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What Makes a Good Friend?

The story of Ruth and Naomi, part 2

by Charmian Roberts

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools


To consider what it means to be a good friend.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two large labels - one with ‘Bethlehem’ on it and the other with ‘Moab’ on it. Display them on opposite sides of the room.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Bible story in the passage Ruth 1.1-17, which is about  when Ruth was a good friend to Naomi. You can either use the version of the story given in the ‘Assembly' or retell it in your own words.
  • You might like to display the words spoken by Ruth to Naomi: ‘Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried’ (Ruth 1:16-17, GNB).
  • If you are using this assembly as part of a series, you may wish to refresh your memory of the previous one - 'Life has ups and downs’ - to recap the first part of the story in the 'Assembly', Step 5. 


  1. Ask the children what they think makes someone a good friend. Listen to a range of responses.
  2. Next, ask them the following questions.

    - If a friend invited you to the seaside for a day, would you want to go?
    - If a friend hadn’t cleaned out their pet rabbits for a month and invited you to help with that, would you want to?

    Point out that it is easier to be friends with someone if things are going well and we are enjoying ourselves than it is when things are more difficult.
  3. Ask the children if they have any examples of times when friends have stuck by them. Read out the examples of friendship below and ask the children to indicate if they think someone has been a good friend or not by using the thumbs up or down signs.

    - Mark was really sad at school one day because his hamster had died. His friend Seb asked if he could sit next to him that day and told him a joke to cheer him up.
    - Karen was invited to Saira’s birthday party, but she couldn’t go because her family was visiting her grandma that day. Saira got upset with Karen and said she wasn’t going to talk to her any more.
    - Joel and Sam were playing with Joel’s football. Sam kicked it so hard it went over the fence. Joel got really angry with Sam and stormed off home. 
    - Gordon noticed that another girl was always picking on and laughing at his friend Dawn. Gordon decided to tell the teacher about what was happening.

  4. Tell the children that the story today shows us an example of someone being a great friend.
  5. If you are using this as part of a series and wish to do so, recap the first part of the story 'Ruth and Naomi' from the assembly ‘Life has ups and downs’.

    Ruth and Naomi (continued)

    Naomi decided that it was time to return to her home town of Bethlehem. She had been away from it for a long time and had heard that the famine was over and there was food to eat. When her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, heard that Naomi was leaving, they decided to go with her. On the way, however, Naomi told them to stay in Moab with their own families. ‘Why come with me, girls?’ she asked. ‘You are young. You could stay here in Moab with your families and get married again. I will go back to Bethlehem on my own.’

    Orpah loved Naomi and began to cry. She decided, however, that she should return home, to her family and her own customs. So she hugged her mother-in-law and returned to Moab.

    Point to the label for Moab.

    Ruth, however, clung to Naomi and refused to let go. She then made the most amazing promise. She promised that she would leave everything behind and go with her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem. In fact, she promised that she would never ever leave Naomi for as long as she lived.
  6. If you have chosen to display the words spoken by Ruth, read them out at this point: ‘Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried.’
  7. Emphasize that Ruth gave up everything so she could go with Naomi. She showed Naomi extraordinary friendship.

Time for reflection

Encourage the children to think about their own friends. Are they good friends to others? How could they be better friends? How could they show their friends that they are important?
Dear Lord,
Thank you for our friends. 
Thank you for the example of Ruth in this story.
Please help us to be good friends, in both good and bad times. 
Thank you that, whatever happens to us, you want to be our friend. 


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