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Telling the truth

To consider the importance of getting on with others and to understand that this involves facing up to our responsibilities and telling the truth (SEAL theme 2: Getting on and falling out).

by Jenny Tuxford

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider the importance of getting on with others and to understand that this involves facing up to our responsibilities and telling the truth (SEAL theme 2: Getting on and falling out).

Preparation and materials

  • If possible, have a prior discussion with the class in circle time, raising the following points.

    –  Most people want to lead a happy existence with others but sometimes we become involved in arguments and we fall out.
    –  This is natural and has happened to everyone at some time or other.
    –  What matters most is how we deal with the situation. Parents, carers and teachers often need a great deal of wisdom to sort out quarrels and a lot of time is wasted if people don’t tell the truth.
    –  Discuss the importance of telling the truth, owning up and trying to see things from the other person’s point of view.
    –  There’s a saying that ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but calling names won’t hurt me’. Is this true?
    –  We can’t all have the wisdom of Solomon, and hopefully we will never meet a situation like the famous one mentioned here, but if people are prepared to meet half way and acknowledge their mistakes, life can be made much easier for all!
  • Rehearse the children to speak the different verses of the assembly poems. In the first poem, it would make sense if one child played Solomon, and two others played the women involved. You can then use different children for the ‘Quarrelling’ section.
  • You could also illustrate the dialogue with tableaux/still pictures, or a mime.
  • Solomona brief background
    Solomon, the son of King David, was king of Israel 970 years before Jesus was born. After Solomon became king, God spoke to him in a dream and said, ‘Ask for anything you want and I will give it to you.’ Solomon asked for an understanding heart to rule the people in the right way and to tell the difference between right and wrong. God was pleased that Solomon hadn’t asked for riches or for a long life, so he gave him a wise and understanding heart.

    Solomon’s reputation grew and he was well known for being very wise and extremely clever. He wrote over one thousand songs and three thousand proverbs. Students came from all over the world to listen to him speak and ordinary people came to ask him to sort out their quarrels.
  • The writer of the book of Kings gives an example of Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 3.16–28). The accusation that was made was dreadfully cruel and very tricky to sort out. (The storyline in Eastenders over Christmas 2010 echoed this Old Testament story. Some of the children may remember the press furore that followed the TV broadcast.)


  1. Solomon the Wise

    Two women came to see the king –
    they’d heard that he knew everything.
    A gift from God had made him wise.
    (He knew that one was telling lies.)

    One woman said, ‘It isn’t right –
    this woman’s baby died last night
    and when she found that hers was dead,
    she took my baby from my bed.

    ‘She swapped them over, don’t you see?
    She left her dead child there with me.’

    ‘Oh, King – her baby was the one to die,’
    the second woman said. ‘She tells a lie.’

    ‘I’ll sort this out,’ the great king roared,
    reaching for a soldier’s sword.
    ‘God has told me what to do.
    I’ll cut the living child in two.
    You have one part – you the other,
    half a child for each mother.’

    The first one said, ‘I like your plan.
    You are indeed a clever man.
    We’ve had a quarrel, but you’ve been fair.
    We’ll now make up and leave it there.’

    The second one cried, ‘Oh no, I pray.
    I’ll give my baby boy away.
    Please don’t harm him, mighty king,
    to save him I’ll do anything.’

    ‘Well,’ said the king, ‘I’ll sort this out.
    You are the mother without a doubt.
    This evil woman told a lie –
    she would let the baby die.

    ‘A mother’s love is a powerful force;
    to protect and defend is the natural course.
    Madam, what you said was true.
    I know that he’ll be safe with you.’
  2. Leader  These two women were having a dreadful quarrel, which was sorted out, thankfully. However, I’m not sure whether the women would simply say, ‘Sorry,’ and make up, are you? Perhaps God was the only one who could forgive the woman who lied.

    Usually, though, quarrels can be sorted if there’s a bit of ‘give and take’ and if everyone tells the truth.
  3. Quarrelling

     Nadine and I were the best of friends,
    but not any more. You see,
    she’s changed to being horrible
    and very mean to me.

    I had to write a poem in best,
    so I asked to use her pen –
    that’s what best friends do, you know –
    a favour now and then.

    ‘What’s wrong with that?’ I hear you say.
    Well, when I gave it back,
    you should have seen her attitude,
    she started to attack!

    Next day we had gymnastics,
    but I hadn’t got my kit.
    Nadine always has a spare
    so I asked to borrow it.

    Well, when I gave it back to her
    was she hysterical, or what?
    I wasn’t rude or anything,
    I told her, ‘Thanks a lot.’

    We sat together in numeracy hour,
    and she called me a nasty name.
    I said, ‘Nadine, would you like it
    if I chose to do the same?’

    And after that, at playtime,
    I asked if I could play.
    ‘No,’ she snapped unpleasantly.
    ‘You can’t. Now go away!’

    She’s turned all my friends against me.
    It really isn’t fair.
    She said she doesn’t like me
    and even pulled my hair.

    Teacher  Nadine Potts! Explain yourself!
    This makes me very sad.
    Your behaviour is appalling!
    How could you be so bad?

    Nadine  Steph and I were best of friends,
    but not any more. You see,
    she’s changed to being horrible
    and very mean to me.

    She had a poem to write in best,
    so I let her use my pen.
    That’s what friends do, after all,
    a favour now and then.

    But when she finally gave it back,
    what was I to do?
    It was out of ink, she’d lost the lid
    and the nib was split in two.

    It was the only fountain pen I had.
    It was practically brand new.
    And when she threw it back at me,
    I said, ‘And thank you, too.’

    The next day was gymnastics
    and she hadn’t got her kit.
    I always have some spare stuff
    so I let her borrow it.

    But to get my spare kit back from her
    I put up quite a fight
    And then she went and blamed me
    because everything was tight!

    When she finally returned them
    (only two months late)
    they were unwashed, ripped and all creased up
    and in a right old state.

    We sat together in double maths.
    And, yes, I said a nasty name.
    It was a test and she copied me
    and I got all the blame.

    After that, at playtime,
    she asked if she could play,
    but I wasn’t playing anyway
    since she’d thrown my ball away.

    I know I lost my temper
    and it’s true I pulled her hair,
    but I hurt myself quite badly
    when she pushed me off my chair.

    Teacher  Ahem, things seem quite different now.
    We need to sort it out, but how?
    Did you take her friends away?
    It isn’t nice to be that way.

    Nadine  No! Ab-so-lutely not!
    I’m the only friend she’s got.
    I’ll let her use things, I expect,
    if she treats them with respect.

    And I’ll try to be more patient, too,
    and show her what she needs to do.

    Samantha  I’m sorry she was mad at me,
    I’ll be a better friend, you’ll see.
    She is the only friend I’ve got
    and her friendship really means a lot.
  4. Leader  Usually, if you have the courage to say sorry, quarrels can blow over very quickly. And remember to try to forgive and forget.

Time for reflection

Give the children time to think about arguments that they have been involved in.

How did it make them feel?

Were they glad when they made up?

Dear Father God,
when I forget myself
and do things wrong,
help me to be truthful,
honest and strong.
May I confess my blame,
accept my part
and make up
with a humble heart.


‘Make me a channel of your peace’ (Come and Praise, 147)

Publication date: November 2011   (Vol.13 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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