At the beginning of each school year, the kids' school reads a book about being a bucket filler -- being helpful and kind, essentially filling someone else's bucket. The converse is being a bucket dipper, definitely frowned upon.
To encourage bucket filling behaviors, teachers and staff can "catch" students in acts of helpfulness and issue them an orange "bucket filler" slip of paper. The student then gets to take the paper to the school office, where they are thanked for their behavior and the paper is put into a bucket where all the records of kindness for that week are kept. Then on Fridays, four or five names are drawn from the office's bucket and those students are recognized after Mass.
Robbie has been obsessed with bucket fillers. For several weeks, he's come home from school and said something along these lines:
"Mom, I let Ty in front of me in the lunch line today. Was that a bucket filler?"
"Mom, Hannah dropped her crayons today and I helped her pick them up. Was that a bucket filler?"
Then I explain to him that you don't have get the orange slip of paper for something to be a bucket filler, that if you do something that makes someone else feel good and you probably feel good about helping, that's indeed a bucket filler. But he was waiting for the paper.
The wait was over yesterday. Robbie got a bucket filler slip for helping a friend who dropped something. He was so excited. So today, I went to school for Mass and to see if he would be one of those recognized after Mass.
OK -- really, I went to the office to see if I could ensure that his name would be called at Mass because I knew how much it would mean to him. But when I got there, the names had already been drawn and his was one of them (I think maybe his teacher had something to do with that.), so it was legit.
After Mass was over, the student council president (an 8th grade boy who was filling in for the principal), began announcing the bucket filler honorees. The first student came forward, shook the student council president's hand, and accepted a small charm. Then Robbie's name was called.
I watched as he jumped up as though he'd just been called to come on down to Contestant's Row on The Price is Right. He ran down the aisle to the front of the church, where the student council president stood waiting to shake his hand. Instead, Robbie ran right up to him, wrapped his arms around the kid's waist and gave him a big, joyful hug.
I know I'm biased and all, but it was so cute! In fact, it went a long way to fill my bucket today.