The Extra Mile Journey
To go a little further, to do a little extra, to care a little more
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider what it means to ‘go the extra mile’.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a map of the Orkney Islands showing Westray and Papa Westray and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ybevr2eo
You can zoom out to give the children an idea of the distance involved in comparison to the size of Scotland and the rest of the UK.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Westray to Papa Westray flight’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.35 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pizP-00lVLM
- You will need two readers, who will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.
- Have available an image showing Phileas Fogg’s route in Around the World in Eighty Days. Examples are available at: https://tinyurl.com/y9mvx32o and https://tinyurl.com/yblsrdym
- Ask the children if any of them have already been on a journey today. The answer is that each of them has. They have travelled to school, travelled from the playground into a classroom and so on. Point out that in our lives, we are always making journeys of one sort or another.
- Ask the children if they have ever travelled by aeroplane. Ask them if they have been on long journeys and their feelings about those journeys. What is the longest journey the children have ever made?
- Show the map of the Orkney Islands and zoom out to emphasize the distance involved.
- Show the YouTube video ‘Westray to Papa Westray flight’.
Ask the children if they have ever been on such a short flight.
- Ask the children if they have seen the film Around the World in 80 Days. Explain that it is based on a novel by a French writer, Jules Verne. It tells the story of a London gentleman, Phileas Fogg, and his valet, Passepartout, as they aim to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. If they manage to do it within the time, they will win £20,000.
- Show the image showing Phileas Fogg’s route in Around the World in Eighty Days.
Explain that the book was written before air travel, so the whole journey took place using other methods of transport.
- Ask the children if they have heard the phrase ‘an extra mile’ or ‘going the extra mile’. Ask them what they think it might mean.
- Explain that if it referred to an actual journey, it would mean going further on that journey. For example, you might have been walking and thought that you had reached your destination, but then discovered that you had to walk one more mile. However, the phrase ‘going the extra mile’ is not really about making a journey by walking, driving or flying; it’s really about doing more than is required. It takes effort and commitment.
- Jesus told a story about a man who journeyed ‘an extra mile’. (The story can be found in Luke 10.25-37.)
The Story of the Good Samaritan
Reader 1: Once, there was a man who was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Reader 2: Not a good idea! That’s a long, lonely road with towering rocks on both sides where robbers can hide.
Reader 1: When the man reached a part of the road that was dark and lonely, robbers suddenly jumped out, stripped him, beat him up and went away, leaving the man half-dead.
Reader 2: I did warn you!
Reader 1: A priest happened to be going along the road and saw the man.
Reader 2: Oh, thank goodness!
Reader 1: But he pretended not to see him and passed by on the other side.
Reader 2: Really?
Reader 1: Then, along came a Levite, a man who knew all about God’s laws about helping the poor.
Reader 2: Oh, thank goodness!
Reader 1: But he passed by, too.
Reader 2: Really?
Reader 1: Then, along came a Samaritan.
Reader 2: Well, he certainly won’t help. Samaritans and Jews didn’t even used to speak to each other.
Reader 1: The Samaritan hurried over to the poor man, knelt down beside him and poured oil and wine on his wounds before bandaging them. Then, he put the man on his donkey and took him to the town.
Reader 2: Well, I certainly didn’t expect that! I suppose he told him where to find a doctor.
Reader 1: No, he didn’t. He took him to an inn and took care of him. Then, in the morning, he gave two silver coins to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him, please. When I return, I’ll reimburse you for any extra cost you may have had.’
Reader 2: Well, that was a surprise!
- Discuss with the children how the Samaritan went ‘the extra mile’.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to consider what an extra mile might look like for them by using the following examples.
Imagine that one day, Mum asked you to bring the bin from your bedroom downstairs. How could you go an extra mile?
Listen to a range of responses. Answers could include bringing down the bins from all the bedrooms, taking the rubbish outside and putting it in the correct recycling bins or doing it with a smile.
Imagine that one day, Dad asks you to wash the dishes. How could you go an extra mile?
Listen to a range of responses. Answers could include drying them and putting them away, too, or doing it cheerfully and without complaining.
Ask the children for their own examples as to how they could ‘go the extra mile’ at home, at school and with their friends.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask the children to imagine a situation where they could go the extra mile today. Suggest that they don’t tell the person whom they are going to help, but instead watch what happens to that person and how they themselves feel when they have gone the extra mile. They might get a surprise!
Identify that going the extra mile is really quite simple: we simply choose to go a little further, to do a little extra, to care a little more.
Jesus often showed us what it means to go the extra mile.
On many occasions, he cared for people and children even when he was very tired and weak.
Please help us always to look for opportunities to go the extra mile. Please help us always to look for ways to care better and love more.