Ice Bucket Challenged

ice-bucket-challengeI’m no epidemiologist, but as viral as it’s become, I knew it only was a matter of time before I contracted the Ice Bucket Challenge.

And I must confess, the approach of even such a healthy epidemic left me feeling uneasy. As conventional as I may sometimes appear, at my very core lies firmly rooted a stubborn contrarianism. As surely as if psychology were physics, the more people who are doing something—and the more pressure there is for others to join them—the more resistance I feel.

While I don’t want to isolate myself from society, I don’t trust the crowd. While, as a nonprofit promoter, I admire the effectiveness of this campaign, I wonder about all the other worthy causes out there. What about those who are already doing and giving all they can, or who prefer different forms of doing and giving?

Far be it from me, though, to rain on good fun or a good cause. Fortunately, my stubbornness is offset by an equal-opportunity skepticism of my own beliefs, as well as curiosity, openness and, I hope, some measure of human decency. Thus, in keeping with another of my patterns, I decided to participate but in my own way, bending the rules even as I joined the conversation.

I didn’t complete this in 24 hours (I haven’t completed it yet, even), no ice or water was involved, and there will be no video. None of my friends will receive a public call-out from me. Instead, I am counting a recent donation to a sibling’s MS150 bike ride as my monetary gift. For a more personal touch, I’m following a mutual friend’s example and sending something to someone I knew in high school who has Huntington’s Disease.

I’m all for thoughtfulness and the power of example: yet instead of focusing on trendy challenges, I’d like to see more everyday acts of kindness and generosity. Let’s strive for doing good as a general orientation, not simply the sort of gesture you might see at the end of a football game.

Come on, I dare you.


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