The Empty Water Bottle

What comes to mind when you think of an empty water bottle? 

You may be thinking about how you’re suddenly thirsty. Or perhaps you’re thinking about the plastic waste. 

At Wellspring, our Community Involvement trainers use an empty water bottle as an analogy to encourage and empower! In our Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) modules, parents of the local school are empowered to help themselves and their neighbours. Instead of focusing on what is lacking, this approach emphasizes the community’s assets and strengths. 

So, what does this have to do with water bottles? Exactly this: nobody is an empty water bottle because everyone has something to contribute! 

No matter their circumstancefinancial or physical—every person has something they, and only they, bring to the table. This means that even people who may seem to be in need of others’ help have something they can offer, something they can pour back into the community. Every community needs what each person uniquely has to offer.

This is so important within the context of the school community, as ABCD is a sustainable way to encourage parents to use their assets to improve schools, enabling change from within the community. 

But moreso, this analogy is a powerful tool for the building of dignity and worth within people who think that, because of their material or physical circumstances, they have nothing to offer. Instead, the water bottle analogy helps parents realize that they have skills, talents, resources, strengths, connections, and assets that can be used and leveraged for positive change within the school and wider community. It operates from the understanding that each person has gifts, talents, and values that are worthy of contribution to their community. When you realize what you bring to the table, you are excited, encouraged, and empowered to contribute!

We encourage you to think today: what is in your water bottle? What is it that you uniquely possess that can be used to serve your community? Perhaps you are a great woodworker or you can build a website. Maybe you are an amazing cook or you love to write. How can you use these skills to serve your community?

In this time of physical distancing, we encourage you to think creatively about how you can use your unique gifts, assets, and skills to love and serve your families, friends, and communities, as well as our brothers and sisters across the globe, through the challenges that come with this pandemic. You have something that your community needs, and you are uniquely placed to share it! We’re all better off with what you have to offer.