Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

Have you filled a bucket today?

And no, I'm not talking about the kind of bucket you use to water flowers in the spring or the kind of bucket for mixing paint.

Nope. This is an imaginary bucket, full of all kinds of good thoughts and feelings, and everybody has one.

As I write my last column about our favorite children's books, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud, seemed a fitting end to the year-long series.

Grace is the best bucket filler I know!
Although it's a best-selling book, and winner of the Mom's Choice award, it's one I heard of only recently. And after doing a little research, it was one of the first gifts we put under the Christmas tree for Grace this year.

The premise of the book is simple, and though written for children, it definitely applies to kids and adults alike.

"All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket. You can't see it, but it's there."

The author says that each person has a bucket, and it only has one purpose, to hold all the good thoughts and feelings about yourself.

"You feel very happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel very sad and lonely when your bucket is empty."
So, how does one go about filling this invisible bucket? The author reminds young readers that we all need other people to fill our buckets and they need us to fill theirs. And you can also fill your own bucket.

How? Well, that part seems easy. You can fill someone else's bucket when you do something kind for them or make them feel special. But on the flip side, you can also dip into someone else's bucket and take from it when you are mean or say things that make others feel bad.

"Many people who dip have an empty bucket. They think they can fill their own bucket but dipping into someone else's, but that will never work. You never fill your own bucket when you dip into someone else's."

Wow. That's a tough one sometimes, but so very true.

And that being said, you can't dip from another's bucket to fill your own, but when you fill someone else's bucket up, it fills your bucket too!

"All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other's buckets by what we say and what we do. Try to fill a bucket and see what happens."

The author begins to give suggestions on ways kids can help fill others' buckets and then their own. Things like saying "I love you" to mom and dad or smiling at your neighbors and friends. Most of the ideas are simple like saying hi to the bus driver or inviting a new kid at school to play.

I'm sure we could make a list a mile long of ways to fill the buckets of others, both big and small. And wouldn't the world be a better place?

After unwrapping all the presents, Grace and I sat down to read her new book on the day after Christmas. She just grinned page after page, mostly smiling at the brightly colored pictures.
Grace is by nature a bucket-filler. She has a smile for everyone she meets, and doesn't have the ability to dip from anyone else's bucket. Such a precious gift.

And I wish I was more like Grace all the time. Sometimes I find myself quick to anger over silly things, and taking from someone else's bucket just because something didn't go my way. Life isn't fair, and there are always going to be things that don't work out the way we plan or even the way we hope.

But as easy as it is to get mad, it's just as easy to smile and relax and remember that helping to fill someone else's bucket will help fill your own too.

That's my goal in 2017, to be a bucket filler to everyone I meet. I'm sure it won't be perfect, nothing in life ever is. But it's my hope that you will join me in becoming bucket fillers in the new year.

"Bucket filling is fun and easy to do. It doesn't matter how young or old you are. It doesn't cost any money. It doesn't take much time. And remember, when you fill someone else's bucket, you fill your own too."


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