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ESL forum > Teaching material > Something to think about in this email that was sent to me. Sorry it has taken up so much room. Good to use with students    

Something to think about in this email that was sent to me. Sorry it has taken up so much room. Good to use with students


Something to think about in this email that was sent to me. Sorry it has taken up so much room. Good to use with students

The Mayonnaise Jar

When things in your life seem, almost too much to handle. When 24 Hours in a day is not enough, Remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class
and had some items in front of him.
When the class began, without a word,
he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students, if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  
They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full.
The students responded with a unanimous �yes. �

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.  
The students laughed.

�Now, � said the professor,   as the laughter subsided, �I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things - family, children, health, Friends, and Favourite passions.
Things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, Your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, house, and car.
The sand is everything else --The small stuff.

�If you put the sand into the jar first,� He continued, �there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are really important to you.


Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Play With your children.
Make time to get medical checkups.
Take your partner out to dinner.
Visit your parents.

There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawns.

�Take care of the golf balls first -- The things that really matter.
Set your priorities. The rest is just sand. �

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled......   �I �m glad you asked �.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life  may seem, there �s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend. �

Please share this with your other "Golf Balls"
I just did......

24 Nov 2009      


HI! This is a wonderful text. I �ve got it with some variations and it �s called A Jar of Pickles and a Cup of Coffee, but the basic message is the same and it �s just wonderful - I used it in class with my teenage and highschool sts, and it was just great. Thanks for starting our morning with this.
PS: Serene shared this with us yesterday at the cafe. Maybe it´s old news for members who are here every day, but it´s worth checking out as well (there´s also a free downloadable text to go with it). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81LPAu5TkAY

24 Nov 2009     


Hello Hazza and Anita,
There is a powerpoint presentation on this text here:
Anita, it was Isabelucha who first posted a link to that video at the cafe.
Have a nice day
edit: Anita, your worksheet on a jar of pickles is great to practice wishes! Thanks again for sharing it! Hug

24 Nov 2009     

Czech Republic

I just don �t see why the students would answer "yes" when the jar obviously wasn �t full!

24 Nov 2009     


This is a beautiful story. It would be nice to demonstrate the experiment with real golf balls, pebbles, sand and coffee in the classroom. Thank you for sharing!

24 Nov 2009     

Mariethe House

Thanks a lot Hazza! I shall keep this in mind 

24 Nov 2009     


Of course in an ideal world we wouldn �t need to be reminded of our priorities.  It �s easier said than done!
Sorry to be realistic!!

24 Nov 2009     

miss noor

Thanks a lot.
I will share it with my sts.

24 Nov 2009     


Oh yes, who doesn �t need a reminder like this once in a while.... thanks so much

24 Nov 2009