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The first tooth

To help the children identify with sibling jealousy.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To help the children identify with sibling jealousy.

Preparation and materials


  1. Read the poem with great expression, as though you were a young child. Or you might rehearse one of the children to read the poem.
  2. Ask some questions:

    Who is this poem about?
    How old do you think the two children might be?
    Why is there such ‘busy joy’ in the house?
    Why is one person not sharing in the joy?
  3. Help the children to identify with this older child in the poem. Do we ever feel like that – at home, in class? Why?

    Explain that we all like to be noticed and our efforts appreciated; we all like to be singled out for praise. When we are passed by it can lead to jealousy. When we are jealous we become like camels – humphy! Often we can go about in a bad mood for the day.

    Ask any child who has felt like this if she/he would like to read the poem. Notice how we detect her/his mood from the way the poem is read.
  4. Jealousy can lead to people doing terrible things. You may want to mention the Bible stories of Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37ff.) or even Cain and Abel (Genesis 4).
  5. One way to get over this jealousy of others is to concentrate on doing the best you can and making use of your own skills. This is something that an organization called Christians in Sport teaches young people. Christians in Sport encourages young sporty people to do the best they can on the sports field.

    They also believe that it is not only how we play that is important but the way we respond to people in charge, like tour coaches and referees, the way we respond to the other team, especially if they win, and the way we respond when we make mistakes, for example a foul in football, which means we might be sent off.

    Christians in Sport encourage their young sportspeople to wear a blue wristband when playing sport. On the wristband it says, ‘Audience of one’. This helps them to remember that they are playing their best for God. God sees, even though maybe nobody else does. He is proud of their efforts, proud that they are using their legs and arms and bodies and energy and stamina and skills that he has created within them. It makes a big difference to know that someone always appreciates your efforts!

Time for reflection

Give out the elastic bands to each child. Ask them to wear these during class today.
Remember, whatever we are busy working on today, God sees and says, ‘Well done.’

Dear God,
Thank you that I am accepted and loved by you and very special in your eyes.
Thank you that you see all that I do and try to do.
Thank you for all the times that I am encouraged and praised by my family and friends and teachers. It feels good.
Help me to remember that good feeling when I hear others being encouraged.
Teach me how to be happy for them too.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: February 2010   (Vol.12 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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