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.
So 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 an unanimous “yes.”
The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the space between the grains of sand. Now the students began to laugh wondering how far this was going.
The teacher waited until the laughter stopped. “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life,” he started. “The golf balls represent the important things. Your family, children, health, friends, and passions. If everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles represent the other things in life that matter, such as your job, house and car. The sand—that is everything else. The small stuff. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all of your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are most important. Pay attention to the important things in your life. Enjoy time with family. Go to dinner with your spouse. Play games with your kids. There will ALWAYS be time to clean the house or take yourself shopping. Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. The rest is just sand.”
Before the students left, one shouted out. “You never mentioned what the beer represents!”
The professor smiled and said, “Well I’m glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room to have a beer with a friend.”
But always remember to take care of the golf balls first. The golf balls are what’s most important. Remember the golf balls.
Chris Damo, Lecturer
Editor’s Note: This lecture was given from the heart, not from prepared notes, by our fallen Brother Knight Chris Damo. It has been recorded here paraphrased from memory.