The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

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The colored pictures are from “In the Leafy Tree Tops” blog

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

The children already know this song really well, so I plan on having the children sing it through once the regular way using the actions and then I’ll explain what it means.

I’m using the colored illustrations of the July 1999 Friend pictures from the blog “In the Leafy Tree Tops” to help explain what the song means. I am also using word strip labels.  The blog “In the Leafy Tree Tops” is also where I got the alternate song arrangement idea I am using. A big thank you to the writer of this blog!


When Jesus was on the earth he taught many things using parables. The wise man and the foolish man is one of the parables he taught. A parable is a short story designed to help teach a gospel principle using everyday objects in life that people can relate to, such as the storm, the house, the rock, and the sand in the song.

(Put the objects on the board one at a time. Explain what each represents after asking the question about it. Put the word strip label under the object after explaining what it represents.)

  • What does the house represent? Our life
  • What does building our life on the rock represent?  Building our life on the solid foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which means doing the things the gospel teaches us to do.
  • What does building our life on the sand represent? Building our life on the things the world values.
  •  What kinds of things does the world value? (Write these on the board.) Wealth, entertainment, physical beauty, sports activities, popularity and fame, etc. Explain that sometimes people make these things their main focus in life and they don’t give time to the things of the gospel such as scripture study, prayer, church attendance, etc.
  • What happens when the storms of life hit someone who has made worldly values their priority in life? (Answer this question by asking the following questions.) What do the storms of life represent? (The difficulties, trials, and temptations of life) What happens to sand when wind or water hits it? (It moves and shifts.) What happens if someone has not taken the time to build a strong testimony and temptations coming pouring down upon them? (They might move and shift toward the temptation.) What happens when the difficulties of life come pouring down upon someone who has not taken the time to turn to the wisdom of the Lord to help guide their life? (Things fall apart.) If we haven’t built our life on gospel teachings, the storms of life could sweep us away to destruction.


Alternate Song Arrangement

After I explain what the song means, I plan on having the children try to sing the song using the alternate song arrangement. I will have the pianist play just the children’s part until they have it down. The chorus accompaniment is a little difficult. I am planning on having a musical instrument play the children’s part during the chorus to help them hear and sing their part.

P.S. I changed the wording on one of the word strips (it is different than the picture).  The grammar is still not correct, but it might work better.


Additional Teaching Ideas:

Friend March 2020 “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man: I Can Play It” Also includes a sing-along video.

Sing-Along Video  Church of Jesus

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man Explain that “the wise man built his house upon the rock” means that wise man built his life upon the teachings of Jesus. The foolish man didn’t and his house (life) fell apart in the storms of life. Discussion Ideas: What things in our life are like the rain and wind? How does following Jesus’s teachings protect us and make our faith strong as a house built on a rock? Song: “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man” (Children’s Songbook, 281) Scripture: Matthew 7:24–29  Sing-along video

Friend March 2015 “The Wise Man and the Foolish Man”

Rock Art: Choose a smooth rock. With a marker or paint, write “Jesus Christ” on it. Talk about why it’s so important to build our lives on His teachings. Keep the rock in a place where you can see it often.

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