To show the value of true friendship
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To show the true value of friendship.
Preparation and materials
Very little preparation is needed:
- Write each letter of the word ‘Friends’ on to seven large pieces of card. These can be assembled as the poem is read.
- An OHP will enable the children to follow as you read.
If appropriate, there may be an opportunity here to refer to the school’s anti-bullying policy.
Introduce the subject by suggesting that if you asked the children to tell you one of the things they liked doing best of all, it would be playing with their friends. Ask individuals if they have a best friend and invite them to tell you what they feel is special about them. (Allow a short time for discussion.) Some children might mention their pets.
- Suggest how lucky we all are to have friends and how sad and lonely life would be without them.
- Invite seven children to come out and help you. Give each one the letter cards, making sure they are standing in the correct order. Ask them to hold up their card when you call out the letter.
- Read the acrostic poem, pausing between each line, giving time for your helpers to hold up their appropriate letter:
F is for faithful; they’re loyal to the end.
R is for reliable; they’re true and don’t pretend.
I is for the interest in sharing thoughts with you.
E is for enjoyment whatever you might do.
N is for neighbourly; they’re kind in every way.
D is for dependable on every single day.
S is for that special friend you know is always there,
The one who makes you happy and you know will always care.
- Take a few moments of general discussion to make sure the children understand the poem. Gather up the cards and ask your helpers to sit down. You could prop or pin the cards up so that they are still visible.
- Continue by saying that you are reminded of a story from the Bible (Luke 5.17–25) about four friends:
There were once four men who regularly helped and took care of their friend who had been paralysed and unable to walk for many years. They had heard about a man called Jesus who was able to make blind people see, deaf people hear, cure lepers and even raise people from the dead. These men loved their friend and felt convinced that he too could be cured. When they heard that Jesus was teaching nearby, they were determined to find him. They carried their paralysed friend on a mat, secured with ropes, one at each corner, to a house in Capernaum where Jesus was teaching the people about God. There was a huge crowd crammed into the building, listening and hoping to witness some of the miracles for which he was becoming famous. The four friends could get nowhere near. They were very disappointed but were determined to reach Jesus. One of them had a daring idea. In those days most houses had a flat roof that was reached by an outside staircase. The roof was covered with a thick coating of mud on a layer of reeds, so once they were up on the roof, they were able to scrape this away and make a large hole big enough to lower their paralysed friend down, in front of Jesus’ feet.
Jesus was very moved by the trouble that the four men had taken and knew that they had complete faith in his ability to heal their friend. So he said, ‘My friend, your sins are forgiven. Pick up your bed and walk.’ The crowd watched in amazement; some of them had known how ill the man had been. They watched as the feeling came back into the man’s once useless feet and legs, and then he slowly began to get up. He stood up straight, picked up his mat and walked away, thanking Jesus and praising God. Some of Jesus’ enemies who saw what had happened were angry. Jesus knew this but he had wanted to demonstrate that his power to heal was a visible sign that he was indeed the Son of God. It was the loyalty of the friends and the faith that they had in him that encouraged Jesus to perform this miracle.
Time for reflection
Think about the story.
Were there good friends in it?
Think about your friends.
What makes a good friend?
Think about yourself.
Are you a good friend?
We thank you for our friends and for the happy times we share with them. Help us to be a good friend to them. Teach us how to play fairly and to share. Help us to recognize loneliness in others and show friendliness towards them. We know that you are our friend and will be with us always.
'I'm gonna lay down my sword' (Come and Praise, 142)