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To show that it is important to do our best at all times and that continued effort brings rewards.

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show that it is important to do our best at all times and that continued effort brings its rewards.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is needed if the poem is read by the teacher. If used for choral speaking the children will need to rehearse beforehand.


  1. Begin by suggesting that some people find some things easy to do, while others always find them difficult.

  2. Continue by reminding the children that when things do get difficult it is easy to want to try to avoid them, to want to give up, perhaps not bother, pretend we don't even care about them.

  3. (Optional) There were many times when Jesus was faced with hardships but he persevered and overcame them. Reference could be made here to the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1-11).

  4. Read the following poem, which is an adaptation of one of Aesop's fables.

    The Hare and the Tortoise

    Hare was proud; he boasted, 'I'm better than the rest,
    I always get a prize, come top in every test.'
    He had few friends, always drove them away.
    He had to win at any cost, it's rather sad to say.

    Tortoise was very timid, yet always tried his best
    And even though he worked so hard, came far behind the rest.
    In spite of this he'd loads of friends, was always full of fun.
    He never said a hurtful word - was kind to everyone.

    When Sports Day came a race began, they all stood on the line
    The rain poured down, 'twas very cold and hare began to whine.
    Tortoise, though, said nothing; as usual he tried and tried.
    Soon he reached the winning post, Hare's victory he denied.

    At last someone had beaten Hare, Tortoise hadn't wasted time.
    Hare, so busy moaning, hadn't seen him cross the line!

    Tortoise was a hero and he at last was praised.
    While Hare, who'd lost the race, was totally amazed!
    Tortoise, ever thoughtful, felt sorry for the Hare
    And held out a hand forgivingly, his friendship to declare.

    Hare now understood, he wouldn't get the praise
    And Tortoise had revealed to him the error of his ways.
    Tortoise had learned that plodding on would help to see him through
    So we should learn to do our best in all we say and do.

  5. Further discussion can be encouraged here:

    What were the main differences between Hare and Tortoise? How was Tortoise able to win the race? What lessons did they both learn? Have the children heard the phrase, 'If at first you don't succeed try, try again'?

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Please be with us in times of weakness.
Give us the strength to overcome our difficulties.
Teach us to keep going when things are hard for us.
Help us not to take our gifts and talents for granted.


'Jesus good above all other' (Come and Praise, 23)

Publication date: May 2004   (Vol.6 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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