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To encourage us all to think before we speak or take action that we might later regret.

by Carol Stubbs

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage us all to think before we speak, or take action that we might later regret.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a tube of toothpaste, a spoon, a knife, some tissues or wipes.


  1. Ask the children, have they ever done things that they knew were wrong but just couldn't quite stop themselves? Give some examples, such as joining in with name calling, or being silly in class just because everyone else is doing it.

  2. Say that you're a bit like this with a new tube of toothpaste. You were always told by your mum, 'Squeeze it from the bottom', but it's such a temptation to squeeze it in the middle and watch the toothpaste ooze out like a long worm. Then 'accidentally' squeeze the tube. Realize with horror what you've done! Oh no! What am I going to do? How can I get it back?

    Begin to take suggestions and invite some of the children to have a go at putting it back in. Have a few things ready to assist - e.g. knife, spoon, etc. - plus tissues or wipes!

  3. Realize that it's a hopeless task - once it's out, it can't be put back in easily. The damage is done.

  4. Compare this with the idea of saying things we know we shouldn't - upsetting or rude things. Once the words are out we can't put them back in. We can try to mend things afterwards but it would be so much better if we thought before we spoke or acted. Before we let the words squeeze out - we should THINK!

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Help us to think how what we say will make others feel.
Help us not to do things we wish we could undo.


'One more step' (Come and Praise, 47)

Publication date: July 2001   (Vol.3 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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