Keeping Your Cup of Energy Filled: A Key to Using Yourself as Your Own Best Resource


Two weeks ago, as July turned to August, we asked on Facebook: “What are you doing to fill your cup of energy?”  We too are pausing to check the level of our cups. Why?  A more full cup makes it more likely any of us can use ourselves as our own best resource.

Imagine that the setting where you work –a family child care home, classroom, a family’s home or an office – can be replicated to include the same furnishings, material – even the same people.  No matter how exact the duplicate, without you, it would never be the same. 

You - your personality, sense of humor, preferences, your knowledge, skills and the decisions you make –create a setting and interactions that are unique because of your influence.  You are the richest and most important element you bring to your work.  Being aware of what you bring and how to use that knowledge about yourself intentionally is what we mean when we say, “you are your own best resource.”  

When you are feeling fueled and nurtured, it is more likely that you can pause to:

·      Quiet your static, that mental noise we all experience when too many people and situations want to be addressed – NOW! 

This makes it possible for you to:

·      See and appreciate yourself - the strengths, knowledge, preferences, past experiences, skills and questions that you bring to your work and interactions.

This makes it possible for you to:

·      See others more clearly – who they are and what they bring to your interactions.

This makes it possible for you to:

·      Make the best decisions possible about what to say and do to connect and extend learning for the other person and yourself.

This makes it possible to:

·      Top off your cup.  And the cycle continues …….

As the new year begins in programs and schools, we encourage you to keep tabs on the level of energy in your cup.  And to invite colleagues – and families-- to do the same.  You might:

·       Take 5 minutes, in a staff, team or meeting with parents to talk about the “Cup of Energy” handout on the Resource page:    Invite people to think about and talk together about:

o    what fills your cup?

o    depletes your cup?

o    how can we support one another to keep our cups full?

·      Keep a cup or mug on the counter or other shared adult space.  Keep it filled with pretty stones or chocolates or stickers. Small objects that will make people smile.  Invite colleagues and family members to take one when they feel the level in their cups is falling. 

·      Incorporate “cup filler” ideas into your daily interactions with colleagues and family members.  For example, begin meetings by sharing a child’s quote or drawing or story that made you smile.  Share an “I notice” statement and invite others to do the same so that a strength of everyone is articulated.

·      Share some of your cup-filling strategies with others on the Powerful Interactions Facebook page.  It is energizing to know others can benefit from your experience and wisdom.

©  Dombro and Jablon., 2015.  Based on Dombro, Jablon, & Stetson 2012.   Powerful Interactions. How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning. 2011. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC.