Last week, my son came home from school and, in an effort to shift the conversation from performance-based learning to intrinsic love for learning, I asked him what he learned about today. Instead of pulling an example from high school curriculum, he said, “Well have you heard about being a bucket filler or a bucket emptier?”
He had done community service at a local school that day where high school students go in and share a life lesson with younger elementary students in mentoring fashion. (Just a little meat before numerous games of Duck! Duck! Goose!) The lesson du jour was “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” I thought it was interesting that out of all the things to pick from in the upper high school curriculum to share with me, what stuck with him most was something that would last long after the memorization of facts about World War II had faded.
I looked at the lesson. The objective was spelled out on top:
We want to help you develop a community at your school that you will want to:
- Do your best
- Be Yourself
- Do what is right
The lesson continues. A demonstration of bucket filling and bucket dipping follows a conversation about what it means to “do what is right.” Then, a self-examination of whether each child is filling people’s buckets or dipping into people’s buckets. Finally, the high school students share where they are on the scale of bucket filling and what they are going to do to improve in this area. Students then write down ideas of how they are going to fill people’s bucket from then forward. How cool is that?
It reminded me of that “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” poem. Here is a lesson that pertains just as much to adults as to children. If I say “bucket dippers” can’t you immediately strum up a list? If I say “bucket fillers,” can you think of a different list, probably with a smile?
Admittedly, we are both at different times to the different people in our lives. It’s worth thinking about, though, as to where you are which and how often. My theory is that in order to be a good bucket filler you must keep your own bucket full with some hearty self care. In this way, the “Be Yourself” can more easily shine and the “Do what’s right” really wants to follow because it likes the light.
I’ve been telling my husband recently my job is to keep my faucet clean. (He doesn’t much like this metaphor and says I need a new one, but I told him I’m keeping it for now because it’s so accurate.) When faucets get dirty, it restricts the flow running through them. In order to be a good bucket filler for those around me and for the world, I need to make sure I take the personal responsibility to let Spirit flow through me like water through the clean faucet. In that way, not only can I fill more buckets but my water is sparkling and clean.
Are you a bucket filler or a bucket dipper? When you morph into a dipper, why do you do that? Are you keeping your own bucket filled? And, most importantly, whose bucket are you going to make runneth over today?