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Eat your peas

To help children to understand that sometimes we expect more from others than we do from ourselves.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To help children to understand that sometimes we expect more from others than we do from ourselves.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a copy of the book Eat Your Peas by Kes Gray and Nick Sharratt (Red Fox).


  1. Review healthy eating by asking the children to tell you some foods that are particularly good for us. Make sure that they put fruit and vegetables high on the list and try to introduce the idea of balance. Relate this to the school’s policy on food and drink, both mealtimes and snacks.
  2. Tell the children that you are going to read them a story about a little girl who just would not eat up her peas. Her mummy was obviously anxious about this because she knew that peas are very good for you. (Another member of staff could play one of the two characters in the story.) Read the story.
  3. Ask for a show of hands. Would you rather eat a plate of peas or a plate of brussels sprouts? Which of the rewards in the book might tempt you?
  4. Explain that this book shows us something interesting about life. Often we are able to see quite clearly what other people are doing wrong before we notice our own failings.

    Think about our classroom situations. How many times have you been 'helpful' and gone to tell the teacher something you have seen someone else doing? ‘Please, Miss…'

    And how many times have you been disappointed because your teacher has said something like, ‘Thank you, Peter, but perhaps you should be getting on with your own work rather than looking at what others are doing!’
  5. Jesus says something about this too. In the Bible he talks about 'sawdust' and 'planks of wood', but we'll change it a little. He might just as well have said:

    ‘Why do you look at the 16 peas on your friend's plate and pay no attention to the heap of brussels sprouts on your own plate? How can you say to your friend, ‘You need to eat up those peas,’ when all the time there is that pile of sprouts on your plate? Stop and take a good look at yourself. First, eat up your peas, and then you will understand more how to help and encourage your friend to eat up his sprouts.’

    Jesus was trying to explain to his disciples that it is wrong to point the finger at others when we ourselves are not perfect.

Time for reflection


Today I will try to:

Think about the things that I criticize in others.
Think about what they might see in me that is wrong or unpleasant.
Enjoy the good things that we have in common.



Dear God,
It is very easy to pick faults in other people but not so easy to admit that we have big faults too.
You tell us that it is not good, kind or helpful to make judgements about other people.
Help us to see what is good about our friends and to pass over their mistakes,
just like we would want them to pass over ours.



‘God who made the earth’ (Come and Praise, 10)

Publication date: June 2007   (Vol.9 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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