How Full Is Your Bucket?
Recently I came across a delightful picture book for children, which also provides an enormous challenge for adults, “How Full is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. I strongly recommend this picture book to everybody; I don’t believe there is an age limit applicable.
So why do I love it? This story beautifully expresses how at all times our lives are either impacting somebody or being impacted by another person. We all live our lives with an invisible bucket over our heads. The experiences that we have and the words spoken to us can either drain or fill this bucket. And simultaneously, we can either drain or fill another person’s bucket.
The words spoken by each of us need to be considered so carefully. We can build up people with the words we speak or crush them so terribly. It’s amazing to consider just how distinctly we remember those crushing words spoken over or to each of us. I distinctly remember the day that an important person in my life said; “Just remember, Vanessa, you may think you’re intelligent, but you’re not!. Always remember, your biggest problem is that you’ll think you’re clever, but remember you’re not.”
Now that was said to me when I was fifteen years of age, and many years have passed since then. But I can still remember exactly where I was standing when it was said and each and every word. Now that is an example of not just a bucket drainer but a bucket smasher! However, it does reinforce the power of draining another person’s bucket. Before you worry, I’ve challenged that thought process and know it not to be true. And it took a lot of work from people “filling” my bucket to reverse that statement and many others like that.
Consequently, as a teacher, I’m very aware of the power of the words that I use when talking with students and those in my life. Always think of how we can positively fill the bucket of each person that we meet. I know that many times a student will come into my classroom having had an enormous number of “draining” moments prior to the lesson. They may have had an argument with their parent before leaving for school, or had a kid tease them in the playground, or received negative feedback on a task. This will mean that it will take a lot more work to fill this bucket. Also, for learning to take place a person must be in a mindset that is open to learning. And nothing crushes a mindset more effectively than negativity. If a student comes into a class feeling “crushed” by life, there will be little chance of active learning until some part of their being has been restored.
If you can get this book, do so! I’m inspired to really get students and staff considering this term how they can fill and overfill the buckets of all those around them.