The ice bucket challenge: a matter of perspective

If you use social media, you have probably noticed an interesting trend lately. In response to challenges from other friends, hundreds, or thousands, of people around the nation are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research.

Bravo!

As a PR person, I applaud the concept. The movement has gone viral—meaning it has taken on a life of its own through social media. According to Forbes, the campaign has raised more than $100 million for ALS research. According to the article, the effort was successful because it brought awareness to a worthy cause in a way that was perceived as fun and accessible.

Several friends on Facebook and Twitter commented that they were tired of seeing people in their news feed posting videos of themselves getting doused with buckets of water. It didn’t bother me at all. I’d much rather see friends enjoying themselves for a good cause than have my feed flooded with poorly spelled and ill-informed political memes. I find the results of the ALS campaign inspiring and I will make them a part of my monthly giving this month through the Kevin Turner Foundation.

However, I want to add a bit of perspective to the conversation. The ALS ice bucket challenge raised a lot of money for ALS research because it was fun but also because people followed up on their fun bucket dumping with actual donations. You cannot pay for research with ice water. The important part of the challenge was the resulting donation that came from the awareness.

Again, I say, bravo!

We are a wealthy nation. Perhaps, we are the wealthiest nation ever to exist. You might not think so if you are one of those inclined to post memes about your own lack or what other people have that you don’t. I wrote a post a while back on jealousy, envy and covetousness if you want to take a look. While you are at it, here’s one on abundance from a parable study I was blessed to lead.

Giving is fun. I count giving among my greatest joys in life. It saddens me when I hear people comment that they “cannot afford to give.”

Quit rolling around in your lack mentality! You are not poor and you CAN give. It’s a matter of perspective. Here’s some facts for you from the Remember the Poor website:

  • If you made $1500 last year, you’re in the top 20% of the world’s income earners.
  • If you have sufficient food, decent clothes, live in a house or apartment, and have a reasonably reliable means of transportation, you are among the top 15% of the world’s wealthy.
  • If you earn $25,000 or more annually, you are in the top 10% of the world’s income-earners.
  • If you earn more than $50,000 annually, you are in the top 1% of the world’s income earners.

If you are reading this (not that anyone does), you are probably in the top 10% of earners in the world. Chances are good that you, like me, are in the top 1% in the world. There are nearly 7 billion people in the world right now. You have risen to the top of the pile. With each blessing comes an opportunity.

I know it sometimes doesn’t feel like you have enough. I know you may feel overwhelmed with debt, bills, and demands on your income but you ARE blessed. Don’t let the world tell you that you can’t afford to give or that it is your neighbor’s responsibility to give. Don’t let some politician coerce you into a vote based on fear, greed or covetous views.

Giving is a personal choice. It is not the responsibility of government to give. Political parties are not benevolent organizations. It is not up to your neighbor to give. Jesus never said to steal from your neighbor to feed the poor. He said for YOU to feed them. The viral videos will end soon. Keep funding ALS if it speaks to you. There are hundreds of worthy causes out there as well. It’s important that you find a cause you can support.

Right now in our own towns and around the world, there are people looking for a chance to start a new life. There are people in the other 99% who do not know where they will sleep tonight. They may not know where they will find clean water to drink or where their next meal is coming from. In some parts of the world, there are families living in landfills whose only source of income and sustenance comes from scavenging through the trash of others.

Still think your life is crap? Where did you get that idea?

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, find a cause you believe in and support it with your gifts of time, money and advocacy. Share your blessings. You do not have lack. I have provided links to several organizations throughout the article. If you see one that you wish to support, do so. If something else appeals to your heart, support it instead.

You ARE wealth.

***

If you have a non-political charity you support regularly, post a link below. You never know when you might inspire someone else to give.


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