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Pin the Tail

We are responsible

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how we can accept responsibility for our mistakes.

Preparation and materials


  1. We’re going to play a game. Please could I have a volunteer?

    Choose a volunteer.

  2. Show the game of pin the tail on the donkey.

    Here, we have a donkey that is missing its tail. We’re going to blindfold our volunteer and ask them to pin the donkey’s tail in the correct place.

    Blindfold the child, spin them round and let them try to pin the tail in the correct place. You may wish to involve other volunteers too.

  3. Ask the children, ‘What do you understand by the phrase “pinning the blame”?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. It’s not so easy to pin the tail, is it? Especially when we can’t see clearly. Yet we’re often quick to pin blame on other people.

  5. Ask the children, ‘Why might we try to pin the blame on someone?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Suggest that we pin the blame when we:

    - want to escape a punishment
    - want to avoid embarrassment
    - are in a bad mood
    - are retaliating for something minor that someone did to us.

    We’re happy to pin the blame, as long as it isn’t on us.

Time for reflection

But what if the blame deserves to be pinned on us? What if we are the problem?

Sometimes, it’s hard to admit when we get something wrong. We might be embarrassed, or feel that people are looking down on us, if we make a mistake. Sometimes, we might be frightened about what will happen to us if we own up to what we have done.

The Bible teaches us that all of us make mistakes and get things wrong. Christians believe that faith in Jesus can help us to cope with this flaw and live a life that benefits those around us. If we are the problem, there is a solution to the problem.

Let’s seek to be people who give others a second chance when they make mistakes. Let’s try to learn to be patient and accepting of each other. Let’s own up to our mistakes and learn to say sorry when we need to.

Dear God,
Thank you that you see what we are like and that you love us.
Please help us to care for other people.
Please help us to forgive quickly.
Please help us to become more patient day by day.

Publication date: December 2023   (Vol.25 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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