As a mom and a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to get my students and my own personal children to be more intrinsically motivated to do the "right" thing without always having to give a reward. It's a tricky thing, because we live in a very, "what's in it for me" society. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with looking out for yourself, I've in fact become pretty good at that, but I want to be a little more giving. Perhaps it's the holiday season rapidly approaching or the actions I see in daily life, but when the "Bucket Filling" concept was introduced to me at a faculty meeting about a month ago, I thought it was great.
Carol McCloud, the president of Bucket Fillers, Inc., has written several books with the idea that each person is born with an invisible internal bucket and when we do nice things for others, we fill their buckets, which in turn fills our own bucket. When our buckets are full, we are happy. When our buckets are empty, we are sad. So I read Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids to my kindergarteners. Some of my students instantly latched on to this premise, while others had trouble understanding that the bucket was not a real bucket.
A few weeks later, I was talking to one of my colleagues about how some of my students didn't really understand the whole concept of the bucket filling because it was too abstract, so she recommended Fill A Bucket by Carol McCloud and Katherine Martin, M.A. This book is great at explaining the bucket filling to younger children. I read it to my four-year old son one day recently and I talked to him a little about bucket filling, but I wasn't really sure how much he understood until my husband put him to bed that night. My husband was telling him what a great day he had with him and my son said, "Yeah, I weally filled your bucket, huh?" I guess he understood. This book is great for not only young children, preschool-kindergarten, but it sends a good message to parents and teachers too. I know I've been thinking about how what I say makes other people feel, especially the little ones in my life. So I pose the question to you, "Have you filled a bucket today?"