Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Is Your Bucket Full?

Some of the most profound advice and wisdom that I have ever received on life and living has come from children.

The other day my five old nephew and his grandmother (my Mom) got into a heated debate. He wanted to watch what he wanted to watch on the nice new TV that my brother and I got her for her birthday while jumping on her bed. She's usually quite patient with his antics because he's just so darn cute, but this time she just couldn't take it anymore. Needless to say, the disagreement ended with him in tears when he caught her off guard by saying,

"Grandma, you tipped my bucket."

"What?" my mother said, not familiar with the term that he had used.

"I said you tipped my bucket." He repeated.

"Well, what does that mean?" She asked.

"When you make someone angry or upset, you tip their bucket, so you say you're sorry to fill their bucket back up."

Needless to say, she was sold on the idea, so they hugged and made up after which he said,

"Thank you Grandma, now my bucket is full."

Wow! If only adults could make it that simple. We argue, hold grudges, talk behind each others backs and do everything else short of addressing the issues at hand directly. In his own simple way my nephew introduced my mother to a method to use to reframe conflict. They discussed how each of their behaviors affected the other person, they acknowledged one another's feelings, and they came up with a plan together for moving forward.

When I called for an interview he had no comment, so I asked him to call me back the next day and with reluctance and a little coercion from my mother he did just that. The few words that he did have for me left a major impact...

"Aunt Munka (His pronunciation of my name), We want to be bucket fillers."

Enough said.