During this holiday season of giving, one Cline Elementary third-grader reminds us of how we do not have to be limited to a specific day of the year or spend a single penny to give someone a gift. Alexa Swett shows how kindness can be the greatest gift you can give someone because it is the gift that keeps on giving.
Bucket-filling is a concept Cline Elementary fully embraces as it is a way of symbolizing how showing others love and kindness – “filling their bucket” – can fill the giver’s bucket too. This idea of filling buckets is something young Swett takes very seriously.
“At the beginning of the year, Alexa came to me and told me her goal was bucket-filling. She said she really wanted to find buckets that needed filling, so if I knew of any special cases, to let her know,” Elizabeth Evans, Swett’s teacher, said. “I always know I can count on her to help out when I see another student in need of friendship.”
Swett has helped many classmates and peers this year; some by Evans’ request, some by her own finding.
“She goes out of her way to be kind,” Evans said. “If she sees someone who looks like they’re in need of a friend, she acts on it. Then, she’ll come in the next day with a note or something from home for them.”
Swett said she believes in doing the little things to make a big difference.
“My friend who sits next to me sometimes gets upset about things, so I let her squeeze my hand to calm down,” Alexa said. “I want to show love to others. There’s no reason to be bad; there are only reasons to be good.”
Amongst the many acts of kindness Evans has observed Swett doing are holding her peers’ hands when they get sad/anxious, bringing other students notes of encouragement from home, giving struggling classmates “worry stones” and creating a spot at the lunch table so a Quest student could eat with her class.
“I think she just has a very kind heart and sweet spirit. She’s obviously been raised to look at those outside of herself and do something for them – not for a reward or praise, but because she has something inside of her that makes her want to make others happier,” Evans said. “She wants to share the kindness she has inside of her.”
The kindness she’s shared has already made a difference. Evans said she has witnessed Swett’s actions rubbing off on other students and herself.
“It’s really hard to have a bad day when Alexa comes in,” Evans said. “It’s really hard to be down when someone is constantly smiling and offering kindness. It’s contagious amongst the kids. Some of the kids she’s reached out to have, in turn, done something nice for her or someone else. It’s amazing.”
At just nine years old, Swett has proven to be a role model for children and adults alike.
“People can learn for her spirit of kindness. They can look for someone who is having a bad day or a need, and they can offer a smile or offer a friendship instead of focusing on their own problems,” Evans said. “If we were more like Alexa, we would see what’s going on with other people instead of just focusing on ourselves.”
For Swett, the reasoning behind her acts of kindness is simple.
“Being nice makes people happy which makes your bucket full, and that makes you want to do more good things,” Swett said. “Then, when you need help, they might want to help you too.”
As she moves forward and grows older, Evans said she hopes Swett keeps her giving spirit and continues to spread her kindness.