The concept of the book is to help children visualize kindness in a way that is tangible, and instantaneous. The premise is that each person in the world carry’s with them, an invisible bucket. The bucket gets filled when someone is kind towards them and it gets dipped into if someone is unkind or hurtful, making for an “empty” bucket.
It’s amazing to me how such a simple concept has made such a difference in our lives. Each day as my children return home from school I ask them….
“Did you fill anyone’s bucket today?”
This question usually begins a discussion about the events of the day; what they noticed about kindness or lack of it, between all of the little interactions that can take place during a day.
“Did anyone fill your bucket?”, is usually the next question.
Each of my children are usually eager to have this discussion and of course, the content has offered us endless ways to look at the impact of kind, or unkind behavior.
My daughter has noticed the ripple effect that can happen from one act of kindness. She really notices that if she gives a school mate a great compliment, or a helping hand, that it can make a lasting impact that makes both children feel good throughout the day – and that may even plant a seed for yet another act ; as good, begets good.
“I can just see that it made her feel really good”, is what she told me after seeing the her kind words impacted her class mate,
“and then I see her being happy with other people because I said something nice to her, and plus; she kept looking at me all day and smiling”.
So of course it’s also allowed us to explore words and concepts like:
“Contagious” or, “Pay it forward”or, “The Domino Effect”,
This of course can go both ways – as each action has a counter action which can “undo” the goodness that has been created…. so we talk about that too.
When someone is unkind to someone, it also creates a ripple effect, and can do great damage.
“This is how wars get started”, was my seven year old son’s matter of fact response.
“YES.” i said gravely- “that’s exactly right.”
When my kids fight I always try to work with that tricky parent trap:
“He started it!” …
When it comes to acts of terror, outrage, or unkind acts it does not matter who started it? The important information I really want to know is:
“Who ended it?”
They tell me about their arguments from a different perspective now…
“We were arguing, but i ended it by, walking away, …..sharing, …” etc. This seems to encourage bragging rights.
My children are making these important distinctions, and it has been very fulfilling and gratifying to discuss these as we experience them.
This morning on our way to school my daughter exclaimed:
“I am going to be HAPPY today”.
I looked at her from the rear view mirror and I said,
“Wow, what a great thing to know!”
“Well, If I fill my own bucket first…then I figure that then, I can look around and see who else might need help getting theirs filled and this way, I’m not waiting for someone to fill mine!” she finished. I smiled.
Recently, I have been trying to impart the importance of being kind to ones self. She too, can dip from her own bucket by beating herself up for mistakes made or negative thinking. I’ve seen her make choices about her own happiness… this is priceless.
This little book really has transformed the way my children are exploring kindness, as it relates to their impact on others, and, as it relates to their own loving response to themselves.
I’m thrilled. Whose bucket will you fill today?