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Teaching Our Children About Living a Full Life

30 November 2011 6 Comments

This story was passed along to me. The original source is unknown. Please contact me if you know. It applies nicely to education, and reminds us about how easy it is to, well, I’ll let you figure that out.

TWO GLASSES OF WINE 1290134_red_red_wine

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, 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 glasses of wine 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 recognise that this jar represents your life….. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your 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, your house, and your 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 important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the shelves.

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 wine 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 glasses of wine with a friend.’

Related posts:

  1. Educating Our Children to Full Personhood
  2. Schools: Not Full of Bugs, Full of Features
  3. Zenschooling: Living a Fabulous and Fulfilling Life Without School
  4. Teaching Kids to Think for Themselves
  5. Living As Though School Doesn’t Exist


  • Resa said:

    Wonderful post. I love the 2 glasses of wine with a friend twist on this favorite. Thanks. :)

  • Dr. Amand said:

    Yeah…. Shake it baby. My kids love to enjoy reading, writing and so many games playing. I thing this way babies learning different things. Thanks! :)

  • Rich said:


    I think this is a demonstration that Stephen Covey used to do. I don’t know whether he invented it (and doubt he would use wine) but I am sure I have seen a video of him doing it live, AND read it in one of his books.

  • Rich said:

    Yep. Looks like I can’t paste in the link, but do a search for “Stephen Covey Video Big Rocks”

  • Kentucky Homeschoolers said:

    Great post. Happiness is truly a personal decision..

  • Angelina Sondakh, and A Bunch of Golf Balls « BunuhBosan said:

    [...] or mayonnaise, a bunch of golf balls, some marbles, a handful of sand and a bottle of wine. I found this story again yesterday, after browsing through my old [...]

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