Have you filled a bucket today?

Updated to reflect newly available publications.

Child at the beach filling a bucket
I learned something new at a family program at FUMC in Ann Arbor, MI.

I learned how to be a “bucket filler.”

Even though this interactive presentation on bucket filling was right after the Easter egg hunt, this wasn’t instruction on how to garner the most chocolate eggs in your Easter bucket basket.

No, this event was about something far more important.


Here’s what I took away:

  • Work to keep my bucket full (by filling other people’s buckets)
  • Don’t be a “bucket dipper”
  • And keep my bucket lid close at hand.

So what’s all this talk of buckets?

It’s all based on the concept that everyone carries around an invisible bucket where we store our good thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

When your bucket is full, you feel great.

When your bucket is empty, you feel lousy.

When we are kind and do nice things for someone, we fill their bucket. In the process of doing “bucket-filling, the gratifying side-effect is that our own bucket gets replenished!

This is a great way to teach kids (even young ones) about the importance of being loving and considerate of other people. To keep your own bucket full you need to either receive scoops of love from someone or ladle love upon someone else.

Jesus told us to be a bucket filler: “Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.” (Luke 10:27). I’m all for full buckets!

But, don’t be a bucket dipper!

What is not good is “bucket dipping.” When someone acts mean, in the things they do or say (or even simply ignores us!) they dip into our bucket, hijacking some of our happiness.

For kids, this describes bullies, but it also can describe the daily goings-on in our households. How about: “My bucket is being dipped when you don’t pick up your toys as I’d asked.” Or, “I see that both of your buckets are being dipped when you and your sister are arguing.”

What’s with the bucket lid?

This event turned out to be so much more than just another way of looking at the Golden Rule. The presenter from Bucket Fillers, Inc. empowered us to deal with bucket dippers by putting a lid on our bucket! What a refreshing way to visualize protecting your feelings—for kids of all ages.

As I have thought about this bucket concept, it occurred to me that God wants to fill to overflowing, all of our buckets!

Open quote markFrom the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16

God needs us to do the work of filling each other’s buckets. I have just one question…

A bucket full of blessings


Some Bucket-filling Resources:

The book Have You Filled a Bucket Today?This is a great book to introduce bucket filling to your kids; for all ages (even adults!)


The book: Fill a bucketThis one is great for ages birth to 5.


Book - Growing Up with a Bucket Full of HappinessA chapter book for ages 9 and up.


Book - Baby's Bucket BookBoard-book for ages birth to age 2.

Baby’s have buckets too!


To purchase the above books and other products visit Bucket Fillers, Inc.

Photo credits:
Beach photo offered by RJ Bejil, who licensed this photo under a Creative Commons License.

Graphic: “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” – used with permission from Bucket Fillers, Inc.
Book covers – Not affiliate links (I get nothing for pointing you to the organization Bucket Fillers, Inc. Just trying to point you towards resources.) but these covers do link to the publishers’ web site. This, in my mind, keeps this in the category of fair use for educational purposes.

3 thoughts on “Have you filled a bucket today?

  1. What a wonderful piece of writing!
    I know of lots of adults who enjoyed this presentation as much as the kids did : )

  2. What a great reminder! I need to keep this concept at the forefront of my daily thinking! Thanks!

  3. No wonder doing things for other people makes us feel good… we fill our own bucket whenever we fill someone else’s bucket!

Join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s