When my daughter told me that she was “locked out” of playing at recess, I was incensed. In first grade, there was a queen bee who was leaving my daughter out. I never expected it to happen so early. “Why do you keep trying to play with them?” I asked after a few days.
“Because they’re my friends,” she replied.
Suddenly, my whole life flashed before me. Uh, no they aren’t honey, I wanted to retort. Instead, I tried to help her see it for herself.
Fortunately, I stumbled upon a wonderful book called Have You Filled A Bucket Today? The book discusses our happiness or discouragement in comparison to a full or empty bucket. Nice things fill our bucket. Unkind things dip out of our buckets.
So, if people are nice or rude to us, our own buckets can be filled or emptied. It’s a sweet book with examples from a child’s perspective.
I hoped the book would show my daughter that those mean recess girls weren’t bucket fillers. Maybe it did. She did stop trying to play with the girls who “locked her out.”
More importantly, it reminded us both to take responsibility for our own behavior, kind or unkind, and took the focus off of the other girls. Truthfully, we can only be responsible for our behavior.
I write this post thinking about going back to school, new friends, old friends and the issues that always arise. If you have preschool aged kids, Fill A Bucket is a version written especially for them.
I hope this helps you as much as it did for our family. Do you have any other ideas that worked for you?