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How to Be Wise

Think before you act!

by Rebecca Parkinson (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us to make wise decisions and think about the consequences of our actions.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the Bible story of the wise and foolish builders, which is found in Luke 6.47–49. This could be read or retold.

  • Optional: you may like to have the dictionary definition of the word ‘wise’ written on a piece of paper, or have the dictionary ready for a child to read the definition from.


  1. Ask the children what the word ‘wise’ means.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    After they have had a go at giving their own definitions, ask one of them to read the dictionary definition. The definition in the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘Having or showing experience, knowledge and good judgement’.

  2. Give the children examples of when they, in their own lives, may have had experiences that have already taught them to be wise, so that they know what to do if they find themselves in the same situation again.

    - Younger children may have been lost in a shop. This experience should have taught them always to stay near to the grown-up they are with, or should have led to them learning exactly what to do if they get lost again.

    - They may have hurt their neck doing a forward roll and now know the importance of tucking their head under more firmly in future.

  3. Ask the children if they can think of their own examples of situations in which they have learnt something that has made them ‘wise’ – helping them to change an action in the future.

  4. Tell the Bible story of the wise and foolish builders. Explain that the foolish man didn’t stop to consider the consequences of his actions, but zoomed ahead with his plans, giving the house-building project no proper thought. The result was a disaster!

    The wise man thought about the best place for the house and the best way to build it. He took his time and considered the consequences of his actions. The result was a house that stood up to all the battering it got.

  5. Explain that we need to be the sort of people who think about the things that we do. We need to realize that any decisions that we make can have a huge effect on our future. Ask the children if they can think of any examples of things that they might do now that could have an effect on their future lives.

    - They could eat too much unhealthy food and be unwell in the future.
    - If they don’t try their best in school, they might end up doing badly, and be unable to do a job that they really want to do.
    - They might be unpleasant to someone in the playground and end up without any friends.

  6. Ask the children for examples of wise behaviour in each of the above cases.

  7. Point out that being wise means learning from past experiences and carefully thinking about decisions that we make and things that we do now.

Time for reflection

Think about the decisions that you are going to have to make today. For example, you will be deciding whether to try hard in class, whether to play with someone at break-time, whether to be polite and whether to help someone in your home after school.

Remember that you have a choice to make: you can make good or bad decisions.

Dear God,
Please help us to be wise.
Help us to realize that there are consequences to everything that we do.
Please help us to make good decisions that will work out best for ourselves and for other people.


‘One more step’ (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: April 2018   (Vol.20 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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