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Faithfulness 2

To explore the concept of loyalty to family (SEAL theme 6: Relationships).

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To explore the concept of loyalty to family (SEAL theme 6: Relationships).

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarization with the story.
  • A row of cut-out figures, joined together, to represent a family.
  • You might like to rename the sisters to reflect the make-up of your school population.


  1. Tell the following story.

    Steph and Maddie were sisters. Steph was nine and Maddie was seven. Steph was a sweet, confident girl who was very popular in her class. She took most things in her stride. Maddie was quieter, very sensitive and with a gentle nature. She could get quite anxious and nervous about things. Most of the time Steph and Maddie got on very well but sometimes there was a spot of bother between them, as there usually is with sisters. This is a story about one of those days, a day when things went wrong!

    I suppose it really started because Maddie was worried about her singing audition. She had a beautiful voice and her singing teacher wanted her to try for the part of Cinderella in the pantomime. Everyone said she should go for it.

    ‘You have a lovely voice,’ said Mum.

    ‘If Mr Rowlands thinks you can do it, then you should go for it,’ said Dad.

    Even Grandma was encouraging.

    But Maddie, much as she would love to dress up in a princess dress, got herself into a bit of a stew about it all. What if . . .? What if . . .? she kept thinking. Everybody tried to be very patient with her but in the end, they all said, ‘Oh, just please yourself!’ Poor Maddie, that didn’t make it any easier because then she felt she might let everyone down.

    On the day we are talking about, Maddie went to school in the morning chewing her fingernails and not really in a mood to concentrate on her work. They got to school a bit late as Maddie had forgotten to put her reading book in her schoolbag and they had to turn round and run back for it. Maddie’s friends were already in the playground when she arrived and were playing their favourite game. Nobody seemed to notice Maddie, and certainly it was not the right time to talk about singing!

    She went over to where Steph was talking to her friends. Steph always seemed to have loads of friends around her. They were having a chatter and a laugh about something and Steph didn’t even notice Maddie. Maddie lined up when the bell went, feeling cross with Steph for not being there for her, and wishing that she could just go home. Her big sister was so popular. Nothing seemed to bother her. She took everything in her stride. ‘Why can’t I be like that?’ Maddie thought.

    Sadly, the day didn’t get any better for Maddie, and when it came to playtime she went looking for Steph. As usual, her big sister was surrounded by her pals and didn’t have time to talk to her. ‘We’re just going to have a game of football with the boys. Speak to you later,’ Steph said.

    ‘It’s not fair,’ thought Maddie. ‘Steph is supposed to be my friend.’ And Maddie became quite angry. ‘I wouldn’t play with her if I were you,’ she said nastily to Steph’s friends. ‘She’s got loads of verrucas on her feet. You might get germs!’

    Steph stopped in her tracks and looked at her sister in surprise. Steph’s friends looked at Maddie in surprise. Even Maddie was a bit surprised at herself.

    ‘Have you?’ they asked.

    ‘Yes, I’ve got three,’ replied Steph quietly. ‘Got them at the swimming pool so I can’t go swimming for a while.’

    ‘I’ve had them too,’ said Molly. ‘You can get a cream to put on them.’

    ‘Yes, I know,’ said Steph. She looked straight at Maddie, and then said to her friends, ‘Come on. Let’s go and join in the football game.’

     Maddie was left standing all by herself. She felt awful, even worse than before.

    Of course, Mum got to know about it all! She spoke to Steph first, up in the bedroom. Then she brought Steph downstairs to talk to Maddie. Maddie could see that her sister had been crying.

    ‘What were you thinking of?’ said Mum crossly. ‘That was a very unkind thing you did to Steph.’ She asked Steph to explain to Maddie how she had felt.

    ‘I was quite shocked,’ said Steph. ‘I didn’t expect you to tell my friends something so personal. I thought that should just be something the family would know about. It was a bit hurtful, Maddie.’

    Mum said, ‘Imagine how you would have felt had Steph mentioned the little accident you had in bed last week.’

    Maddie panicked.

    ‘I would never do that,’ said Steph quickly when she saw the look of panic on her little sister’s face. ‘Don’t worry, Maddie.’

    Maddie burst into tears. ‘I’m sorry, Steph.’

    ‘That’s okay,’ said Steph, and she gave her little sister a big hug. ‘And you know you can talk to me any time about your singing audition, just not when I’m about to play football with the boys!’

    Mum and Steph and Maddie all laughed.

  2. Discuss: What do you think hurt Steph the most?

    Explain that we can hurt those who love us most of all.

    Talk about how important it is to be loyal to our family.

Time for reflection

Our families may not be perfect. No family is! But families are meant to stick together.
(Open up cut-out figures.)

Dear God,
thank you for our families.
Forgive us when we are unkind to one another.
Forgive us when we take one another for granted.


‘I belong to a family’ (Come and Praise, 69)

Publication date: June 2011   (Vol.13 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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