FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, WOULD YOU KIDS JUST BE NICE TO EACH OTHER?!”
Sara the Bucket Filler is not just a book, it’s a whole new way of thinking…and of teaching your kids
As a teacher, Rivka Fishman watched her students, her friends’ children, and later on her own children sometimes act… not always nice to each other. Around ten years ago, she started to research ways to make kids always be nice to each other. As she began to research existing programs to combat bullying, she realized that the vast majority of what she was seeing was not bullying as much as it was kids being rude and/or mean to other kids perceived as weaker in some way. Bullying or not, it still wasn’t ahavas Yisroel the way she wanted to see it and she assumed that the existing anti-bullying programs would be able to help.
Unfortunately, the “expert”-endorsed anti-bullying programs felt like even less ahavas Yisroel. They involve bully-hunting (and the hunt is for children!), mandated reporting (sounds a lot like tattling, which causes retaliation, and then what, witness protection program?), and requiring kids to stand up to bullies (a noble idea, but how many adults are comfortable with doing that?).
Furthermore, when she spoke to teachers in schools that implemented these types of programs, they admitted that the bullying hadn’t gotten any better, perhaps had even gotten worse, and just created a lot of tattling. She has also been a teacher and a mother long enough to know that there are always at least two sides to every story, so punishing the person who seems to be the aggressor might not even be the right response.
Shortly after that, the principal of Rivka’s school encouraged her to attend a workshop titled “Bully-Proofing Made Easy, by Izzy Kalman.” Feeling intrigued, she attended, got inspired and empowered to implement his ways into her own classroom.
Until her five-year-old daughter got a new kid in her class who made her life miserable. What she learned from Izzy was hard to implement on a child so young. By Hashgacha Pratis she was introduced to the “bucket” concept, which was created by Donald Clifton. The basic idea is that we all have an invisible bucket which carries all of our good thoughts and feelings about ourselves. When our buckets are full we feel happy and when our buckets are empty we feel sad. When we fill other people’s buckets, our own bucket fills up as well.
Except that all the books out there did not directly teach kids to deal with mean people. So, she made up her own story.
“Sara the Bucket Filler”, named after Mrs. Fishman’s own daughter Sara, was created after a result of helping her own daughter overcome the insults and mean comments she was receiving from classmates. She had a story but there was a slight problem. No publisher would publish her book. After a string of Hashgacha Pratis, her book was accepted and published. and sold out completely. They flew off the shelves so fast it was sent for a second printing.
Junior N’Shei and Bais Rivkah Head Start invite the mothers and Morahs of Crown Heights to come hear first hand, from Mrs. Rivka Fishman, how they can empower their children and students to solve social problems independently. As a mother and a teacher, Rivka will teach easy and practical ways to help your children and students stay happy, despite the mean people they will encounter throughout their lives.
This Motzai Shabbos, 2 Kislev-November 10 at Lubavitcher Yeshiva. Doors open at 8:15, program begins at 8:30. Light refreshments will be served.
Special thanks to N’Shei Chabad Newsletter who first introduced “Sara the Bucket Filler” to the frum audience