Happy International Friendship Day! On this day I’m thankful for the friends I’ve had throughout my life who have been there to share a hug, laugh, or cup of coffee when I’ve needed it. I also think about what it means to be a friend: good listening skills, trust, and most importantly, empathy. We tend to build friendships with people who share a common interest or trait, whether it's cooking or chess or camping.
But building bonds can go beyond connecting with a person who is close, familiar, and shares mutual interests, beyond the school buddy or neighbor or book club member. Friendship can extend to those who are different. Celebrating friendship can promote understanding of diversity and inclusion. That’s the idea the UN General Assembly had in mind when it proclaimed the International Day of Friendship in 2011. The UN believes that friendship between peoples, countries, and cultures can build bridges in communities and inspire efforts towards peace.
At Cardinal Rule Press, we celebrate friendship on International Day of Friendship and every day. The qualities that make a good friend-being aware, listening, and showing empathy by stepping into another’s shoes- are the very skills that Cardinal Rule Press books promote. Like Evie in Evie’s Field Day, good friends value helping someone else cross the finish line over winning the race themselves. Like Lila Lou, in Lila Lou’s Library, good friends share their passions in order to enrich the lives of others.
Here at Cardinal Rule Press, we are happy to help you with resources for your bookstore or library. Download Here!
Cardinal Rule Press’ Bucket Filler Program also promotes being a good friend, both to others and oneself. I love visiting schools as a Bucket Filler speaker and talking to kids about ways to be a bucket filler, a person who acts with compassion and kindness, and not a bucket dipper, a person who robs others of good feelings by bullying or expressing other negative behavior.
I’ve found that kids are eager to be fillers and not dippers. The Bucket Filler Program gives kids the language and tools to increase awareness of their own and others’ emotions. By imagining that everyone carries around an “invisible bucket,” kids can visualize the effects of different actions, positive or negative, on people’s emotions. After I explained the “invisible bucket” concept to a group of kindergarteners at a school in the Pittsburgh area this spring, one child nearly bounced out of his seat with a comment he wanted to share. When I called on him, he said, “My brother filled my bucket this morning. He let me sit on the bus next to him, and now I feel really happy.” Bucket-filling makes the concept of spreading kindness, of being a good friend, tangible.
I hope, on International Friendship Day, and every day, you’ll find ways to celebrate friendship by filling the buckets of those who are already your friends and building bridges to those who might need a friend.
Don't forget you free Downloadable Here!Michelle Schaub is an award-winning children’s author and teacher. Her books include Kindness is a Kite String, Dream Big, Little Scientist, and Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market. Michelle loves using poetry and the sounds and rhythms of language to delight, inspire, and empower kids, especially when it comes to caring for each other and the earth. Michelle lives in Colorado with her husband, three children, and a lazy golden retriever named Bear. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Michelle visiting her local farmers markets, hiking in nature, and looking for ways to cultivate kindness. Learn more about Michelle at www.michelleschaub.com