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This month marks one year since I began giving Bucket Filler Presentations for Cardinal Rule Press. I’d like to share some insight that I have learned along the way. This info isn’t new or earth-shattering by any means, but something that I often overlook in my busy attempts to teach. As educators we naturally concentrate on the transfer of information from adult to child, right? What I have learned over the past twelve months is how rich this ‘Fill-osophy’ truly is and how well it pairs with the Growth Mindset concepts in my own book, THIS COULD BE YOU. Using them in tandem will improve one's outlook in both areas. 

In her Bucket Filling series, Author Carol McCloud tells us that we all have an invisible bucket that holds our happy thoughts and feelings. Sharing positivity and joy with others helps to fill their bucket - and our own as well. When people exhibit a Growth Mindset they believe in the fact that their brain is malleable - we can learn and improve through effort and practice as opposed to depending only on our natural talents. Growth Mindset studies conducted by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University show us that students who are praised for their effort rather than their inherent intelligence exhibit a higher level of perseverance and are ultimately more successful. In other words, praising children - or adults for that matter - isn’t enough. The ‘how’ is what is even more important. This is just one example of how powerful the language we use with others is. 

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An important word in the building of a Growth Mindset is “YET”. Turning “I can’t do that” into “You can’t do that YET, but I’m proud of how hard you are working” encourages that child to keep trying and fills their bucket at the same time. As I said, Bucket Filling and Growth Mindset go hand in hand. 

One crucial piece of both strategies is modeling. If you fill someone’s bucket – point it out to the kids. If you see someone exhibiting a growth mindset, point that out as well. Such ‘mindset’ tactics quickly become habit. Carol McCloud tells the story of going to a restaurant with a favorite uncle as a child and choosing another diner to be the secret recipient of a free meal. This experience had a profound effect on Carol and even found a place in the new Bucket Filler book, BUDDY THE BUCKET FILLER: DAILY CHOICES FOR HAPPINESS, that she wrote with Cardinal Rule Press Founder Maria Dismondy. 

Helping children to develop a Growth Mindset will certainly fill your bucket, but it isn't ALL about the kids. Don’t forget about your own well-being. Fill your own bucket and believe in your own abilities - it is a non-vicious circle. 

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Cindy Williams Schrauben writes books for kids ranging from truly serious to seriously silly. As a former teacher, administrator, and children’s museum developer, empowering kids has always been her thing. When not writing, working with other authors, or honing my craft, Cindy is probably dissecting her grandsons’ shenanigans for story ideas, reading on the floor in the bookstore, or eating ice cream… ideally all at once. Cindy loves sharing the message, “It’s never too late to realize a dream.” What’s next for Cindy? Illustrating her own picture book… so, come along and dream with her!

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