By Margot Zemach
"It Could Always Be Worse" is a story of a man who is very unhappy. He is a poor farmer and his home was too crowded with his wife, kids, grandparents, and pets. The man went to a wise Rabbi, told him about how terrible his predicament was, and asked for advice. The Rabbi asks the man if he has any chickens outside his home. The man says yes, and the Rabbi tells him to bring the chickens in to live with him. The man does, and the situation in the home gets even worse. Now everyone is knocking into each other, there is never peace and quiet, and the house is chaotic. Returning to the Rabbi, the man again seeks advice. This time the Rabbi tells him to bring in his cows to live with him. Next time another farm animal until finally the man returns exhausted, telling the Rabbi he cannot take it anymore. The Rabbi finally tells the man to let all of the animals out. Upon doing this, the man and his family have the best night's sleep they've had in months.
The moral of the story is, no matter how bad your situation is, it could always be worse.
Many college professors and life coaches use the above activity as a demonstration for time management education.
Find a clear, empty bucket, collect several groups of items, ranging from large to small to smaller to smallest.
Tell the kids that we are going to see how much fits in this bucket.
Have them start with the sticks. Once the bucket is full of sticks, ask them, "Is the bucket full?" My kids said "yes"!
Next, tell them to see if they can get the leaves in there too. They will find that they can. After the leaves are piled to the top, ask again, "Is the bucket full?" Again, they will probably say yes. (Mine did).
Now, give the kids a handful of Cheerios each. Ask them to see if those will fit as well. They will find that their Cheerios fall right in. Prove the point even more by pouring more in right out of the box.
Again, ask, "Is the bucket full now?" Yes will again be your answer.
Finally, pour all of the sand in and have the kids watch as it falls easily through all of the crevasses. The kids will be delighted to see just how much they were able to fit into that bucket.
Just like the man in the story thought his house was full, he did not even know how full it could be until he added all of those animals. After all of those extras were gone, he was able to appreciate his house full of, (as this example would indicate), just sticks!
Just like the poor farmer couldn't fit anything more into his little house, fill up a jar with your child's lunch!
To make the lunch shown, place 7-8 baby carrots in the bottom of the jar. Next, make half of a turkey sandwich (one piece of bread cut in half for each side of the sandwich), and cut that in half. You will have two little quarters to place atop the carrots. Next, add some fruit like green grapes. Finally, cut a cheese stick in half and place on top.
I made one of these for both of my girls as we retold the story at lunchtime. They both loved it!
This meal could even be "To-go". Who needs a lunchbox, right?