Lessons from Socks
Variety in friendship
by Jude Scrutton (revised, originally published in 2012)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the value of having lots of different friends.
Preparation and materials
Have available a wide range of socks - for example, plain, fluffy, stretchy, football, ankle and slipper - to illustrate the story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2.
You will need to practise the story, adapting it to fit whatever socks you have!
Tell the children that we are going to talk about the relationships we make with our friends.
Ask them the following questions.
- What makes someone a good friend?
- What is a good friend like?
Tell the following story.
The Fable of the Socks
by Jude Scrutton
Hold up a normal-looking sock.
It was Normal Sock’s first day at his new school and he was very nervous. When he arrived at school, all the socks were already playing with one another.
Hold up a fluffy sock.
Fluffy Sock noticed that Normal Sock was looking a bit out of place, so came bubbling over. ‘Hello, my name’s Fluffy. I love your bag. Do you want to come and play hopscotch with me?’
Normal Sock began to enjoy himself and felt less concerned about being new. Fluffy Sock was very friendly and made him feel more at ease. Normal Sock was not very good at hopscotch, though. After a while, Fluffy Sock was called into school to hand out the registers.
This left Normal Sock on his own. While he was struggling to throw his stone onto number 10, Stretchy Sock came over to help. She showed him a better technique and he was able to throw the stone more accurately. This made Normal Sock feel much better and he soon succeeded in completing the hopscotch.
Normal Sock asked Stretchy Sock what they could do next. But all of a sudden, a teacher came out and scolded Stretchy Sock for her uniform looking scruffy. She was sent home to change.
This left Normal Sock on his own again. Fluffy Sock had made him feel welcome, and Stretchy Sock had helped him to throw stones more successfully when playing hopscotch. But now he had no one to play with.
Normal Sock started to watch a group of socks who were playing football.
Hold up a football sock.
Football Sock noticed him watching. She called out, ‘You can play on my team, if you like. I’m shooting that way.’
Normal Sock replied, ‘I’m no good at football.’
‘Don’t worry, I can help.’ Football Sock showed Normal Sock how to dribble with his laces and how to pass with his instep and how to shoot by keeping his weight over the ball.
Normal Sock felt more and more special with each sock he played with.
Later that day, Normal Sock was struggling with his fractions in maths. He started to feel like everyone else was brainier than he was. But then, Ankle Sock, who was very good at finding the lowest form of an equivalent fraction, showed him how to do it in a way that made more sense than the teacher’s excellent, but complicated demonstration.
At the end of the day, Normal Sock’s parents picked him up from school.
Hold up a pair of big slipper socks.
‘Hello, son,’ they said, ‘how was your first day?’
‘Really good. I learned how to do fractions from Ankle Sock, how to do hopscotch from Stretchy Sock and how to play football from Football Sock, plus Fluffy Sock made me feel really special. I don’t feel so normal any more.’
Ask the children what they think the story is trying to teach people.
Time for reflection
It’s important to have lots of different friends. We may have one special friend, but we also need other people . . . and they need us! By spending time with lots of different people, we gain different experiences. The gift of friendship is one to be shared with lots of people.
Help us to be slow to speak, quick to listen and eager to give.
Help us to have lots of good friends and to learn from one another.
Help us to concentrate on being a good friend, not just on getting good friends.
‘All things bright and beautiful’ (Come and Praise, 3)