we fail. If we learn from our mistakes and remind ourselves that we have purpose, we can succeed at being the people we are.

Headings and Bullets

Download the Avengers Endgame PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Success and failure.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Walt Disneyone of the most creative people in the world.
    • Fired from his job at a newspaper for not being creative enough.
    • Later, he tried to start an animation business, but it ran out of money.
    • Decided to move to Hollywood.
    • Eventually his films became popular.
    • Disney is now one of the world’s most recognisable brands and the company makes billions of dollars every year.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in cafes in Edinburgh.
    • Her mother had died, her marriage had ended and she was living on benefits.
    • She has talked about how she felt like a failure.
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has been translated into eighty languages.
    • The series of books has been made into successful films.
    • Millions of fans worldwide.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • How do you feel when you fail?
    • We can feel like giving up.
    • We wonder if we will ever feel good again.
    • We may be like Walt Disney, determined to pick ourselves up and try again.
    • We may also feel like J.K. Rowling, who became depressed.
    • Failure is hard to deal with.
    • It can make us more determined, and helps us become better at what we do.
    • It can also make us feel worthless.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Introduce Avengers Endgame. A hero who feels like a failure.
    • Thor has travelled to the past to try and rescue the Infinity Stones and undo the damage caused by the super-villain, Thanos.
    • Thor has lost hope and has given up trying.
    • He is out of shape, and has started drinking heavily.
    • We find him spying on his mother, Frigga.
    • She has some good advice for him.
    • Watch the film clip.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • The measure of a hero is how well they succeed at being who they are.
    • Frigga’s words to her son.
    • Thor was under pressure to live up to the expectations other people had put on him. He was also under pressure to live up to his own expectations of what a hero should be.
    • He knew that he had failed to save others, and he had given up.
    • His mother helped him see that he needed to stop worrying about how he had failed, and start living in the moment, acting with courage and purpose.
    • When she told him to go and be the man he was meant to be, he rediscovered his confidence and realised he was still valuable.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • A hero from the Bible. Many people in the Bible described as heroes were also huge failures.
    • They were all valuable to God.
    • Today, we’re going to read about a man who wouldn’t be described as a hero, but was certainly a failure.
    • Unpopular.
    • A cheat.
    • A thief.
  • [PowerPoint slides 8-10]
    • Read Luke 19:1-10 (NIV UK). Zacchaeus was a tax collector.
    • He was working for the enemy – the Romans.
    • Zacchaeus was also someone who was described as a sinner.
    • He had made some bad choices and was not living the way God intended.
    • He had cheated people and he’d probably stolen money by taking extra tax from people and keeping some for himself.
    • He’d become rich doing it, but it seems he was a man who wanted a fresh start.
    • He had messed up and had failed to live as he was supposed to.
  • [PowerPoint slide 11]
    • Jesus noticed Zacchaeus and offered Zacchaeus a new start.
    • Jesus chose to spend time with a failure like Zacchaeus.
    • He gave Zacchaeus the chance to put things right and start again.
    • Zacchaeus got to be the man he was meant to be.
  • [PowerPoint slide 12]
    • Everyone fails. What matters is what we do when we fail.
    • If we learn from our mistakes and remind ourselves that we have purpose, we can succeed at being the people we are.

Photo copyright for Avengers Endgame PowerPoint: Slide 1 Marvel Studios / Slide 2 Public domain / Slide 3 Creative Commons / Slide 4 sad boy Pixabay.com boy climbing Freeimages.com / Slide 5 Marvel Studios / Slide 6 Marvel Studios / Slides 711 FreeBibleimages.com / Slide 12 sad girl Pixabay.com happy girl Pixabay.com / Slide 13 happy girl Pixabay.com 


RESPOND

Prayer

Father God, when I fail, help me to pick myself back up again. When I have forgotten my purpose, help me to know what I’m meant to do with my life. When I forget my worth, remind me that I am valuable to you. Amen.

Reflection

  • [PowerPoint slide 13]
    • Think about a time when you have felt like a failure. Think about what it might feel like to find a new purpose and to leave the failure behind. Remember that you are valuable and have worth.
    • What do you need to do to succeed in the life you are living?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of Avengers Endgame (Marvel, 2019, cert 12). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. Avengers Endgame PowerPoint.
  3. The means to play a large game of naughts and crosses (flipchart and pens, smartboard) and a small prize for naughts and crosses opening activity.

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