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Be Thankful

We can be thankful for things every day!

by Paul Vittle (revised, originally published in 2003)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To focus on the importance of being thankful daily.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need messages written on separate cards ready to read out in the 'Assembly', Step 2 (see the examples given there or make up your own).
  • You may wish to ask one of the children to read out the poem in the 'Assembly', Step 5.

Assembly

  1. Begin by saying the following in a humorous manner.

    ‘You do all know, don't you, that yesterday was National Non-human Phone and Thank Day? You all look slightly confused so I will say it again  . . .  Yesterday was Phone and Thank Day  . . .  for Non-humans.’

    Pause for a moment so that the children can consider what you have just said, then continue as follows.
  2. I am pleased to say that at (name of the schoolthe phones did not stop ringing! In fact, I have here a selection of the messages we received. Rather than make it too personal I will only read out the first name of the person concerned, not their surname.

    - A message for Simon. Your toothpaste tube phoned to say thank you very much for putting the top back on yesterday. Apparently you keep forgetting and it gets very upset.
    - A message for Louise. Your bedroom phoned to say that, although it was still in a state of shock, it wants to say a really big thank you for tidying it up this weekend. It hates being messy and it is very grateful.
    - A message for Samina from  . . .  your dog. Apparently he phoned to say thank you for sharing with him your feelings about life. He does understand and likes you talking to him. By the way, he does like your sister despite what you told him!
    - Finally, a message for Jane from  . . .  Teddy. Teddy phoned to say thank you for loving him and caring for him so much and taking him with you when you go away.
  3. Although these messages are just imaginary, they do make a serious point: it really is very important to be thankful and say thank you.

    Would some of you like to give me examples of things that you are really thankful for?

    Listen to some of the children's answers.

    Sometimes it is the very small things in life that we forget to be thankful for.
  4. The idea behind the Non-human Phone and Thank Day came from a church minister. He thought of it when he was watering his plants. Here's what he said:

    I know how much I appreciate a glass of water, especially when I am hot, and I felt that my flowers really enjoyed being given a drink and somehow I imagined them being grateful. Then my mind wandered to other things that might want to say thank you, if they could speak. We take too much for granted, don't we? When we turn on the tap we take it for granted that clear, clean and refreshing water is available for us. We have all heard of countries where there is a water shortage. Imagine if we had to survive the rest of this week with no water to drink, no water to wash with, being unable to flush the toilet.
  5. A child wrote the following poem.

    Call up the child you arranged to read the poem out, if you did so.

    I can open my eyes and see,
    I can open my mouth and say
    thank you.
    Thank you for today, for a comfortable bed, hot water, 
    breakfast, clean clothes, my shoes.
    Thank you for people who care, for milk, for post, 
    the telephone, computers, our car, petrol.
    Thank you for blue skies, for rain, 
    my dog, flowers in our garden.
    Thank you for new friends,
    for my grandparents.
    Thank you for reading and writing.
    Who am I thanking?
    All sorts - it doesn't matter -
    but saying thank you does.
  6. For people who have a religious faith, it is important to offer thanksgiving - to be grateful. For example, some people may say 'grace', which is a thank you prayer before a meal. Here is an example of such a prayer, written by a man called Charles Shepherd.

    For food to eat, and those who prepare it,
    For health to enjoy it, and friends to share it,
    We thank you, Lord.

Time for reflection

There is so much in the world of nature and creation that should make us thankful.

Let's spend 
a moment peacefully reflecting on this.
Prayer
(You may wish for the children to join in with the following prayer by repeating the line ‘We are thankful’ after each statement.)

For families and friends  . . .
We are thankful.
For the beauty of nature and the world around us  . . .
We are thankful.
For all the things in life that we too often take for granted  . . .
We are thankful.
Please help us to be willing to show our thanks, not only in what we say but also in what we do - each day  . . .
We are thankful.
Amen.

Song/music

'Fill thou my life, O Lord my God' (Come and Praise, 41)

Publication date: March 2016   (Vol.18 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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