By Emily Evert, NDFB Assistant Corporate Secretary
We’ve all heard the phrase, “it takes a village” to raise a child and in today’s world I think it is truer than ever. We have two kids, one year apart, so when I say we are busy I mean our days and nights are filled with sports, activities, and friends – times two. We have an app to manage everyone’s schedules, a nanny that does school pick-up, early activities, playdates, dog walks, and errands, plus we have a housekeeper. Our kids are constantly on the move going to different places and meeting new kids and families. We truly have a crazy but beautiful life but, it takes a village.
I found myself thinking about my family the other day and I felt genuinely content. The feeling comes from the foundation we have built with our village which has grown into our community. The teachers, coaches and mentors in our community help us in ways just as our village does. They are there for our kids when we can’t be. They are mediators, nurses, detectives, counselors plus so much more.
Our family went with a couple other families to Red Lodge, Montana for our annual ski trip this year. On our second day there we were sitting down for lunch and our oldest became hysterical. She started crying so hard she could barely catch her breath and fell to the ground. My husband picked her up and we ran towards ski patrol (I imagine what other people were thinking as they saw a 6’ 6” former offensive lineman hurling towards them in ski boots.) This is her story to tell, should she decide to one day, but we both accompanied her. In all the panic, we left our youngest at the lunch table. Seriously, not only is my mom heart torn right now but it was in pieces after realizing this. Thankfully our friends were with us at the time our oldest become sick. Thinking back, I realized I probably didn’t think twice about it because those friends are like family to us, and I knew she would be well taken care of. Another piece to our village which you don’t realize until something happens.
Everyone in our lives who help us and our kids does a lot. Some do it out of kindness and love, some it is their job and others are volunteers, and I will say this – if you are or have ever been a hockey coach, God bless you. But after realizing how much everyone does, I asked myself when the last time was that I filled their bucket. If you don’t know what that means it is a term used to encourage positive attitude and behavior to fill someone else’s bucket. We use it a lot at home and our kids will talk about having their “buckets filled” when they are happy or having an “empty bucket” when they are sad. It is a great way to discuss mental health at an appropriate level with young kids as it deals with emotions and feelings.
It was clear that they were all filling my bucket as I felt genuinely content and my kids are well taken care of, but I knew I needed do a better job of filling their buckets. I had a short discussion with our kids about bucket filling again and we decided to grab each of their teachers a coffee on the way to school. The next morning, we grabbed coffee on our way to school and later that evening my youngest told me her teacher didn’t have time to stop before school that day and was SO happy that she brought her a coffee. As adults, I think we can all relate to receiving something in a time of need, whether something simple as coffee or something much bigger.
So, remember to take a step back and fill a bucket today. Some people have nothing in their buckets and all it takes is for one person to change that.
Editor’s note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If your bucket is empty and you need, help, please reach out to:
FirstLink Help Line, call 2-1-1
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (available 24 hours/day), 800-273-8255