Opening and welcome
Ben Faulks welcomes the children to the summer series of Something To Think About
Webster Primary School in Moss Side, Manchester
The children tell us what they like to do in the long summer evenings
I’ve got a body, Come and Praise Beginning, no 17
Dr Cliodna McNulty answers some questions on why it’s important to wash our hands.
Jamie, wash your hands! An original story by Rob John, read by Simon Trinder.
Time for reflection
Jamie, wash your hands!
Jamie was a boy who didn’t like being told what to do. He was seven years old now and he thought he was old enough to decide what to do for himself. If a teacher or his Mum or his Dad told Jamie that he had to do something he’d often get quite cross and ask why.
“Why do I have to go to bed now? Why do I have to wear my coat? Why should I have to sit still when I’m eating?”
Sometimes his Mum got tired of always explaining to Jamie why he had to do things. Sometimes she lost her temper and snapped “Just do it!”.
Hearing those three words would always make Jamie very angry and that’s exactly what happened yesterday.
“It’s tea time, Jamie”, said his Mum. “Wash your hands please.”
“Don’t need to,” said Jamie. “My hands are clean.”
“Wash them anyway please,” said Jamie’s Mum.
“Why?” said Jamie.
“Your hands might have germs on them”, said his Mum.
“There aren’t any germs on my hands,” said Jamie. “Look!”
“We can’t see germs,” said his Mum. “They’re too small.”
“Mum’s just being fussy,” thought Jamie. “Just like she always is. Just like when she makes me wear my cycling helmet even when I’m just riding round the park. Just like when she.....”
“Wash your hands please, Jamie”, said his Mum for the third time.
“I don’t need to...” said Jamie
“Just do it!” said his Mum.
There she’d said it. “Just do it”. Now, Jamie was really angry. He went to the bathroom and turned on a tap. His Mum could hear the water running but Jamie didn’t wash his hands.
“I don’t need to wash them and she can’t make me”, he thought to himself.
Then he turned off the tap, pretended to dry his hands on a towel and went and ate his tea.
After tea Jamie played with his little brother, Rory. Rory was just a toddler and Jamie enjoyed playing with him. He knew hundreds of ways to make Rory laugh. His Mum was always saying “Rory’s so lucky to have a big brother like you, Jamie”.
Later that evening, Rory wasn’t very well. He looked hot and then he was sick.
“He’s got a bit of a temperature,” said Jamie’s Mum. “Looks like he’s picked up a bug.”
“What’s a bug, Mum?” asked Jamie.
“It’s a germ,” said Mum.
Jamie went very quiet. “I didn’t wash my hands”, he thought. “I handled Rory’s toys and he put the toys in his mouth. What if there were germs on my hands? What if Rory’s picked up a bug and it’s all my fault?”
“Is he going to be OK?” asked Jamie.
“He’ll be fine”, said Jamie’s Dad. “You go to bed now. There’s no need for you to worry.”
But Jamie was worried. He went to bed but couldn’t sleep. Jamie got out of bed and went to the top of the stairs.
“Do you think we should take him to the hospital?” he heard his Mum saying.
“Yes, maybe”, said his Dad. “He seems to be getting worse.”
Now Jamie was really frightened. He ran downstairs.
“This is all my fault”, he said and he started to cry.
“What’s your fault?” said his Mum.
“Rory being ill. It’s my fault cos I didn’t wash my hands. I just pretended to and then I played with Rory and the germs on my hands must have got onto his toys and gone in his mouth and now he’s ill and it’s all cos of me.”
Jamie’s Mum knelt down and put her arms round him.
“We don’t know where Rory picked up the germs. It could have been the playground or the park or the cafe where we had a drink on the way home.”
“But it could have been me.” said Jamie.
“Yes love”, said his Mum. “It could have been you.”
Jamie went back to bed. For a while, he lay awake listening and wondering .... and then the next thing he knew it was morning. Jamie knew it was morning because he could hear birds singing, but he also thought he could hear something else. There was another noise coming from downstairs. He got up and opened his bedroom door and, yes! The noise he could hear was Rory – laughing!
Jamie raced down the stairs and there in the kitchen Rory was sitting in his high chair eating porridge and laughing.
“He’s better!” said Jamie.
“Yes”, said his Mum. “Little ones are like that. One minute they’re really poorly then the next ...they’re sitting up eating porridge. Now come on Jamie. Eat your breakfast. We’re running late.”
“Just a minute”, said Jamie.
Jamie went to the bathroom. He turned on the tap and this time he slowly, carefully washed his hands.