How full is your bucket? The importance of encouragement.
I read a book last week called How Full is Your Bucket? By Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. It is primarily about positive psychology and being kind and generous to people and ‘filling their bucket’ which in turn will fill yours. It mentioned quite a few times the impact that we as educators and parents on our children and how important it is to ‘fill their bucket’ every single day.
It made the point that instead of focusing on developing well rounded children, we should encourage their strengths so that they feel confident and successful. We should search for early traces of talent and whether that lies in academia, sport, music or art, it should be nurtured, taught more and given attention. The way our school system is set is to deliver a well rounded curriculum so that children have the opportunity to explore different concepts.
If a child excels at a subject continuously, they are rarely called into the principal’s office or a call is made to parents to congratulate them. However, if a child is constantly failing and falling behind, attention is given. While I do certainly believe that struggling students need the help, it is equally important, if not greater, to focus on the strengths that these children have.
I have recently encountered a child who is super smart. Almost rain man smart. His mental computation skills are fantastic. As a result, he is having an awful time in the classroom. His brain doesn’t work like the majority of children and his learning style is particularly different. Doing a question like 732 – 379 would typically be worked out by a Year 3 student on a piece of paper with long subtraction. This boy can do it in his head in under 30 seconds. Many adults couldn’t do that. But as a student of the school system, he is made to feel inadequate and needs to learn the ‘correct’ way of doing it showing his working out. Bit of a shame, isn’t it?
I have recently spent a lot of time learning about children’s different learning styles and how to cater for each one of them. While this would very hard to achieve in the classroom (hence, I’m a private tutor not a classroom teacher) we have to remember that the five days a week that children are in the classroom is shaping their entire lives. Praise can influence them forever, as can insults.
Fill your child’s bucket today. Find what they love the most and encourage the crap out of it. If they love playing piano, give them lessons. If they love to read, cosy up and listen, if they like to play soccer, invest in a fold out chair and watch them kick some goals at the local field. It will fill your bucket too and make you feel fabulous about the amazing person that you have created.
Written by Tina Tower
Director and Franchisor for Begin Bright Early Learning & Primary Tutoring Centres.
How full is your bucket is available in an adults and children’s version. Click here to see the book on Book Depository.