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Are We Much Too Busy?

Let’s make time to think about other people

by Jan Edmunds (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that we should try to make time to help one another.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: you may wish to display images of the characters in the fable, The Little Red Hen.

  • Optional: you may wish to tell the story of Jairus’ daughter found in Mark 5.21-24 and 35-43.


  1. Sometimes, we feel very busy or too involved in what we are doing to help other people. Perhaps you’ve wanted your mum or dad to do something with you or for you and they’ve told you that they were too busy. Perhaps your mum or dad have asked you to do something for them and, because you were busy playing, you haven’t done as you were told.

    Lets listen to today’s story and see what we can learn from it.

  2. The Little Red Hen (an adaptation of the original story)

    Once upon a time, there was a little red hen. She was always busy, keeping her house and garden tidy. One day, she bought some seeds to plant in her garden. She asked her friends if they would like to help. Desmond Duck, Millie Mole and Ravin Rabbit all said, ‘Sorry, we’re far too busy.’

    ‘Then I shall plant them myself,’ said Little Red Hen. She planted her seeds and watered them every day. ‘Would you like to help me water my vegetables?’ she said to her friends.

    ‘We’re far too busy,’ said her friends once more.

    ‘Then I shall do it myself,’ she said. Little Red Hen worked hard every day watering and weeding round her plants. She asked her friends again if they would like to help with the weeding, but once again, they said that they were far too busy.

    The shoots soon grew tall and strong. They grew and grew until one day, Little Red Hen knew it was time to pick them. She asked her friends for help again. ‘Would you like to help me pick my vegetables?’

    Desmond Duck said, ‘Sorry, but I’m going for a long swim. I’m much too busy.’

    Millie Mole said, ‘I need to see how many worms have dropped into my tunnels. I’m much too busy.’

    Ravin Rabbit said, ‘I promised to go and play with Rosie Rabbit. I’m much too busy.’

    ‘Then I shall pick them myself,’ said Little Red Hen. She worked very hard until she had picked all the vegetables. ‘Now I shall make some lovely vegetable stew.’

    She asked her friends again. ‘Would you like to help me make my stew?’ But once again, they were all too busy doing other things. ‘Then I shall make it myself,’ said Little Red Hen.

    She peeled and chopped her vegetables and took out the largest pot she could find. She put some water in it, and then added the vegetables. A delicious smell started to waft out from Little Red Hen’s kitchen.

    ‘Mmm, something smells good,’ said Desmond Duck.

    ‘That smell makes me feel hungry,’ said Millie Mole.

    ‘I wonder who is cooking my favourite stew?’ said Ravin Rabbit.

    They all followed their noses to Little Red Hen’s kitchen. Little Red Hen was sitting down to enjoy her dinner of vegetable stew. ‘Can we help you to eat your stew?’ said her friends.

    ‘Certainly not,’ said Little Red Hen. ‘You would not help me to plant my seeds, or water them or weed around the plants. You would not help me to pick the vegetables or to make my stew. Now I am too busy eating it to give you any, so goodbye.’

    Off went the three little animals, feeling very guilty. They realized how selfish they had been. If only they hadn’t been too busy!

  3. You might like to spend a little time discussing the story. We are all busy doing different things every day. It’s so easy to make that the excuse for not helping others.

  4. Read the following poem,‘Too busy’.

    When we’re feeling really busy doing things we want to do,
    We should try to think of others who might be busy, too.
    They might just need a helping hand and ask for our support.
    So surely we can help them doing things we really ought.

Time for reflection

Jesus was busy teaching people about God, but he was never too busy to help those who needed him. An example of this is seen in the story of Jairus’ daughter from the Bible. The story can be found in Mark 5.21-24 and 35-43, but this is optional.

Lord of the loving heart, may mine be loving, too.
Lord of the gentle hands, may mine be gentle, too.
Lord of the willing feet, may mine be willing, too.
So may I grow more like to you in all I say and do.


‘Heavenly Father’ (Come and Praise, 62)

Publication date: March 2017   (Vol.19 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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