Who knew that dumping a bucket of ice water over your head in the name of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would become a favorite American pastime?
My Facebook page has been inundated with friends paying forward ALS challenges. I have heard the chilly screams of just about everyone I know, voluntarily drench themselves with icy water.
I am not sure if we are creating a country of masochists, but I kind of like it.
People who normally refrain from such shenanigans, seem almost eager to partake. Even young children who are not old enough to know what USA stands for much less ALS are participating in the phenomenon, leaving me to wonder if their generation will believe pouring cold liquid over their heads is just something we Americans do.
It fascinates me that in a country that often seems so divided by politics, religion and social issues; we unite in this effort to raise money and awareness for ALS. As buckets of ice water are filled around the country, there is this collective energy and enthusiasm for doing something good.
That is what this country is about – goodness.
I think sometimes in all our bickering, we forget that. We forget to be united and we forget the power we have to implement change when we work together and pitch in.
We are often so divisive, defensive, and disdainful of opinions or beliefs that stray from our own. Intolerance is something we justify with the million reasons that support our own point of view.
Yet, somehow when it comes to dumping ice water on our heads to raise money and awareness for a devastating disease – we plunge right in.
There are thousands of worthy causes out there. All of which have real people, fellow Americans, who are in desperate need of services, of a cure, of a safe place to sleep at night.
These are people who are in need right now and who will still be in need when our heads have dried and we have ice in our freezer again.
ALS is a devastating disease and I am hopeful that the awareness it has received through this social media campaign will bring us closer to a cure.
But I hope too that it brings us closer as a country – more aware not just of the suffering of a particular disease, but aware of the impact we can have when we unite.
So in the spirit of good ol’ Uncle Sam, the spirit that is America, I WANT YOU to do something kind for someone in need. Pay forward a blessing you have in your life. Listen a little more. Talk a little less. Slow down. Notice. Donate. Volunteer.
Remember your fellow American. Ask not what he can do for you, but what you can do for him.
Be a patriot and make our country a little kinder. No ice water required.