Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Ice Buckets

I really thought I was going to make it through this ice bucket challenge without being called out on social media to partake.

But, it happened.

All I had to see was "ALS" and then my name, and I let out an audible, "Noooooo."

Kristina Warford is my friend, my MK teammate, a stellar photographer, and David's cousin. This girl is amazing. And when she nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, she rocked the selfishness right out of me.

Kristina's post: Erin Warford called me out for the ALS ice bucket challenge... I'm going to go against the grain. I believe we each have a disease in mind that hits closer to home. With that being said, I have decided to donate instead of dumping the water on my head. However, my money will go to the Alzheimer's Association in honor of my grandpa. I call out _____, ______, and Lindsay Warford to do the ice bucket challenge or donate in order to support a cause they believe in!!

How did this translate through the Lindsay-Filter: Get over yourself.

To be honest, I've had mixed feelings about the whole thing. At times I thought it was awesome and genius and a funny way to raise a lot of money. And at other times I thought, "These people don't get it. Do they even know what ALS is? Do they know what their dollars are actually going to be used for?"

I would argue that the vast majority of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the last couple of weeks did it primarily because they got to be a part of this social phenomenon. When you see little children dumping ice water on themselves (or on their parents), do you think they're doing it because they care about raising money for ALS? Some of them, yes, because their parents explained the situation to them. But a lot of them, no. They just thought it was fun. They wanted to be filmed with their parent's iPhone and posted to Facebook, too, just like everyone else. They wanted to be a part of it.

And you know, I think it's awesome that people are getting excited about a cause that wasn't getting enough attention and that they're doing something to be a part of changing that.

I get like that too every now and then. I walked the streets of downtown Atlanta and slept in the middle of GA Tech's campus to raise awareness for child slaves in Uganda. I didn't know EVERYthing about their situation or the organization that I was raising awareness with, but I was excited, and so were a bunch of other young adults. Sure, there were plenty of people who slept on the quad and on other college quad's whose hearts weren't moved by these children's plight. They just wanted to be a part of this crazy thing we were doing. But that was ok. They were still excited. And, because we were excited and did this strange thing that drew a lot of national attention, stuff started happening in Washington that made a difference for those kids in Uganda.

In a month, there will not be any more Ice Bucket Challenge videos on your newsfeed. And because of all the attention it got, maybe the money that's been raised these past couple weeks will be what makes a difference for ALS. Maybe these little kids will say when they're a little bit older, "Yeah, that ALS thing, we were a part of finding the cure for that!" Even though they didn't really understand it at the time.

You might get excited about running a marathon because you're a runner, but the fact that you'll also be contributing to finding a cure for breast cancer is really more on the back burner.

That's ok. You're getting excited about something, and you're using your excitement to make a difference. That's what we call "channeling."

But, I have to ask the question... Should it take being called out on social media to get us off our couches and opening our wallets?

Maybe we should just be good stewards of our resources on a regular basis without all of the extra attention.

There are so many causes that are dear to my heart.... Veterans and active military with PTSD, human trafficking, cancer, orphans, habit recovery programs...

What about you? Maybe it's animals, or access to clean water, or education. You've got something that stirs your heart. Is it going to take being called out on social media to get you to be a part of doing something about it?

Take a little friendly nudge from me and get over yourself.

I did.

*In response to Kristina's challenge, I am choosing to make a donation to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation in honor of Samantha and Lauren Fisk, Rick Newby, and our little neighbor Taylor, each of whom has lost a parent to pancreatic cancer during the last two years.