Our Primary School students have been big bucket-fillers for many years now however, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, ‘bucket-filling’ is used to refer to positive attitudes and behaviour. The analogy is that we all carry an invisible bucket of our emotions and feelings. When our buckets are full, we are happy and contented but when they are empty, we feel sad and discontented.
It’s a good solid visual image for our young students but I think it is helpful for people of all ages to recognise our own needs and the ability we have to contribute to others’ happiness.
For example, Father’s Day has come and gone and for many, it was a wonderful time relaxing with family and enjoying a picnic or barbeque. Dad and the family have full buckets. However, for many others, it is one of the most difficult days of the year and many will be feeling sad and disappointed with empty buckets. How do we fill those empty buckets, whether they are our own or others?
Filling the buckets of others
The best way to fill someone’s bucket is to begin before they are empty. The same ways we encourage our primary students to fill other people’s buckets is the same way we can be doing this ourselves. For example:
- Show kindness to others (even in the school carpark at pick-up time!)
- Help those who are struggling.
- Show respect to others.
- Show others you care.
Filling our own buckets
- Fill the buckets of others. Believe it or not, the first and best way to keep your own bucket full is by deliberately and consciously filling the buckets of others. There is a lovely verse in Proverbs chapter 11, verse 25 that says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed”. Being kind to others will fill your bucket and theirs at the same time.
- Foster an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful for the smallest things reminds us of the blessings we have in our lives and focuses our attention on the positive. Science is just now realising that gratitude plays a huge role in improving people’s health, building their resilience and helping them feel more positive. You won’t be surprised to learn that God knew this when He created us and the Bible is full of verses encouraging us to be grateful to keep our buckets full.
- Embrace the ratio. According to John Gottman’s research, the magic ratio to keep your bucket filled is that there should be five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Negative interactions are called ‘bucket dippers’ and can be a result of your own poor actions or those of others. So, if you are having a bad day, let this be the motivation to go out of your way to fill the buckets of others and that way your bucket will be just that little bit fuller.
The ultimate bucket-filler
There are times when we feel that none of this is working and our buckets seem to be empty most of the time. Sadly, we live in a world that is far from perfect and with people who are, like us, not perfect. Sometimes we feel that we are surrounded by bucket dippers and can’t keep up with the negativity. We feel sad, alone and unloved. Our buckets are empty.
People will continue to let us down just like we will continue to let others down but God is the ultimate bucket filler and he never lets us down. He loves us unconditionally – no matter how bad we feel or what we have done.
There is a beautiful short prayer in the book of Ephesians that I would like to leave you with:
May your bucket always be full.
Mike Curtis, Principal