Parents often search for ways to explain to children how our actions affect the lives of others. The topic naturally arises when children are in conflict ("When you called Timmy 'stupid,' you hurt his feelings."), but do those lessons really sink in?
Better yet, reading a story during calmer times will more likely engage children in the discussion, as well as give them an opportunity to see both sides of the matter without strong emotions clouding their understanding.
A deceptively simple book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, by Carol McCloud, speaks volumes about how to be happy and bring happiness into the lives of others.
The concept is simple. Everyone carries around an invisible bucket which holds good thoughts and feelings about ouselves. We feel good when it's filled, and sad when it's empty.
Now, our bucket can only be filled by other people. Kindness, smiles, and generosity fill other people's buckets. But a magical thing happens when we fill someone's bucket: our own bucket fills up, as well.
Some people aren't bucket-fillers, but bucket-dippers. They try to take the good feelings out of other people's buckets to fill their own. But this doesn't work. It only leaves two buckets empty and two people sad.
So, the moral is to be a bucket-filler, not a bucket-dipper, to have a happy life.
This gentle story is made even more beautiful with the wonderful illustrations of David Messing.
Although the reading level is 4-8, everyone in the family will enjoy and benefit from reading this tale. You may even find yourselves saying, "Thank you for filling up my bucket today!"