There are few things more important to a third grader than school parties. Even though Mrs. Terrell was very stoic on a day-to-day basis, she let down her guard for holidays. Our classroom was decorated at least three weeks before a big event and we had a countdown calendar she marked with a giant X at the end each day. October, November, and December were totally blacked out when we left for Christmas break because we partied the entire last quarter.
For the Thanksgiving party, one of the moms made iced cookies in the shape of leaves, turkeys, and pumpkins. Everyone stormed the refreshment table almost knocking the poor lady over as she set them down. Mrs. Terrell instantly changed from her party voice to her stern teacher voice, “Class, Class! Slow down! There’s plenty to go around.”
There was plenty, but not plenty of what I wanted. When I got to the table, only leaf cookies were left. I really wanted a turkey and I had to settle for a leaf and the edge was even broken off. That was the very first time I remember feeling jealous and I didn’t like it. I still don’t.
The term green eyed monster, originated by Shakespeare, is thought to refer to cats who tease their prey. And a monster it can become if not kept in check. I’ve seen families break apart and friendships dissolve over nothing but sheer jealousy. When someone else earns a position on the team, gets the raise, or lands the job we wanted, why do we take it personally as if it belonged to us and was snatched away? Underneath it all, we’re most likely mad at ourselves.
Sometimes I struggle to cheer for someone else when they get what I desperately want and feel I deserve. “Good for you! That’s great! Great,” is many times all I can spit out. I’m sure if I did some research I’d find out the Greek root words for the term, “That’s great” are probably the same as, “I’m jealous.”
My goal is to sincerely be happy for others when they do well, achieve what they’re after, or get the cookie. Because honestly, like Mrs. Terrell said, “There’s plenty to go around.”