Kent Primary Students Learn the Magic of Respect and Empathy

For Kent Primary School students, magic was in the air at a recent character-building assembly focused on taking pride in their actions and their character. Through the illusion and wonders of a guest magician sponsored by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, the magic assembly, designed to promote respect, responsibility, independence, determination and empathy, had students smiling, laughing, thinking, and celebrating their own character strengths.

Using different magic tricks and optical illusions, magician Robert McEntee created a positive and fun environment in which students learned that their behaviors are connected to results and that there is an important distinction between laughing with – but never at – someone.

Student standing behind a cut out of a rabbit during the magic show

“Everyone is entitled to respect, particularly yourself,” said McEntee. “Always treat yourself with respect. That inner dialogue should always be positive.”

McEntee made balls disappear, a student float in the air, pieces of cut rope magically reattach and even turned a student into a rabbit.

One illusion offered a lesson on perspective. Using two puzzle pieces that fit together to form an image of a brick wall, McEntee spoke to the students about visualization and problem-solving.

“We often think the solution is to go above, below and all around, but not to focus on the actual obstacle,” he said while holding the puzzle pieces together, showing a solid wall. “We have our strengths and the key to getting through your obstacles, or your brick walls, is to look at it from a different point of view. Perhaps, by going to the other side.”

McEntee flipped each puzzle piece over and put them together the same way as before, but this time the pieces revealed a gap that let students see through to the other side.

“The same way Harry Potter or Harry Houdini got through their brick walls is the same way you can get through your real or imagined ones – if you believe that you can,” said McEntee. “There are a couple of keys to achieving your goals. First, you must believe, and second, you must work really hard.”

In another illusion, McEntee took apart two halves of a black box that revealed a smaller red box inside it. After removing the red box from the black box, McEntee opened the two halves of the red box and placed the first larger outer black box inside. How was that possible? A magician never tells.

“Our outside is the way that we look – our bodies and our appearance. As we get older, people spend a lot of time worrying about how they look. But they do not always spend as much time worrying about how they act – their character, their inner self, their real person,” said McEntee.

“A good character will do the right thing even when no one notices because he or she notices. It is because what is on the inside is really bigger and more important than what is on the outside.”

While some students left the assembly with fun balloon animals in hand, every student left with a renewed sense of pride in themselves and their school, and a smile on their face!