As the Mom of a Kindergartner I am very familiar with "bucket dipping" and " bucket filling". These are the easy to understand concepts that most schools across the US, which help to allow kids to understand and correct their own behavior. A bucket dipper is an individual who participates in an activity which is harmful either physically or emotionally to another individual. This is a pretty easy concept. Not being a bucket dipper can be a challenge but most kids have it mastered. The bigger challenge, and concept is in being a bucket filler.
What is a bucket filler? Doesn't that just mean not bucket dipping. No. To be a bucket filler, you have to go above and beyond. It is not enough to just be someone who is not harmful to people. A bucket filler is helpful to people. Not just helpful but kind, builds up their friends, and is forgiving and loving to even their enemies.
This concept goes so much further than the classroom though. Even in marriage, adult friendships, workplaces. It is not enough to simply not hurt people, you need to build up people. Don't just make sure your kids are fed and dressed, make sure they really know you are there for them, that they are loved and happy. Don't just do your homework, do it well, put in the extra effort, show your teacher you really care. Don't just not fight with your spouse, show them you miss them, love them.
So you may wonder why I am writing this. Honestly, this was a conversation I had with Bug. He was sad that he did not win a "bucket filler award" yet, when he hasn't been a bucket dipper in a really long time. I asked what kind things he had done to help his friends, or compliments he had given his teacher, or extra hard work he did on schoolwork, or friends he had said kind, friendly things to. He looked confused. "but I am not a bucket dipper!" I had to explain that all he is doing is being bucket neutral, which sadly the schools don't really teach kids that bucket filling is more than the absence of bucket dipping, and they are growing up in a world where most people are bucket dipping and self serving. To them simply not hurting people for personal gain is a really huge step. Yet it's a first step. There has to be a second side to that. It is so hard to remember that. We live in a world where we so long ago forgot how to build others up, we self promote, collect friends like trading cards, and only spend time doing the bare minimum in relationships. I myself am horribly guilty of this. I think most of us are.
So let's take a page from our children, and remember to be bucket fillers. Bucket fillers not just bucket neutral.
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