Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

By Brandi Robertson

Sometimes, the simplest things can have a lasting impact on your life.  One of those instances for me was reading a children’s book with my daughter. When my daughter was in kindergarten, she was assigned to read a book entitled “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. She was just learning how to read, so I read the book with her.  (Side note: I really enjoy reading children’s books. They are filled with so many life lessons.)

The premise of the book is that everyone carries an invisible bucket. The bucket holds good thoughts and good feelings about yourself. You can either be a bucket filler or a bucket dipper. Using this metaphor, the book demonstrates how being kind to others can not only fill their bucket, but your own bucket as well. Alternately, when you treat others poorly, you are dipping into their buckets and taking away good thoughts and happiness. 

While I am aware of the importance of how we treat others, something about comparing it to filling buckets really stuck with me. It made me more conscious of how each interaction I have with a person can either fill or deplete their bucket. In addition to being kind to others, what are other ways we can fill someone’s bucket? How can we pour into others to make their lives better? When I think about filling a person’s bucket, I think of how as a librarian, I can help someone locate a book or resources. Another way is to just simply take the time to offer a listening ear to someone. Or, even donating to a charity or organization, enriches someone’s life and fills a bucket.

This book also helped me to see how it’s important to also be kind to yourself. How full is my own bucket? It’s my self-care check. Sometimes, you have to take time to fill your own bucket. When I feel my reserves are low, I make time to do things that make me happy, such as reading a fun book, treating myself to dessert, or simply having a quiet moment to myself. When you are in a good place, it’s easier to treat others well, which in turn calls to fill your bucket. As it states in the book, some people will dip into another person’s bucket just to fill their own. So, it is important to check yourself to make sure you are not negatively affecting someone else’s life. It becomes a cycle, where we either pour or take.

Book Cover: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
Book Cover: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

The moral of the story is how we treat ourselves and others makes an impact. Every day, we have the opportunity to either pour or dip into someone’s bucket. So, have YOU filled a bucket today?


Notes Between Us (NBU) is a blog about conversations and topics of interest to the writers. The writers are expressing their personal opinions solely. The essays represent their personal beliefs and not that of their workplaces or any organization they are associated with.