Be a bucket filler

by Sofia   -   in Good things for kids

Last year my girls were gifted a book from their friend´s mother. It´s called Sara the bucket filler, A story about showing kindness and being happy. Inside it she inscribed my girls names and wrote ” May you keep on spreading kindness and friendship”. The basic idea is that we all have invisible buckets of sand and when we do or say nice things to others it does not empty our buckets but fills both theirs and ours. We all know this to be true. If you try to fill yours by taking from the other ones bucket you just empty both. It´s a very basic concept but even some adults still struggle with this. It´s such an easy metaphor for children to understand that I wanted to share this with you for a few reasons.


I need to start with a bit of a disclaimer if you will. None of us wants to live in a “good vibes only” world. It´s not realistic. Feelings are definitely meant to be felt. I know I´ve said it here a thousand times but I´ll say it again. Sometimes we are all angry, we are tired, we are stressed, we are sad. It´s good to cry and it´s good to let all your emotions out ( I´m the first to raise my arm and admit I snap at my family… but I´m also very good at apologising). It´s nothing but normal and healthy. We have to also realise that there are two kinds of worries. They are both real and both are valid but we have to learn to draw the difference between the kind of worries that should not completely overwhelm us and the kind we need professional help dealing with. So when I write things on my blog I´m not writing them from a perspective of actual mental of physical illnesses or being, say for instance, in a financially helpless situation. We all know that when your troubles or the worries of your loved ones are overwhelming and you feel like drowning a simple “light up a candle and feel better”- advice is not useful. Yet it´s still normal to be sad or angry even if your worries do not swallow your whole life all the time. And that is the state of mind I write my blog in. I try to turn some negative thoughts in to positives. You don´t have to learn to love ironing even if I tell you it makes it lovelier if you use a great smelling linen water and watch Nancy Meyers movies while at it but it may make you feel inspired to try and you might like it.


But back to bucket filling. As our family can at this point in our lives be very grateful for all we have I tell my girls to use it for good. When they wake up in the morning they can hopefully feel their buckets are very full. They are met with kisses and a breakfast. They have clean clothes that are warm and that fit. Someone has remembered to ask if their homework was done and they have been helped with it if needed. We braid their hair and tell them to have great day. My girls can leave home with their buckets full so they have plenty to share from and I try to remind them and myself to be the kind of girls to do just that. When someone seems to be alone go talk to them. When someone seems sad or tired console them. Give a compliment. Help without being asked. When you have where to give from then do. It is so simple in life. It´s easier when your starting point is already good but we can all fill ours- and others buckets regardless of our situation.


But more importantly try not to empty them. When you are feeling stressed or irritated it does not help at all if you lash out to others. It will make you feel worse, sand is spilling from your bucket but also from the one you are trying to take it from. If you don´t feel confident it does not help if you make other people feel small too. It just simply empties everyones buckets. This is important to teach to our children and to live by ourselves too. We all have been there when you are having a horrible day and then someone comes along and is feeling so great and we think we ” deserve” to steal some of that irritating happiness. We don´t. It will not make us feel better to make the other person feel worse. It´s not how life works. But what we can do is if we are having a bad day we can try to do nice things to someone or say some kind words. And I promise you it will lift your mood. It will make your bucket fuller. If the bucket metaphor sounds childish to you then use what ever makes you happy. My kids found it very relatable. I found it relatable.

In the end I will share you the back cover of the book;

“Every person in the world has an invisible bucket that holds their good thoughts and feelings. When our buckets are full, that means we feel good about ourselves and we are happy. When our buckets are empty, that means we feel bad about ourselves and we may become sad or angry.

Join Sara as she learns how to fill other people’s buckets-by giving compliments, helping without being asked, expressing love, and being kind. You will discover, just as Sara did, that by filling other people’s buckets, your own bucket also gets filled up. And that makes you – and the people in your life – happier and kinder every single day!”


We talk a lot about the importance of being kind and the fact that kind and weak are not synonyms but actually quite the opposites. I think it´s a good lesson to teach our kids. 

Go be a bucket filler today!


p.s. If your kids are having a kid in their school or are the kids in their school having trouble trying to figure out their friendships as I have found most, especially little girls are at some point, then I very highly recommend this book or just introducing this concept.

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