ROSH HA-SHANAH EVENING SERMON
SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
RABBI AMY B. BIGMAN
Tomorrow morning at our Tot and Children’s Services, I will be sharing with the children from these books: Have You Filled A Bucket Today?: A Guide To Daily Happiness For Kids, by Carol McCloud; Fill A Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Young Children, also by Carol McCloud; and How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath. These books and many others, including books for adults, are based upon the philosophy of Dr. Donald O. Clifton (1924-2003) who first created the “Dipper and Bucket” story. For his life’s work, including the use of the “Dipper and Bucket” idea, he was presented with the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Commendation.
Tonight I’d like to share with you from the book Have You Filled A Bucket Today?: A Guide To Daily Happiness For Kids.
All day long, everyone in the whole wide world walks around carrying an invisible bucket. (p. 4)
You can’t see it, but it’s there. (p. 5)
You have a bucket. Your mom and dad each have a bucket. Your sister and brother have a bucket. (p. 6)
Your grandparents, friends, and neighbors all have a bucket. Everyone carries an invisible bucket. (p. 7)
Your bucket has one purpose only. Its purpose is to hold your good thoughts and good feelings about yourself. (p. 8)
You feel very happy and good when your bucket is full, and you feel very sad and lonely when your bucket is empty. (p. 9)
Other people feel the same way, too. They’re happy when their buckets are full and they’re sad when their buckets are empty. (p. 10)
It’s great to have a full bucket and this is how it works… You need other people to fill your bucket and other people need you to fill theirs. So, how do you fill a bucket? (p. 11)
You fill a bucket when you show love to someone, when you say or do something kind, or even when you give someone a smile. That’s being a bucket filler. (p. 12)
A bucket filler is a loving, caring person who says or does nice things that make others feel special. When you make someone feel special, you are filling a bucket. (p. 13)
But, you can also dip into a bucket and take out some good feelings. You dip into a bucket when you make fun of someone, when you say or do mean things, or even when you ignore someone. That’s being a bucket dipper. (p. 14)
A bully is a bucket dipper. A bucket dipper says or does mean things that make others feel bad. (p. 15)
Many bucket dippers have an empty bucket. They think they can fill their own bucket by dipping into someone else’s… but that will never work. You never fill your own bucket when you dip into someone else’s. (p. 16)
But guess what… when you fill someone’s bucket, you fill your own bucket too! You feel good when you help others feel good. (p. 17)
All day long, we are either filling up or dipping into each other’s buckets by what we say and what we do. Try to fill a bucket and see what happens. (p. 18)
You love your mom and dad. Why not tell them you love them? You can even tell them why. Your caring words will fill their buckets right up. (p. 19)
Watch for smiles to light up their faces. You will feel like smiling too. A smile is a good clue that you have filled a bucket. (p. 20)
If you practice, you’ll become a great bucket filler. Just remember that everyone carries an invisible bucket, and think of what you can say or do to fill it. (p. 21)
Here are some ideas for you. You could smile and say “Hi!” to the bus driver. He has a bucket too. (p. 22)
You could invite the new kid at school to play with you. (p. 23)
You could write a thank-you note to your teacher. (p. 24)
You could tell your grandpa that you like to spend time with him. There are many ways to fill a bucket. (p. 25)
Bucket filling is fun and easy to do. It doesn’t matter how young or old you are. It doesn’t cost any money. It doesn’t take much time. And remember, when you fill someone else’s bucket, you fill your own bucket too. (p. 26)
When you’re a bucket filler, you make your home, your school, and your neighborhood better places to be. Bucket filling makes everyone feel good. (p. 27)
So why not decide to be a bucket filler today and every day? Just start each day by saying to yourself, “I’m going to do something to fill someone’s bucket today.” (p. 28)
And, at the end of each day, ask yourself, “Did I fill a bucket today?” (p. 29)
“Yes I did!” That’s the life of a bucket filler… (p. 30)
And that’s YOU! (p.31)
You know how they say “out of the mouths of babes…”? Well, I think that we can also say that “out of the books for babes” come great lessons for adults, too.
In this new year of 5778, in our everyday conversations and interactions, we would do well to remember what seems like a lesson for children: to remember to be bucket-fillers. Our fractured world needs bucket-fillers.
May this new year be a very happy, healthy, bucket-filled year for you and your loved ones. Shanah tovah!