The Story of the Bucket

  •     Bucket filling is a concept taught through a wonderful book called Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  It teaches us that everyone has an invisible bucket that holds our good feelings and good thoughts about ourselves.  When our bucket is full we feel happy and when our bucket is empty we feel sad and lonely.  

    Bucket fillers do things that fill others' buckets.  Filling a bucket is as easy as using good manners or smiling at someone as you pass by.  People fill their own buckets by filling others' buckets.  Essentially, its nice to be nice.  Bucket dippers are bullys.  They think they can fill their own bucket by being rude or mean to others.  By dipping out of others' buckets they are also dipping out of their own.  A bucket dipper's bucket is never full.

    I shared this book with students during the 2010-2011 school year and many teachers have adopted this book and read it to their own classrooms this year.  I refer to this book when I visit each classroom by bringing my own "bucket" with all of the CHOICE words in it - Care, Help Own, Include, Cooperate, and Excel - all good ways to fill a bucket.  I also remind students every morning after the pledge, "Don't forget, make good CHOICES and fill a bucket today! 


    Carol McCloud first heard the idea that a "bucket" represented a person's self-concept, or mental and emotional health, at an early childhood conference in the 1990's.  It was in the 1960's, that Dr. Donald O. Clifton (1924-2003), first created the "Dipper and Bucket" story that has now been passed along for decades.  Dr. Clifton later went on to co-author the #1 New York Times bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? and be named the Father of Strengths Psychology.  Their book and website are excellent tools for work and life.