Last Friday night I had the opportunity to bring my girls to a play being performed locally at the Clifton Park Library. This play was all about Bucket Filling. I bet you wonder what bucket filling is, dontcha?
My girls have always gone to schools that teach bucket filling as a character building and anti-bullying curriculum. Bucket filling principles are based on a simple invisible bucket that we all have inside us. It is our job to keep our bucket filled with good, positive, happy and productive thoughts and feelings. It is also our job to fill buckets of others with kind words, support, forgiveness and gratitude. We work hard to fill our bucket and fill others… but also to avoid people and situations that ‘dip’ in our bucket. A bucket ‘dip’ is removing some of those good and positive thoughts and feelings. When someone puts us down or we put others down it dips in both buckets. Bucket filling is a great life skill in adulthood as well… surrounding ourselves with those who fill our bucket and getting rid of negative and harmful energies and people. Surrounding yourself with people that build and fill… not break and empty.
This play was so well written and kept my attention and more important my daughter’s attention, as well. The characters and fast paced skits really showed the important and realistic situations and reactions. I felt engaged and entertained. My girls really enjoyed the Bucket Filling Fairy- everyone in the audience did. I don’t often push bucket filling as anti bullying, mostly before this play, I focused on just building yourself and others. I guess in doing that bullying wouldn’t be so prevalent. If we wander and fill and take care of each other… if we recognized that most of the bullying behavior is a child walking around with an empty bucket trying to fill it up with something… then I think we would carry a great life skill. I would love if this play could come to local schools and the YMCA. I believe it would really help the children relate and understand the principle in action and life. I think it would make bucket filling relatable and tangible for children.
We first learned about bucket filling when Madeline was in three year old preschool. Her teachers read the book (Have you filled a bucket today?) and talked about the imaginary bucket. They brought the understanding down to a three year old and I started talking about buckets (imaginary and real) from that point on. Amelia and Lucy followed Madeline in school and learned those same principles. We brought the buckets home and started to literally fill buckets. We went to target and each girl chose a little bucket. I used pasta and we started filling and emptying buckets. When the girls did something kind or thoughtful they got to add pasta. When they did something unkind to their sister or me they had to empty their bucket some and refill their sisters bucket. I loved how we used the word ‘forgive’ right next to ‘I’m sorry’. What an awesome way to start young with the word ‘forgive’. I think it is important to use that word and learn about forgiveness of big and little things. The girls loved filling their buckets and they would get a reward when it was full. They could choose a family activity or individual activity. Madeline found this teal horse shirt at Target one day, she badly wanted. She wanted her bucket fill to go for that shirt (I sent Matt immediately for it and we put it away secretly) and then when it was full she got her horse shirt. That is the shirt Madeline is in right now… it was her most favorite shirt.
We still talk and use the bucket filling conversations and principles, but we haven’t filled our real buckets since February 2012. They are still sitting there on my stove, filled with the pasta from back then. I love seeing them. It makes me laugh a little to see how full Madeline’s was and Amelia’s was always lower. Amelia had a habit of doing really well then melting down and biting someone or having a tantrum and running like a crazy woman in front of… Target, the YMCA, anywhere. I have three different buckets with dusty noodles in them sitting on my stove. Those buckets are a constant reminder to me to fill buckets, I need a reminder sometimes. I need to see them to remember my girls and the way it was. I need to see them to fill my bucket. I need to see them to fill others buckets. I need to see them to build and create and live and be better…
So check out the Bucket Filling Play (http://bucketfillingplay.com/ ) and Have you filled a bucket today? Children, Adults… everyone could use these reminders.