To show that there are many treasures on earth. To reflect on what we truly treasure
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To show that there are many treasures on earth. To reflect on what we truly treasure.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a purse, a wallet or a box. Put into it something you treasure (in the writer's case it was some pictures of her grandchildren).
- Invite the children to discuss what 'treasure' means to them. Ask them to guess what is in the container (many will naturally assume that a purse contains money). Tell them that it is something very precious to you. Ask a child to come and open it. Show the children your 'treasure'. You can give your own version of why it is of importance to you. If appropriate, discuss their responses.
- Suggest that many people dream of winning the Lottery or having plenty of money, although some people who suddenly become rich have found that they were happier before they got all their money. Sometimes they get begging letters from people asking for money, and other people show their jealousy by being nasty to them.
- Develop the theme by suggesting that treasure does not have to be money or jewels and precious stones. Remind them that their parents treasure every one of them. Suggest that they may have a special toy, or a certain outfit they like to wear, or a certain book they like to hear or read over and over again; or perhaps they could consider how much their pets mean to them. (You could invite the children to offer some ideas of their own.) Point out that these things are treasures too.
- Treasures such as these do not necessarily cost a lot of money. Ask if the children have ever considered how wonderful it is that they can see, hear, speak, run around and play, and are fit and healthy.
Suggest that these are the treasures we take for granted. Consider waking up one morning being unable to see or hear, perhaps unable to walk, or perhaps waking to find our homes had been destroyed - how would we feel then? Sadly we take all these things for granted, yet in troubled parts of the world these are exactly the types of things that have happened to some people. (Further discussion could be developed here.)
- Tell the children you would like them to listen to this story from ancient Greece.
King Midas loved gold more than anything else in the world. He was a very rich man but he still wanted more wealth, especially gold. He became so greedy that he prayed to the Greek gods to turn everything he touched into gold. His wish was granted and soon everything around him glittered and gleamed in the sunlight.
Life was not as he expected. The trees and flowers became stiff because they were made of gold. He could not eat his food, or ride his horse or stroke his dogs. But the worst was yet to come: the one thing that the king really loved as much as gold was his beautiful little daughter. When she came into the room she ran towards him. Without thinking he put his arms around her. Then he remembered, but it was too late! His precious child had been turned into a golden statue.
She looked very beautiful but she could no longer speak to him. Her eyes were fixed and staring. Her body was cold and lifeless. It was then that he realized what a dreadful thing he had done. He was overcome with grief. He fell down on his knees and begged the gods to give him back his little girl. He promised that he would give his wealth to the poor and be a better person in future.
Fortunately, the gods took pity on him when they saw how sorry he was and agreed to take his newfound power away. Almost at once the spell was broken and his daughter was returned to him. This dreadful lesson had made him realize that his child was the greatest treasure of all.
The king did as he had promised. No one went hungry in his kingdom. All his subjects loved him. He had become a better person and a better king. He had learned that his love for his daughter was greater than his love of gold. She was his greatest treasure.
- Discuss this story with the children, exploring its message about the things that we really value or 'treasure'.
Time for reflection
Teach us to realize that treasure does not necessarily bring true happiness, unless we know what real treasure is.
Help us to be thankful for all the treasures around us
that we so often take for granted,
for the beauty of the earth,
the sky and the sea.
We give thanks for our families,
for our homes and for all those we love.
We give thanks for everything we enjoy in life,
and we pray for peace in the world
so that everyone can share the wonderful treasures
that you have given to us.
'He gave me eyes so I could see' (Come and Praise, 18)