Last month I blogged about kindness, or the lack thereof in our general society. Working with young children daily has led me to believe that kids are naturally kind and open hearted. At least in the beginning. But much of our world is not kind and unfortunately, more often then not, the nice guy does finish last.
I don't believe it has to be like this.
I believe if we actively teach our children about kindness we can help nurture their natural inclination towards benevolence. But the idea of kindness and its importance to others and ourselves can be a very complicated concept to explain to young children. Which is why I am in love with the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.
The book explains that we all carry with us an invisible bucket of happiness. When we are kind to others we "fill their bucket", increasing their happiness. The book also explains that the side effect of filling someone else's bucket is having your own bucket filled! The kinder you are to others the more your own bucket will "overfloweth".
The book goes onto explain when we are mean, hurtful, or bully others we dip from their bucket. The insinuation is that many times we do this in an attempt to fill our own bucket. But here's the thing: when we dip from someone else's bucket we also dip from our own. No one is left happier.
How much better would the world be if we spent our energy trying to fill others buckets? How much happier would we all be?
My girls LOVED this book! The first weekend we bought it they requested I read it to them over and over again. But it wasn't just a feel good story, I saw a difference right away! The girls would do something kind to one another and happily exclaim they were "filling buckets"! And when they sibling nasties would start to kick in I would hear one or the other assertively state "Hey! Stop dipping my bucket!" and the behavior in question would immediately stop!
If you're a parent, I recommend checking out this book. I'm not going to claim it has solved all the fighting and sibling rivalry in our house (it's normal and natural for kids to fight, right? right??), but it definitely has helped my girls understand how their actions impact other and themselves. And that's a pretty powerful parenting tool if you ask me.
All from a simple little book about a bucket :)
Have YOU filled a bucket today??