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Being afraid

To identify some things which cause us to be afraid. To think about how we can overcome our fears.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To identify some things which cause us to be afraid. To think about how we can overcome our fears.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a copy of the book The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.
  • The story of Jesus and the storm from Matthew 8.23–27, in a children's Bible.


  1. Tell the children the following story.

    Once upon a time there was a little boy called Calum. Calum was very popular in his class. He was funny. He was good at number work. He was also very good at football.

    But Calum had a problem that nobody knew about except his mum. Calum was very afraid of the dark. Whenever it was bedtime Calum began to get a sore tummy. He would take ages to tidy away his toys. He would take ages to undress. He would take ages to wash his face and brush his teeth. At first his mum was cross with him for wasting time but then she began to understand that Calum didn't like the dark.

    She talked to Calum about this. She laughed with Calum about this. But it didn't really help. One day she got a book from the library about a little owl who was afraid of the dark. Now this owl really had a problem because, as you know, night-time is a time for owls to be up and about. Every night, just before bedtime, Mummy and Calum read a chapter about what the little owl found out about the dark.

    In chapter 1, a little boy showed owl that Dark is Exciting because you can't have fireworks until it is dark.

    In chapter 2, a little old lady taught owl that Dark is Kind because you can sit quietly in the dark and remember good times.

    Then a boy scout taught him that Dark is Fun because you can have camp fires.

    A little girl told him that Dark is Necessary. It has to be dark for Santa Claus to come.

    A 'Father Christmas lady' showed owl that Dark is Fascinating. All sorts of wonderful creatures come out at night-time.

    Then a man with a telescope explained that Dark is Wonderful. He pointed out all the stars in the black sky.

    Last of all, a cat told little owl that Dark is Beautiful. He took him out and about for the night and showed him the magic of moonlight.

    All these things helped little owl … a bit.

    But, when he finally decided to go out in the dark, it was in the company of his mum and dad.

    ‘So you see,’ said Mum to Calum, ‘there are lots of good things about the dark, and remember, you need never be alone either.’
  2. Tell the children that it is quite natural to be afraid of things we don't understand or have never experienced before. Ask them to put their hands up if, like the owl, they are afraid of the dark? Of spiders? Of scary things on TV?
  3. Explain that even big adults can be afraid of things. Read Matthew 8.23–27.

    Now these were fishermen in this story. They were strong men, they were brave men and they were used to bad weather. They had experienced storms before and they knew their boat. They also had their friend and teacher, Jesus, with them. He didn't seem to be worrying. In fact he was fast asleep. But this was a furious storm and they thought they were going to drown. They woke Jesus up and he calmed the storm. Having Jesus with them made all the difference.
  4. Sometimes when we are afraid of things there will be big people like Mummy or Daddy or teachers there to help us. Christians and members of other faiths believe that God is always with us. In the Bible we read things like: 'Do not be afraid, for I am with you' (Isaiah 43.5). The Bible promises that God will always be with us.

Time for reflection


Think about the things that frighten you. Now think about all the people who will protect you and help you to overcome your fears.



Dear God,
Thank you that you understand when we are afraid.
Thank you that in the Bible you often tell people not to be afraid.
Thank you that you have promised always to be with us.
Please help us to trust you.



‘Give us hope, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 87)

Publication date: March 2007   (Vol.9 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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