Big Bucket, Big Sky

Today I'm feeling blessed beyond words, in part because of the best Bucket Filling interaction ever that happened last week, between one of our new third graders and me. He stopped by the window sill where I sit every morning {with my ukulele, surrounded by my band of musical friends} and said, 
"Hey, you're getting pretty good at that!"  

I responded with, "Wow, thanks. That compliment overflows my bucket!" and, without missing a beat, he pulled what appeared to be an imaginary bucket from his pocket and replied, "Here's a bigger bucket for you." 
Perfect timing, too, because I needed that bigger bucket 
under the big sky in Montana this week!

So before I get to the point of today's post, 
let me share a few character cam shots of the breathtaking beauty.

The fog blankets the terrain as we head into
Custer National Forest,

the birds flit from pillar to post, 

and a red fox camouflages against the rocky road. 

We crossed over into Wyoming at some point;

and the picturesque scenery gave me pause.

Fall foliage peeking through ...

paints a colorful canvas along the Creek in Red Lodge.

Did I mention that my bucket is overflowing with peace, hope & joy?

And the restorative road trip wasn't even the best part.

Meet Tanya, Julie & Jeri, my three new friends from Billings Public Schools.

If you've been a visitor at the Corner for awhile, you already know Tanya from her guest posts about Empathy in a (Shoe) Box, Being Wendy, Fr(I) Statements and Vision Boards. Well, she got the idea that she'd like for me to come to her district to do some training, so this determined Montana Counselor of the Year wrote a grant last Fall and, voila, in March I got an email from her, asking me to pack my bags. We set my visit for September 22nd, Character Day 2016,
 and what a day of character development it was. 

I started the morning singing, dancing, laughing and building character with about thirty counselors, principals and administrators, then spent the afternoon doing much of the same with the combined faculties of Highland Elementary and Boulder Elementary. On Thursday night, I got to hang out with about fifty new friends at Family Character Night.

We sang together.

We read Flight School by Lita Judge.

And we talked about the power of that one little word: YET.

As I flashed up this picture from my friend Kristina, whose fifth grade teachers at Whitcomb Elementary made this visual display with the students' SMART goals for the year, I asked the children to share out loud something they can't do or haven't done yet so that we, as a group, could encourage them to keep on growing by chanting the word YET. Engagement and emotion grew as our growth-mindset Padawans shared their authentic answers:

I can't dance ... YET.
I can't bake a cake ... YET.
I can't play the ukulele ... YET.
I haven't found a friend ... YET.

Tears came when the Principal at Boulder Elementary sent me this note and explained that first thing next morning, one of those Padawans was waiting at her door, to share this thank-you treasure:

And, because of your note, Brady, and these kind comments
from workshop participants ~

This is how Professional Development is supposed to be.
I could have listened to you all day.
Just the shot of inspiration I needed.
I loved everything you had to say.
It was very good and really opened my own mind-set.
I learned so much; what a great presentation.

~ my bucket continues to overflow
bigger than Montana's big blue sky.

And the rainbow on the way home, a promise ...

that one day my plans (and a plane) would take me back in that direction.

Thank you, Tanya and Billings Education Foundation, for giving me this 
once-in-a-lifetime, picture-perfect opportunity.

1 comment

  1. It was such a pleasure to have you here! Your enthusiasm for character education is contagious and I'm glad we got to benefit from your energy, passion and knowledge in Billings! Thank you for being a wonderful friend and valued colleague. I hope that the future holds another Montana visit!


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