I'm not sure who originally told the powerful mayonnaise jar story, but the lesson has been replicated over the years and there are now quite a few versions to be found on the net.
Regardless of its source or how it's been changed, the story shares a powerful and motivational message to recognize and value the important things in life. The balls and other items that are added to the jar demonstrate how to prioritize the different things that happen in a day.
We enjoyed this video by Meir Kay and hope teachers grab their own mayonnaise jar to share this important lesson with their students.
Professor: Good afternoon everyone.
Students: Good Afternoon.
Professor: We all have this one life to live. A fleeting shadow amongst all that exists in this vast universe. We have the ability to accomplish anything, truly anything, if we use our time wisely.
Professor: Is this jar full?
Professor: Is it full now?
Professor: And how about now? Is the jar full now?
Professor: Now I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. Golf balls are the important things: your family, your friends, your health, and your passions. The pebbles are the other important things: your car, your job, your home. The sand is everything else. It is just the small stuff.
Professor: Now if you put the sand in the jar first, you won’t have room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same is true in life. If you spend all your energy and your time on the small stuff, you won’t have time for all the really important things that matter to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Take care of the golf balls first, the really important things. Set your priorities, because everything else is just sand.
Student: Professor, what does the beer represent?
Professor: I’m glad you asked. It goes to show that no matter how full your life may seem to be, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.
You might also like to watch this video to teach students about self-worth.