November 7, 2016

Pep Talk

Every morning,  on our drive to school {approximately 5-7 minutes} I give Kendall a little pep talk.  As soon as we turn out of the driveway, I glance back at her in my review mirror, smile, and I say, "it's a good day..." and with a little eye-roll and a smirk on her face she moans, "to have a good day".

"Mom, that doesn't even make any sense", she says.

I'm sure many of you heard the term, "filling your bucket" or "being a bucket filler".  It comes from the children's books Fill a Bucket, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, and How Full Is Your Bucket? and others that talk about how kids can spread kindness, appreciation and love.  The gist of it is when you are kind you are being a "bucket filler".  When you compliment someone or help them you are filling their bucket full of love.  The opposite, being a "bucket dipper", is obviously when you are rude, talk nasty, or bully someone.  I love this concept and I think it gives kids a great visual to really understand that lifting someone up is filling their bucket but putting someone down is emptying it.  We always want to be "bucket fillers".

When Kendall asked me what I mean when I say, "it's a good day to have a good day" I delighted that she asked and wanted to take that opportunity to explain how that ties in with being a "bucket filler".

"It's easy", I said.  "Every day is a new day, right?  And every day is an opportunity.  We can chose to make it a good day or a bad day.  Our attitude, the way we react to situations and our mindset determines what kind of day we are going to have.  But every day is a good day to have a good day."

I'm still not quite sure she totally got what I was saying so I went a little further and told her that when we are "bucket fillers" we are making someone else's day good.  "It's like a domino.  When you build someone up and make them feel good that makes them want to do the same.  Not only will they extend a kind hand but it will also make you feel good knowing that you made them smile today."  She knows that when people are friendly and kind to her it makes her happy so it makes sense that doing that for others would make them feel good.

To make it more understandable, sometimes I put a "challenge" with it.  For example, the other day I told her I wanted her to compliment someone.  I told her it could be whoever she wanted but that I wanted her compliment to be genuine.  Now Kendall's a bit shy, even around people she knows well it can take her a while to warm up.  I knew giving her this task would be a true challenge but a good one.

When I picked her up from school that day I had kind of forgotten all about it, if I'm being honest. But the first thing she said to me when she hopped in the car was, "MOM!  I gave someone a compliment!!"  And she couldn't wait to tell me all about it.  After she told me who it was and what she said we talked about how that probably made him feel.  I asked her how he responded and how that made her feel.  The next day she couldn't wait to go to school and do it again.

This is my favorite tradition we have started and I only wish I had thought to do it sooner.  I am blessed that I am able to drive her to school and have these types of conversations with her.  She knows that whether we had a crazy morning and barely made it out the door on time or just have a case of the Mondays, she can always count on this little pep talk each day.  On the chaotic days I feel that these talks are even more important because it shows her that even though the day started out rocky, we have the opportunity to turn it around.

Do you have a school age child?  I encourage you to try this with him/her.  It doesn't have to be on the car-ride in the morning. It could be at the dinner table each night or during bedtime.  Having this kind of positive dialogue has not only helped Kendall realize what it means to be kind but has also been an eye-opener for me as well.  When I am spewing these things to her I am reminded that the best way I can instill this type of character is by displaying it myself.

Now, go be a "bucket filler".  Throw kindness around like it's confetti and watch the world around you change.

1 comment: