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I want to be

To encourage children to think and dream about what they could do with their lives, relating this to the value of helping and supporting others.

by Gill Hartley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage children to think and dream about what they could do with their lives, relating this to the value of helping and supporting others.

Preparation and materials

  • 6-10 pieces of paper with 'I want to be ...' written on each.
  • One piece of paper on which you have already written 'I want to be happy'.
  • Large felt marker pen.


  1. Ask for 6-10 volunteers to help you fill in the pieces of paper that you have brought with you. As they come out, ask each volunteer what they want to be, and write it on the paper, before handing it to them to hold.

  2. When they are all holding a piece of paper, ask each volunteer why they want to be those things. Ask the rest of the children to listen carefully to their answers. Collect in the pieces of paper and ask your volunteers to sit down again.

  3. Ask the children to think about the answers the volunteers have just given. Can they remember any of the reasons they gave for wanting to be those different things? Try to draw out the fact that each one wanted to be something which he or she thought would make them happy in some way.

  4. Hold up the piece of paper that says 'I want to be happy'. Tell the children that this is what most people really want to be, whatever job they do or however they live their life.

  5. Read what Jesus said about being happy, either from a modern translation of the New Testament, or use the paraphrases below:

One day Jesus said to his special friends, 'I want you to be happy like me, so I will tell you what to do. You must care for everyone else in the same way as I have cared for you.' (based on John 15.11-12)

The people who are happy are those who long for justice, those who are kind and merciful and those who work for peace. (based on Matthew 5.6-8)


  1. Sum up by saying that whatever job they do or however they live their life, Jesus said that people could be happy if they:
    • care about other people;
    • try always to be fair and just;
    • are kind and show mercy;
    • work to make peace.
  1. Refer back to the pieces of paper on which you wrote your volunteers' ambitions. Hold up each one in turn and ask, how might a person who did that job or lived like that do the things Jesus suggested? Some may be obvious, e.g. the caring professions, but suggest that even the less obvious jobs and/or lifestyles can include opportunities for helping others.
    • Pop stars can raise money for charities (Elton John recently sold some of his clothes for charity; Bob Geldof organized the Live Aid concert for famine relief).
    • Footballers can play in benefit matches for a variety of good causes.
    • Other famous people can use their influence to support work for peace and justice (often people take more notice of someone famous!).
    • Anyone, whatever they do, can try to help others in their jobs, and be fair and just.
    • Anyone can give time away from work to help others.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to close their eyes and think about people in the world:
who are in prison when they have done nothing wrong
who are treated unfairly
who are afraid
who are hungry
who are cold
who are lonely
who are in the middle of a war.

Ask the children to think about their own lives:
their homes
their families
their friends
their toys
their clothes
the food they will eat today.

Dear God,
Help us to work hard to achieve our ambitions and to become what we want to be.
Help us, whatever we do or however we live our life, to remember the needs of others.
Help us to care about other people, to be fair and just, to be kind and merciful
and to make peace, wherever we are.




'All over the world' (Come and Praise, 61)
'The family of man' (Come and Praise, 69)
'Would you walk by on the other side' (Come and Praise, 70)
'If I had a hammer' (Come and Praise, 71)

Publication date: February 2001   (Vol.3 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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