Filled up at home

Object Lesson

One daughter recalls that her father demonstrated how children can fill each other’s needs within the family. “One time [dad] brought two buckets into the family room–one filled with water, one empty. Then he had each of us think of something that made us upset or frustrated or discouraged that day. For each thing we named, he took a cup of water out of the full bucket. Then he told us that we are like that bucket, and when things happen during the day that disturb us, a cup of self-esteem is taken out. Gradually we get closer and closer to … the bottom [until the bucket is completely empty]. Then he turned to the other bucket. He asked us for suggestions on how we could help a person whose bucket was empty to fill it up again. With each suggestion, he had us step up and dip a cup of water back into the empty bucket. Then dad concluded that home is the place where we come to get our buckets filled, and that we should watch for and be sensitive to others, because we are responsible for helping to fill our brothers’ and sisters’ needs.” (Eric G. Stephan and Judith Stephan Smith, What Happy Families Are Doing [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], pp. 57-58).

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