“All day long everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket. You can’t see it, but it’s there. (...) You feel very happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel very sad and lonely when your bucket is empty. (...) A bucket-filler is a loving, caring person who says or does nice things that make others feel special. (...) When you make someone feel special you are filling a bucket. (...) But, you can also dip into a bucket and take out some good feelings. (...) All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say or do.” -- From: Have You Filled A Bucket Today, by Carol McCloud, Illustrated by David Messing.
Every moment matters.
Yet most children (and many adults) don't realize the importance of having a full bucket throughout the day. Every interaction in a day either fills or empties your bucket. And, everything we say or do to other people fills or empties their buckets as well.
It has been a week of bucket filling at our little North Fork Community School. Beginning with the heartwarming Teacher Appreciation brunch and continuing all week long through social media posts, cards, small gifts, and smiles…so many smiles. As the week progressed, one thing became abundantly clear. As buckets filled, they overflowed into other buckets and those into others and so on.
Too often it seems awkward, contrived, mawkish and even disingenuous to openly praise or express appreciation - But only because we are not very fluent in the language of positive emotions. Oddly, we are often more experienced at expressing negative emotions – reactively and defensively, and often without recognizing their corrosive impact on others until much later, if we do at all.
Heartfelt appreciation is a muscle we have to build, one word at a time, one person at a time, one child at a time, one smile at a time.
How many buckets will you fill today?