Monday, December 17, 2012

Bucket Filling

My son's preschool teacher shared a precious book with us a little over a month ago: Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud.  Ever since then, bucket-filling has consumed our common vocabulary.

Lily, my three-year-old, will give me a peck on the cheek and whisper, "that filled your bucket, Mommy."  Gunnar, the almost-five-year-old in the house, will pick up his toys without asking and ask, "did I fill your bucket, Mommy?!?"  (The unequivocal answer is YES!)

Here's a picture of the two little munchkin's, because I can't resist:

The conversation goes both ways.  Both kids make sure to tell me what I can do to fill their buckets.  (If you're a parent, or if you've ever been around a kid at all, you can probably imagine how these conversations go....)

Yesterday, the four of us were having a rare moment at home alone together (Justin has been traveling like crazy for work).  We were giggling and laughing and generally bucket-filling.  In the midst of it all, Gunnar said in his loudest, most dramatic voice,

"My bucket is a GOLIATH-SIZED bucket!"

Justin and I belly-laughed at that.  He hit the nail on the head (as usual...I seriously think that kid's prophetic; he is so insightful).  Sometimes it does seem like we are pouring into a black hole.  He needs and wants and needs and wants....

Yes, this is sort of a toddler thing, but it's also a Gunnar thing.  Especially when his dad is suddenly en absentia after being home almost non-stop for seven months (thanks to unemployment).  The transition has been really hard on the little guy, so his neediness has been at an all-time high.  It's easy to feel overwhelmed, and like nothing I do is ever good enough.

But, today, after yesterday's pronouncement, I had a revelation: It's not the big things; it's the little things that make the difference.

In other words, I don't have to create this huge, over-the-top gesture to fill my son's rather large bucket.  In fact, when I try to pull that off, it inevitably backfires (either because I'm so stressed from the effort or because, quite simply, it's not what he wants...or needs).

No, I need to do the little things.  Consistently.  Every day.  And if I'm consistent enough, his bucket will never be empty.

I think this is how God calls us to live, and, large bucket or small, how we're all made.  We all need consistent, small acts of love, all the time.  The big gestures are wonderful, of course, but it's the small moments that make the biggest difference.

I'm thankful that God graciously gave me that insight today, lest I get overwhelmed with ol' Goliath.  And I'm thankful He gave it to me during Advent, the season of (among other things) giving (also known as: bucket-filling).  I want to work on my consistency in the small things, the daily acts, and now's as good a time as ever to start.*

Linking up with the community at Soli Deo Gloria today, but before I go, one last note....

*I couldn't leave this post without relating a quick story.  I started chatting with the newby at my local Starbucks today.  She told me that, when she was training in Seattle, someone had paid for the person behind them in the drive-thru.  "Cool," I thought.  She went on: "yea, it was cool, but what was even cooler was that the chain literally went on for something-like twenty cars!"

That blew me away.  The power of the little things.  You never know what impact your one, small act will make!


  1. Thanks, wise momma, for the reminder to not forget the little things.

    My husband traveled a lot when my kids were young. One thing that helped the night time sadness was letting them sleep in one of daddy's t.shirts. Your son might like this, too.


    1. Glenda, THANK YOU! This is such a good idea! I'll try it tonight!