Two Little Words
To remind children to remember to say thank you.
by Gill O'Neill
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To remind children not to forget to say thank you.
Preparation and materials
- Prepare four or more children in advance to act out the parts of the explorers. You may also wish to have a couple of tribal warriors. Have ready four slips of paper with the following words printed on for the children to read out.
Man: I will give you all the money that I have with me, and all that is in my back-pack, which I left in the forest.
Scientist: I can offer you all my scientific equipment, my microscope and my camera.
Guide/Leader: I will give you the gold chain from around my neck. And this ring which is encrusted with diamonds and rubies.
Cook's boy: I have nothing to give you except two words. These words are 'Thank you', and I give you these in return for sparing my life.
- Place a large chair at the front of the hall (raised up on a stage if possible). On the chair place a crown and a cloak.
- Begin by making these (or similar) statements to chosen individual children. Ask each child to stand up when you speak to them and sit down afterwards.
Name, I would like you to help me with the assembly this morning.
Name, come to me at the end of the assembly and I might give you a £5 note.
Name, you may be first in to dinner today.
Name, I will do all your homework for you this week.
Name, I will never ever tell you off again.
Name, you do not have to do any work this week.
- Now tell the children that the theme of this assembly is about two words. They may only be little, but they are very important. Ask if anyone has guessed what these words might be. (Hopefully they will realize that they are THANK YOU.)
Ask if anyone can think of school situations when they have said thank you. Can any of the children give examples of times when they (or others) have forgotten to say thank you?
- As you tell the following story, ask the prepared children to act it out, joining in by speaking the words they have been given. You will need to be the king; when you come to that part, ham it up, sitting on the throne, wearing the cloak and crown.
Many years ago, around the beginning of the last century, a large group of explorers set off from this country to make new discoveries, and find what they thought were new lands. In the group was a scientist, who was looking for new species of plants and animals; a guide, who led the group as best he could; several men, including a cook; and the boy who was the cook's assistant. The men spent several weeks tramping through the forests of South America.
Eventually they came upon a clearing in the forest. They stopped, for ahead of them they could see a collection of huts. It seemed that they had stumbled upon a little-known civilization.
At that moment the party was surrounded by warriors. They were captured, tied up and taken to the centre of the village.
Right in the middle was a large throne, and seated upon the throne was… (put on the crown and cloak, and sit on the throne) … a very big, very angry, impatient-looking king. He stood up and walked around the prisoners, looking down on them with contempt.
'You have come to our village without invitation,' he said to them. 'You shall be killed!' But as he waved his arm, signalling to his warriors to finish them off, he stopped short, and continued, 'Wait! I am not an unreasonable man. I shall wait until tomorrow, when I shall ask you what gift you have brought for me, which can be exchanged for your lives.' He then ordered his warriors to take the men away.
All night long the explorers racked their brains, trying to think of something they had with them which would be worth enough to save their lives.
The next day the men were led back in front of the throne. The first man said to the king: 'I will give you all the money that I have with me, and all that is in my back-pack, which I left in the forest.'
'What use is that to me?' asked the king. 'We cannot use your money.'
The scientist stepped forward to speak. 'I can offer you all my scientific equipment, my microscope and my camera,' he said.
The king shook his head and indicated that he be taken away. The guide who had led the party spoke next.
'I will give you the gold chain from around my neck. And this ring which is encrusted with diamonds and rubies.' Again the king shook his head and motioned that he be taken away.
Finally, after the whole party had failed to impress the king, the young boy who helped out the cook, and did odd jobs for all the men, came forward. Trembling with fear and with knees shaking he spoke to the king in a terrified whisper:
'I have nothing to give you except two words. These words are "Thank you", and I give you these in return for sparing my life.'
The king looked closely at the boy, and then his face broke into a smile. 'Those two words are more valuable than money, precious things or gold. I will spare your life, as you have been more thankful and wiser than your fellow-travellers. Go now!' cried the king.
Without a moment's hesitation, the boy ran off as fast as his legs would carry him, thankful of the king's decision to allow him to keep his life.
- Conclude by telling the children just how valuable these two little words are. Encourage them to find as many opportunities as they can to use these words today, and to see what effect it has on the people they are thanking.
Time for reflection
Close your eyes and think about:
A time when you could have said thank you to someone at home: your mum, dad, or perhaps your brother or sister.
A time when you forgot to say thank you when you were in school.
Any other times when you could have said thank you to let someone know that you appreciated what they did (e.g. holding a door open, picking up something you dropped, letting you go first, etc.).
There are many times when we can use those two little words, THANK YOU.
All too often we take things for granted and forget to say thank you.
Help us to look for opportunities to use these words
and let people know that we do care about the things they do for us.
Help us also not to forget to say thank you to you,
for all the things you give to us,
and for caring for us even when we forget to care about you.
Thank you, Lord.
'Thank you, Lord, for this new day' (Come and Praise, 32)