To encourage reflection on and thankfulness for all the good things we have
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage reflection on and thankfulness for all the good things that we have.
Preparation and materials
- Find a pretty box or container.
- Wrap a stick or ruler in tin foil. You could put a star on top to make a wand.
- You could display the prayer on an OHP (see Time for reflection).
- Show the children your box. Ask them to imagine it is a magic box and that the stick is a magic wand. Pretend that with these items you would like to grant their wishes.
Invite some children to make a wish (usually these will be wishes for materialistic items). Discuss their wishes and develop the theme along the lines that most of us usually wish for something we don't possess but would like to have. Introduce the word dissatisfaction and discuss its meaning. Draw out the idea that satisfaction is being happy with something, and dissatisfaction is feeling unhappy.
- Ask the children to think about the things they already have. Encourage them to say why these things are important to them. Lead them towards the fact that we tend to take for granted many of the things we have: our families, our homes, our pets, the food we eat, our friends, people who help us, etc.
- Introduce this story of a greedy dog, told by a famous storyteller called Aesop many years ago.
The Greedy Dog
There was once a very hungry dog, who stole a large piece of meat from a butcher's shop. On his way home he had to cross a river. As he stepped onto the narrow bridge he looked down into the water and saw another dog carrying what he thought was a bigger piece of meat. Angered by this and feeling envious, he growled at the other dog. He dived into the water, wanting to try and steal the bigger piece of meat. As he did so his own piece of meat fell from his mouth and sank deep into the mud and weeds. A very bedraggled and miserable animal emerged from the river. Now he had nothing.
- Discuss the story with the children and help them to understand its 'message': that we must all try to learn to appreciate what we have and count our blessings. We take so many things for granted. It is not until we lose them that we fully realize their true value and by then it is too late.
Time for reflection
In a moment of quiet, ask the children to consider all the good things they have in their lives. What or whom would they like to be thankful for right now?
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.
(This prayer can be easily learnt if displayed on an OHP so that everyone can join in.)
'Thank you, Lord' (Come and Praise, 32)