Everyday we have the choice to do right or wrong and we are free to make those choices.
We have to be responsible for our actions and show responsibility for protecting the freedom of others.
As we get older we have more freedom, for example, to walk to school on our own, to choose what we would like to eat and to decide what we are going to wear. But, as we gain more freedom there are also more responsibilities to go with it. We have to be responsible and tell an adult when we will be home, we have to be responsible and eat healthily, we have to be responsible and choose clothes that will keep us safe and warm.
Sometimes we will make mistakes and then we have to say sorry and promise to do better as we try again.
It is important to remember that a lot of our freedom comes from having rules and responsibilities and therefore we must always try our hardest to make the right choices, to respect others and to live our lives in the way God has asked us to.
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Close your eyes and listen to this song. It is called Freedom Reigns.
This song could be used at Mass or during Liturgies.
If we share this song, and the message it brings, then we are following the instructions found in the Bible, in the book of Deuteronomy:
Israel, remember this! The Lord – and the Lord alone – is our God.
Love the Lord your God with all your strength. Never forget these commands I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working. Tie them on your arms and wear them on your foreheads as a reminder. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.
(Deuteronomy 6: 4-9)
We show our Love for God when we spread the Good News and tell others about the message of love and forgiveness that Jesus brought.
Some of the lyrics may seem a bit confusing at first because they talk about what we think of being bad things bringing freedom. This scripture called The Beatitudes from Matthew’s Gospel will help to explain why these song lyrics exist.
Jesus saw the crowds and went up a hill, where he sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them:
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them!
Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!
Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!
Happy are those who are merciful to others; God will be merciful to them!
Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God!
Happy are those who work for peace; God will call them his children!
Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!
Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be happy and glad, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. This is how the prophets who lived before you were persecuted.
(Matthew 5: 1-12)
Jesus is teaching the crowds that, although they may find it hard to do the right thing and to be followers of God, they will have a great reward in heaven so they can feel happy and free as they do the right thing.
Make some banners to display around your school, your classroom, your parish church and your homes.
You could use lyrics from the song or words from The Beatitudes.
Make your banners bright and joyful to show that happiness and freedom is found in following the teachings of Jesus and in doing the right thing.
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As we get older we have more and more responsibilities.
Which picture shows how you feel about responsibilities? Are there any other ways you could describe your feelings? Discuss this with the people near you.
If we want to have the freedom to live our lives as we choose we have to be responsible and allow other people to have that same freedom.
For example, if we are irresponsible and steal someone’s pen then we prevent them from having the freedom to use their property.
If we drop litter then we stop others from enjoying the environment and spoil it for future generations.
By being responsible we allow ourselves, and others, to be free. Although this can sometimes mean extra work for ourselves, if we all do our bit and care for each other and the world around us, then we can all enjoy it.
Please help us Lord to be responsible by showing love and respect to the people and the world around us.
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This activity is all about taking action to help those who do not have the same freedom as ourselves.
Read this story about Mahdi Abu Dheeb.
Mahdi has had his freedom taken away from him because he has stood up for what he believes is right.
There are many people throughout history who have done the same. Some of the disciples and Saints were killed for standing up for what they believed in, for example, St Thomas Becket, St Edmund Campion and St Margaret Clitherow. People such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Emmeline Pankhurst all stood up for what they believed in but suffered an injustice because of it.
In the United Kingdom our freedom to stand up for what we believe in is protected by laws but not everyone in the world is protected like this.
To take action against injustice you are going to write a letter. You could do this individually or you could join together in groups, or as a whole Class to help each other.
You could write your letter to someone who has wrongly had their freedom taken away. You could write to Mahdi to support him, or there may be someone else that you would like to write to and support.
You could write to Ambassadors or your own MP and ask for change.
This quote explains why writing these letters is so important:
‘Your letters and cards are like bombs when they drop into the offices of ministers and government officials. When the cards and letters arrived into our barracks they were like rays of sunshine.’
Sanar Yurdatapan, former prisoner of conscience.
By writing these letters and standing up for what is right we are showing love and respect to each other, just as Jesus taught us.
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Watch this video. You might want to pause the video to ask questions, or to discuss what Ruby and Jack were talking about.
Ruby and Jack were discussing children’s rights.
This is an example of how rules give us freedom. Without these rights children might not be allowed to go to school, or to play or allowed access to medical care.
The government, parents, teachers and carers all have a responsibility to keep these rules. If they do this then children have the freedom to learn, to play, to eat, to share their beliefs and many more things!
Not everyone in the world has their rights respected. Can you think of any examples? There are lots of stories in the news where people’s rights are not respected.
Lord, please look after those people who are not given the respect that they deserve. Help us to respect others and to use our freedom wisely.
Remember that God gave us the freedom to make choices and the freedom to enjoy his creation. Use your freedom wisely and respect the rights of others.
If you would like to learn more about the Rights of Children then follow this link.
Click here for the Scripture Resource
This week’s Scripture Story is about The 10 Commandments.
Watch the video to find out why Moses and the people of Israel were given The 10 Commandments or read the Scripture below to find out more about what the commandments are.
A reading from the book of Exodus.
God spoke, and these were his words:
“I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.
Worship no god but me.
Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my laws.
Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I , the Lord your God, will punish anyone who missuses my name.
Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work, but dedicated to me of rest the day of the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work – neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.
Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.
Do not commit murder.
Do not commit adultery.
Do not steal.
Do not accuse anyone falsely.
Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
The word of the Lord.
With so many rules it can seem difficult to understand how we have the freedom to choose what we want to do. But by having rules, our freedom to choose and to live out our lives as we want to is protected.
For example, if anyone breaks the commandment, “do not steal” then they are preventing another person from having the freedom to use their own possessions.
We are all responsible for protecting the freedom of others, and of ourselves, by being responsible and respecting the commandments that God has given to us.
There are a lot of commandments to remember so your task is to create a song or rap, pictures or actions to help you to remember all 10 of the commandments.
Share them with others in your Class and in your School to help them remember The 10 Commandments.
Even with all your hard work, if you struggle to remember them all then just remember the two greatest commandments that Jesus taught us:
“…Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love you neighbour as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment more important than these two.”