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Go Compare . . .

Comparisons are not always helpful

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how making comparisons can lead to ingratitude and envy.

Preparation and materials


  1. Ask the children if they have seen the Go Compare TV adverts. Ask a child to describe what often happens in a Go Compare advert.

    Show the advert.

  2. The man in the Go Compare adverts first appeared in 2009 singing about car insurance. Since then, he has been popping up everywhere: in taxis, on advertising hoardings and even on aeroplanes. His purpose is to inform us about where we can find the best deals on everything from insurance to broadband providers.

    There is such a range of prices for different products that it is a good idea to have a way of comparing all the different rates so that we get the best deal. The adverts are designed to make us smile while at the same time encouraging us to use a particular website to compare prices.

  3. The word comparison simply means difference. For example, here is a sum for our younger children.

    Mary has 12 pencils. Sarah has 7 pencils. How many more pencils does Mary have than Sarah?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    This sum compares what Mary has with what Sarah has. It makes us think about who has more and who has less.

  4. Point out that we live in a world where comparisons are always being made. It may be as simple as who is taller or shorter, or older or younger. However, it could be a comparison as to who is cleverer or better at running, or even who is more popular. Some of these comparisons can hurt. Sometimes, comparisons can become a problem.

  5. How often do we hear this phrase: ‘It’s not fair. He’s got more than me’? Sadly, when we start comparing ourselves and our possessions or gifts with other people, it is easy to become envious and dissatisfied.

  6. The story of Joseph in the Bible shows us just what can happen when people compare themselves with others.

    There is no doubt that Joseph was a favourite of his dad’s. Not a good idea! One day, Joseph’s dad, Jacob, gave Joseph a fantastic coat of many colours. Joseph’s hardworking brothers did not get one. They found it hard seeing Joseph prance around in his fancy coat while they worked hard in the fields all day. But Joseph was also a big dreamer and his dreams somehow seemed to show that he was a cut above his brothers! In one dream, all of his brothers were going to bow down to him, like servants. The brothers got very cross, as you do when you are envious of someone else, and their anger turned to hate, as it can do when you let jealousy get out of control. The brothers ended up selling Joseph as a slave to Egyptian traders and telling their father that he had been eaten by a lion.

  7. We may feel that we would never get as envious and jealous as Joseph’s brothers. However, let’s consider a few things that could lead to sadness and envy if we allowed them to.

  8. Show the image of the designer trainer.

    Have you ever been envious because your friends had new or designer clothes, but you didn’t?

  9. Show the image of the trophy.

    Have you ever been envious when your friends got a prize for something and you didn’t?

  10. Show the image of David and Victoria Beckham.

    Have you ever wished that you were as pretty or as popular or as rich as someone else?

  11. It isn’t wrong to aim to do better, hope to have a particular job in the future, want to earn money or do well in life. However, it is important to learn to be happy when we aren’t the best or the most successful.

  12. Ask the children to imagine someone to whom they sometimes compare themselves. Ask them to say out loud, ‘It’s not fair. They’ve got more than me.’ Point out that it’s difficult to say those words with a smile on their faces and feeling happy inside.

Time for reflection

It may be a good idea to compare prices for car insurance, electricity and broadband to get the best deal, but it is not always helpful to compare ourselves to other people. That often leads to ingratitude and envy. Instead, we should try to be thankful for what we have.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.’

Ask the children to reflect upon this statement. Encourage them never to be robbed of joy because of comparing themselves or their possessions to others.

Dear God,
Thank you that we are each unique and special.
Help us not to be envious of others and the things they have.
Instead, help us to be grateful for all the blessings we do have.

Publication date: April 2017   (Vol.19 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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