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Alternate Activity 3: Filling Your Bucket

Alternate Activity 3: Filling Your Bucket
Alternate Activity 3: Filling Your Bucket

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Copies of Handout 1: Filling Your Bucket (one per participant)
  • Pens or pencils
  • Tables or hard surfaces for writing
  • Optional: Self-adhesive colored dots (at least 50 per participant)

Preparation for Activity

  • Set up tables, or find books or other hard surfaces for writing.

Description of Activity

Distribute Handout 1, Filling Your Bucket, and self-adhesive colored dots. Explain:

The buckets on the handout represent commitments made to oneself, to one's partner, to one's children (if any), and to the greater world. These commitments can range from major ones such as "to love, honor, and cherish," to smaller ones such as "eat organic foods." Here are some examples:

My Personal Bucket (things I do for myself): Exercise, read for pleasure, get enough sleep

My Partner Bucket (things I do for my partner): Listen to his/her feelings, do the dishes, be faithful physically and emotionally

My Child Bucket (things I do for my children, if any): Provide food and shelter, nurture their education

My Greater World Bucket (things I do for the community or world): Do social justice work, vote, use fuel-efficient vehicles

Ask participants to write words and short phrases in the appropriate buckets to represent the different types of commitments they have made. Or, if you are using colored dots, participants will write the words or phrases on the dots and place them on the buckets.

Once the majority of the participants are done writing or placing their dots, invite participants to objectively examine the chart they have created for themselves. Ask:

  • Do you have a relatively equal balance of commitments, or does one bucket significantly outweigh others?
  • Were you surprised to see how many commitments you have actually made?


Ideally, we would achieve a rough balance between the types of commitments we make. If we promise ourselves too little, we risk feeling neglected. If we focus too much on a partner's happiness and neglect our own, we may eventually feel cheated.

Ask participants to reflect on any patterns they observe in their bucket charts. If they are missing a sense of balance, encourage them to carefully monitor their time and values to see if change is necessary.

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