Being a Friend to Others
To have good friends, you must be a good friend
by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider what it means to be a good friend.
Preparation and materials
Have available a selection of the following images of friendship and the means to display them during the assembly:
- a group of young friends, available at: http://tinyurl.com/hp88tgg
- a group of teenage friends, available at: http://tinyurl.com/z5sswrd
- some toddler friends, available at: http://tinyurl.com/zh8lnn9
- a trio of cats, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jzbpv4b
You will also need a list of actions that the children can perform, which are connected in some way to friendship. For example, playing together, sharing jokes, going to someone’s house for tea, caring when someone is sad and having an argument.
Show the images to the children.
Ask the children if they can spot the connection that links the images. The connection is that all of the images show some aspect of friendship.
Explain that you would like volunteers to come out to the front in pairs. They will be given an action to act out that shows something that friends do together. You want the other children to guess what it is.
Using the list above, see if the watching children can guess the actions as they are acted out. Ask if anyone can come and act out any other things that friends do together.
Ask the children if they can remember any special time they had with a friend. Why did they enjoy it so much? What made it special?
Explain to the children that it is lovely to have friends who look after us and care for us when we are sad. But it is important that we make an effort to be good friends to other people. Real friendship is not what we can get out of someone, but what we can give to them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is a famous, American, nineteenth-century writer. In an essay on friendship, he wrote, ‘the only way to have a friend is to be one.’ Ask the children what they think this quotation means. Explain that being a friend is about putting other people first; it is not about being selfish and wanting our own way.
The Bible contains a famous quotation about friendship. It comes from the book called Ecclesiastes and goes like this: ‘Two are better than one, because . . . if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.’
Ask the children what they think this verse means, and then allow them a few moments of reflection to think about how they can ‘help the other up’.
Time for reflection
Think about the quotations from the Bible and from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
- ‘Two are better than one, because . . . if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.’
- ‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.’
Think of a time when someone has been a true friend to you. Maybe you’ve been lonely or sad and someone has looked after you. Maybe you have been stuck with work and someone has helped. Think about opportunities that you may have to be a good friend to someone. Decide to be a good friend today.
Thank you for our friends.
Thank you for the fun we can have with them and the happy times we spend together.
Please help us to be good friends.
Please help us not to be selfish, but always to think of other people and their needs.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)