How Full Is Your Bucket?

How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life is a short book about building people up by “filling their buckets” with thoughtful and appropriate encouragement and praise. You could probably read the book in about 20 minutes, but it does have some good points.

First, I was challenged to think about what type of feedback I most often give my children.  With small kids, some days feel like a constant barrage of “No!  Don’t touch that!  Don’t hit your sister!  Don’t whine!  Don’t tattle!” The book mentions a study conducted in 1925 that measured the effect of praise and criticism on children.  I was sobered to think of how often I criticize my children versus how often I give them thoughtful encouragement.  It takes a lot of effort to stop in the middle of something and, first of all, notice when things are going right, and second, verbalize that to the child.  There are some things I praise consistently, but I was challenged to think of other areas to encourage the kids when they do the right thing.  The study found that the ideal ratio of praise to criticism is 5:1.  That’s a lot of encouragement compared to negative statements, especially in a house full of the under 6 crowd!

The second point I found illuminating was the injunction to prevent bucket dipping – that is, to think about whether each of our interactions with others is positive or negative, and actively avoid being negative when that is possible.

Overall How Full Is Your Bucket? is a quick and somewhat helpful book, which I would recommend if you’re a fan of the self-help genre but would probably suggest as a library book rather than a purchase.


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