The ‘Thank You’ Chain
The importance of saying ‘thank you’
by Alan M. Barker (revised, originally published in 2011)
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To consider the importance of saying ‘thank you’.
Preparation and materials
Have available six rubber quoits with the laminated words ‘Thank you’ (or ‘Thanks’) strapped to each. Secure the words to the quoits with short cable-ties or string. (You may find it easier to use 46-cm hoops rather than the quoits so that you have more space to place the wording.)
You will need seven children to take part in the short sketches in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1.
You will also need seven children to demonstrate the chain of thanks in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 3-5.
Invite the children to listen to some short conversations. Ask them, ‘What phrase is missing from each conversation?’
Dean is given a birthday present by his parents.
Parent: Happy birthday, Dean. We hope you like it.
Dean (unwrapping the present): Wow! It’s a Wii! Let’s get it set up!
Sedika offers to help Katy, who is struggling to put on her coat before going out to play.
Sedika: Let me help, Katy. The arm of your coat’s inside out!
Katy: No, I can do it myself. Go away!
It’s the end of Dance Club, which is led on Wednesday lunchtime by Miss Canham. Everyone has had a good time, including Lucy and Priya.
Miss Canham: Well done, everyone! Time to get back to our afternoon lessons now.
Lucy (to Priya): Come on, let’s get changed.
Hopefully, someone will spot that the missing phrase is ‘thank you’! Invite everyone to consider why saying ‘thank you’ is important. Reflect that saying ‘thank you’:
- shows how much you value another person
- brings out the best in others
- draws people closer together
- shows that you are part of a team or family
State that you will illustrate this by creating a chain of thanks. Proceed along the following lines, using the children’s real names.
Here are Jude and Rajan. Rajan had lots of bags to carry into school and Jude helped by carrying one. Rajan said, ‘Thank you’.
Produce the first thank-you quoit for Rajan and Jude to hold between them, like a link in a chain.
Jude was pleased to be Rajan’s friend.
As Jude and Rajan went into their class, Sian held open the door. (Sian joins the two boys.) ‘Thank you,’ said Jude.
Produce the second thank-you quoit for Jude and Sian to hold as a link between them.
‘You’re welcome,’ said Sian.
‘Would you like me to hand out the books?’ Sian said to the class teacher, Mr Abrahams. ‘Thank you,’ he replied. ‘That would be good.’
Produce the third thank-you quoit for Sian and Mr Abrahams to hold as a link between them.
Later, Becky didn’t understand her work. Mr Abrahams came to her table and explained what she had to do. ‘I see now,’ said Becky. ‘Thank you very much.’
Produce the fourth thank-you quoit for Mr Abrahams and Becky to hold as a link between them.
(Pause to ensure that the children understand the point that is being made. The chain of thanks shows people being joined together to become a caring class and a strong team. Remind the children of the points made in Step 2 above, and then continue the story by joining others to the chain.)
At playtime, Becky was alone. Ingrid came to ask if she wanted to join in a game. ‘Thank you,’ she replied. ‘I’d like that a lot.’
Produce the fifth thank-you quoit for Becky and Ingrid to hold as a link between them.
When the bell rang, everyone went inside, but Ingrid couldn’t find her bag. It had fallen from her peg. Sam helped her to find it, and she was very relieved. ‘Thanks, Sam,’ she said.
Produce the sixth thank-you quoit for Ingrid and Sam to hold as a link between them.
Emphasize the point that saying ‘thank you’ creates a strong sense of belonging. Stress that forgetting to say ‘thank you’ can discourage others and break the chain. Conclude by challenging every child to become part of a chain of thanks.
Church schools may wish to refer to a phrase from one of St Paul’s letters: ‘I always give thanks to my God for you’ (Ephesians 1.16).
Even the most important people mustn’t forget to say ‘thank you’ to those who help them.
Time for reflection
Invite the children to think of someone who has helped them today. Did they remember to say ‘thank you’?
Suggest that everyone might consider how to help others in turn. Invite everyone to pray to bring out the best in others.
‘Thank you, Lord’ (Songs for Every Singing School, Out of the Ark Music)
‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)