As you might know, I don’t like gaps in my knowledge.  I love having a smart phone because I can look up answers.  I also dislike misinformation, especially in education.  I plan to reward students when they catch me in a mistake.  One common mistake is when people mix up envy and jealousy.  Common enough.  But absolutely annoying when people who know better do it.

“I’m so jealous that you got to go to Hawaii.”


“I’m so envious that you got to go to Hawaii.”

Jealousy= You think you’re about to be replaced.  You’re jealous of the babysitter; you think she will replace you in your children’s eyes.

Envy= You want that.  You’re envious that your friend got a new car; God, how you wish you could get a new car.

Naturally, I explained the difference to the boys one day driving home from school.

A couple of weeks later Tornado E was doing a language arts paper talking about moods and color.  Tickled pink.  Feeling blue.  Green with envy.  When you’re jealous, you’re green with envy.  Or some nonsense like that.

No.  No.  No.  For Christ’s sake, this is an educational worksheet.  And good Lord, it’s green with envy, so you have to be envious to be green.  It’s in the phrase!

I crossed out “jealous” and wrote “envy.”

Me: Tornado E, do you remember the difference between envy and jealousy?

Tornado S: I do, Mommy!

Hmm, do I let the younger brother answer for the older?  Am I setting a bad dynamic?  Am I encouraging sibling rivalry?  Does this kid even know?

Me: What is it, Tornado S?

Tornado S: Envy is when you want something someone else has.  Jealousy is when you think someone is going to replace you.

He beamed.

Holy crap!  How many weeks ago did I explain it?  And he remembered?


Me: Good job, kiddo.  Way to use that brain!


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