Assembly: New Year: Hope, Success and Failure

Over the last week I’ve done several assemblies in different local schools on the theme of New Year resolutions:

Before the assembly begins, whilst students are still coming in, have a slideshow running with the question ‘did you make a new year’s resolution’ ‘have you already broken it?’ and various statistics and images linked to resolutions.

As the young people come in to the hall, ask the students in the front row to write whether they made any New Year resolutions, and if so have they failed already’ on some paper, while the rest of the year group are coming in.

Assembly

At the start of the assembly say that we asked your views on New Year resolutions, if you made any, and have you broken them already.  Here are some of your thoughts, and read their viewpoints out.  Here’s a Top 10 illustrated by cats:

Lots of us will have made resolutions, and it is likely that most of us will break them. GMTV asked viewers to email in their new years resolutions. Here are the top 5 that came out of that poll:

  • To lose weight
  • Save money/spend less
  • Recycle/become greener
  • Get fit/exercise more
  • Stop smoking

CBBC on their website suggested that the top 5 new years resolutions would be:

  • To get fit
  • Stop biting my nails
  • Keep room tidy
  • Eat less junk food
  • Start a new hobby

Research suggests that around only 12-29% of us will be successful in keeping our resolution.  So this morning we wanted to share with you 3 people who made massive goals and targets, and how they coped with trying to reach them.

Thomas Edison: ‘father of the modern world’ (1847–1931)

Thomas Edison 

‘No one did more to share the physical character of our present day civilization … he was the most influential figure of the Millennium.’

One of Thomas Edison’s 1,093 inventions was the light bulb filament, but it took him over 3,000 attempts to invent it! That means 2,999 attempts at getting it to work, failed. He worked 18-hour days and only had five hours’ sleep a night. He said to his friends,

‘I don’t even need exercise, I don’t need to play golf because I have all the exercise I need going from one lab to another.’

Michael Jordan ‘The greatest sports star of all time?’

Michael Jordan

In a similar vein, in my opinion Michael Jordan may be the greatest sports star of all time. He won six NBA world titles – the most valuable player in all of them. He won the NBA slamdunk contest twice, changing it for ever. He scored 32,292 points in his career. He was, unlike many players these days, ‘the complete package’: he had the greatest offence, stifling defence and he was a media phenomenon, doing feature films through to cereal adverts. Yet he said this:

‘I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty- six times I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot and have missed; I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.’

Somehow, in this instant world of Pot Noodles, McDonald’s and quick boiling kettles, where the National Lottery promises us the ultimate get rich quick scheme and we respond to spam emails believing that someone has left us £2 million if we could only send them £100 for an administration fee(!), the concept that failure strengthens has been lost. Often, it is in failure that we learn to succeed.

Paul: The Greatest Christian

Paul says:

‘… I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate’ (Rom. 7:15, cev) but he also says, ‘My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done … But we must keep going in the direction that we are now headed’ (Phil. 3:13-14, 16, CEV).

So next time you switch on a bulb in your house remember Thomas Edison and all his failures, the difficulties and the struggles that he had to overcome to become the man that he was to be. And next time you see a basketball, imagine Michael Jordan being gutted 26 times after missing his game-winning shot, when he was the best player in the world. That’s what hope is all about. Hope and failure are sometimes very close to each other, and we have to decide which one to go for… Christians believe God didn’t tell us that we would succeed easily and avoid suffering and failure; he just said that he would be there with us.

And that makes all the difference.