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One Good Turn

To encourage a caring and helpful attitude towards others

by Jan Edmunds

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage a caring and helpful attitude towards others.

Preparation and materials

  • No preparation is needed if a quick assembly is required but if dramatized the poem will need to be rehearsed.
  • A link could be made to a project on 'People who help us' and point 5 could be developed further (written work, paintings, pictures, etc.).
  • If school policy encourages them a helper badge would be useful.


  1. Introduce the assembly by telling the children how much you appreciate those who are always willing to be helpful.

    Hold up the helper badge, if you have one, saying that you would like everyone to have a turn in wearing it. Praise the children who have one but point out that everyone has the same chance to wear a 'helpful' badge.

  2. Say that being kind and helpful to others costs nothing except a little effort on our part and that helping others should be something that we do willingly. It is such a shame to think that some people will only do something to help if they think they will get a reward. Say that you wonder how many of them are willing to help at home without expecting a reward, such as a biscuit, a sweet, or some money. (They usually want to enlighten you here!) Suggest that satisfaction in helping others should be the reward.

  3. Say that everyone is capable of helping, however big or small they are. Even very young children are eager to help. They enjoy being included in tidying up, cleaning or dusting and it is good to encourage them to do so.

  4. Point out that in nature there are small creatures that help larger creatures. For example, there are tiny fish, sometimes called doctor fish, that clean the fungi (small growths) from bigger fish. There are birds that eat the parasites (blood-sucking insects) that live on the bodies of larger animals or in the scales of crocodiles or alligators. These small creatures help to keep the larger ones healthy.

  5. Point out that there are people who dedicate their lives to helping others: people who save lives (doctors, nurses, paramedics, ambulance drivers, etc.); people who face danger to help others (soldiers, sailors, RAF members, fire-fighters, police officers, etc.). Some people work throughout the night when the rest of us are sleeping (electricity supply workers, carers, lorry drivers, etc.). Most do get paid for what they do but they still choose a sometimes difficult way of life because they want to help others. (Optional further discussion about people who help us: invite the children to suggest some more of them. If studying a project some of the work could be shown here.)

  6. There is a quotation from Proverbs 11.17 which says: 'Being kind to others helps us too.' Introduce this poem, based on one of Aesop's fables.

    The Lion and the Mouse

    One day when lion was resting
    A mouse came running past.
    Lion quickly grabbed him
    In his paws he held him fast.

    'Got you, little mouse,' said lion.
    'I'll make a meal of you.
    Not much of one, I must admit,
    But then you'll have to do.'

    'Please set me free, I beg of you,' said mouse.
    'One day you may need me.
    You won't be sorry if you do,
    Just you wait and see.'

    'Me need you!' growled lion. 'You're far too small.
    Still, I will set you free.
    Though how a little thing like you
    Could help I truly cannot see!'

    Soon lion was trapped in a hunter's net,
    He roared aloud, began to fret.
    The little mouse could hear the sound,
    Jumped on the net in leaps and bounds,
    With teeth so sharp he gnawed right through,
    Helping lion as he said he'd do.

    'Thank you, mouse,' said lion, 'you kept your word,
    And now I too am free.
    Indeed you kept your promise
    And helped to rescue me.
    I must admit that I was wrong
    And that the weak can help the strong.'

    So one good turn deserved another
    When kindness was shown one to the other.

Time for reflection

Stop and think.
How can we be helpful to others?
Today - what can I do for others today?

Dear God,
Teach us to be thoughtful and kind like Jesus.
Lord of the loving heart, may mine be loving too.
Lord of the gentle hands, may mine be gentle too.
Lord of the willing feet, may mine be willing too.
So may I grow to be more like you in all I say and do.


'Make me a channel of your peace' (Come and Praise, 147).

Publication date: September 2004   (Vol.6 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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