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Please Say Thank You!

Having good manners matters

by Jenny Tuxford (revised, originally published in 2010)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the importance of good manners.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and 11 readers, who will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly. The readers will be taking the parts of Ruth, Mark, John, Daniel, Simon, Amos, Saul and Phillip and Readers 1-3 in the play.

  • This assembly is based on the Bible story about the ten lepers from Luke 17.11–19. Before the assembly starts, you may wish to tell the children the story and explain that when it was written, people believed that leprosy was highly contagious and that there was no cure for it.


Leader: What do you think the term ‘good manners’ means?

Listen to a range of responses.

What sort of things do you consider to be good manners?

Listen to a range of responses.

When should we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?

Listen to a range of responses.

How does it make you feel if you are polite or impolite or if other people are polite or impolite?

Listen to a range of responses.

Next, some of the children are going to perform a short play, followed by a few poems.

Invite the children who will be taking part to the front.

Ruth: We are receiving news that Jesus of Nazareth has performed yet another miracle, this time on the Galilee–Samaria border. We have been hearing a lot about this astonishing man and how he recently fed thousands of people, even though he only had a small amount of food. We heard how he turned water into wine and even more amazingly, how he brought a young girl back to life. Now, it appears, he has cured ten lepers of their awful disease. Let’s go over to our reporter, who is with the men who have been healed.

Mark: Thank you, Ruth. What a remarkable day it has been here and how wonderful to hear some good news! I’d like to ask these men to tell the viewers exactly what happened. John, can you explain, please?

John: Well, I’ve suffered from leprosy for about ten years and so have my friends. It’s a truly terrible disease. My skin went very scaly and it was covered with ulcers. Sometimes, you can lose your fingers and toes, like Simon and Daniel here. It’s very frightening.

Daniel: I can’t really explain to you how dreadful it is to have leprosy. We had to live in a colony, away from everybody, even our own families. Imagine that: not being able to hold your own child’s hand or kiss them goodnight. We had to ring a bell and warn everybody that we were coming, calling out, ‘Unclean, unclean,’ even though we were ill, not dirty. I still can’t believe that I’ve been cured.

Simon: Everybody looked at us with fear and loathing, and they still do, even though we’ve been made better. No one can even begin to imagine what it’s like.

Mark: But you say you’re not ill any more? Can you tell us what happened?

John: We’d been hearing about this man called Jesus who was taking pity on sick people and curing them. In every village he visits, people are talking about him. Not many people bother with us: they’re too afraid they’ll catch the disease and you can’t really blame them. But this man is different. I mean, I’m a Samaritan, so the Jews don’t like me anyway, but Jesus treats everybody the same.

Amos: He encourages people to love their enemies. We’d never heard anything like it before.

John: Anyway, we were standing well out of the way, as always, when we saw Jesus coming. You could tell it was him because there were crowds of people round him. Well, it was too good an opportunity to miss. My friends and I made a right racket, calling out to him to have mercy on us.

Saul: I could hardly believe it when he actually stopped and took notice of us.

Mark: And what did he say to you?

Phillip: He told us to go and show ourselves to the priests.

Mark: And did you?

Phillip: Yes, but on the way, my skin started to feel really strange. I can’t really explain it – it was sort of itchy – and when I looked at my hands, I noticed that they looked, well, normal!

John: And it wasn’t just his hands. I noticed that his face was better and his feet. It was a miracle. We all felt the same. We were all cured. We were overjoyed.

Mark: Someone in the crowd told me that you, John, were the only one who went back to thank Jesus, and that Jesus was very pleased with you.

John: I didn’t even think about it; it just came naturally. In my family, whenever anybody performs an act of kindness or does something thoughtful, no matter how small, we always say ‘thank you’. When a man who owes me nothing cures me and gives me my life back, what is more natural than that I should sing his praises? I will thank God for the rest of my life.

Mark: And the rest of you didn’t feel the same need to thank him?

Daniel: It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful or anything, I just forgot.

Saul: I was just doing as I was told. He told me to go and speak to the priests in the temple, so I did.

Amos: Nobody told us we had to say ‘thank you’ or anything.

Phillip: They’re not words I ever remember hearing. No one’s ever said them to me.

Mark: Well, that’s the latest update on this amazing story. We’ll leave the last word to John, the man who always says ‘thank you’. How are you feeling, John?

John: I feel wonderful, inside and out. I can hardly put it into words. I’d just like to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me and stood by me through my dreadful illness.

Mark: And with that, let’s go back to Ruth in the studio, with a big ‘thank you’ to everybody for tuning in today.

Reader 1: The following poems are all about saying ‘thank you’.

Poem 1
I hold the door open with a smile on my face,
But the way they behave is a total disgrace.
I look in dismay, I wait in despair.
They stare right through me as if I’m not there.
‘Thank you,’ I whisper. ‘It’s a pleasure,’ I say,
As they brush right on past me and go on their way.
They say, ‘Lend me your pencils.’ I agree straightaway.
But if I wait for a ‘thank you’, I’ll be waiting all day.
Two little words – hard to say, they are not.
Two little words that mean such a lot.

Reader 2:

Poem 2
When you were little, your ma and your pa
Had to remind you to keep saying, ‘Ta.’
But now you are older, you shouldn’t think twice
About saying ‘thank you’ when someone does something nice.

Reader 3:

Poem 3
Remember to say
A big ‘thank you’ each day
For everything you’ve got.
I haven’t a clue
Why saying ‘thank you’
Should ever be forgot.

Leader: Finally, if people do have the good manners to thank you for the thoughtful things that you do, remember to acknowledge them. You might say, ‘It’s a pleasure,’ or ‘You’re welcome.’

Time for reflection

Leader: Having good manners and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ isn’t difficult, but it can make a big difference to other people.

What can we say ‘thank you’ for today?

Can we make a decision to say ‘thank you’ to someone specific during the day? Perhaps a friend or a teacher?

What would you like to say ‘thank you’ for today?

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything.


‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)

Publication date: July 2017   (Vol.19 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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