Empty Buckets

Last night I was putting my seven year old to bed. 

She said, “Mommy, I behaved really well at school today with the substitute, but I didn’t get ANY bucket filling tickets.”  

I said, “But you got the pleasure of behaving well.”  

She said, “But if I get bucket filling tickets then I have a chance to be the class bucket filler, and even the SCHOOL bucket filler.  And I found out that there’s a bucket filler for kindergarten and another different one for first grade, so even if a kindergartener gets picked, I still have a chance to be the first grade bucket filler and next year I could be the second grade bucket filler.”  

I said yes, but do we try our best and follow rules in school to get bucket filling tickets, or do we do it because it’s the right thing to do, and because behaving is fair to all of our classmates?  

She said, “But Mommy, the bucket filling tickets.”  

And I wanted to cry.

4 thoughts on “Empty Buckets

  1. Yes! That type of thing drives me crazy. My dad was always big on that. Even when I was a waitress as a young adult, and it was my job to give good service in order to get good tips, he would remind me that no, it’s my job to give good service because it’s the right thing to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My family and friends thought we were wrong and often told us so, but my children got an allowance based on the fact that they were our children and had financial needs. I never paid them to clean their rooms or help in the kitchen, etc. Those things were a basic expectation, not grounds for bribery.


    1. k,
      My parents brought up three kids in similar fashion. There weren’t complicated chore charts; we all pitched in because we were part of a family. A good portion of generous allowances went into savings accounts.
      The folks who critiqued your approach had opinions but not better than yours.
      I think of Alfie Kohn as I read your comment.


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