Thursday, 2 May 2013

Do You Walk The Walk Or Catch The Train?

This is kind of inspired by, or at least related to, a couple of comments I've made about the Live Below The Line week that lots of people are doing this week. It doesn't matter to me whether people do or don't do this challenge, raising money for charity is generally a good thing and fair play to people who wish to raise money for a charity they feel strongly about. I'm not in any way saying this isn't a good thing or that people shouldn't take part in these popular ways to raise money.

This is my thing - something that people feel strongly about. My issue is with those little "share this if you shake you fist at Mr. Cancer" things on facebook, ribbons and especially "awareness weeks" - I mean who isn't aware of cancer? If actions have no long term effect on the person doing the thing then aren't they meaningless (other than cash donated to a charity)? It's fine and easy and lovely to do something very visible, when sharing shows you care or when people can see you're getting sponsorship. But what about when no-one's watching? Why wait until this week to Live Below The Line? Why not do it next week or in August, or once a month? Maybe because part of the thing is that people know about it and it's a social thing... I don't know. Is it because we all kind of want to have something to care about but sometimes don't know what it is so these weeks are something to hold on to. Or just because we are, or at least want to appear to be, nice people who do nice things. 

It's like donating things to a charity shop, it makes us feel good to think that the stuff will raise money but we feel equally good, if not better, about the fact that the stuff is out of our house and someone else can deal with it. Sometimes it doesn't even matter what the charity is, as long as it's gone. When it's out of sight, it's easy for it to be out of mind. 

I think what I'm trying to say is that an if an issue impacts a person's life then surely it must alter how they shop, give, act, make decisions and see the world all the time. If it doesn't do that then how can someone really have embraced that as their cause to believe in? Or do I just take things too far?

To people who raise money for things during this type of week, whether it be living below the line or not, what happens afterwards? Does it lead to something more or is it just for this week? Does it really change you as a person to have lived your usual life but just with a bit less food? Or was life different in some way? Are you fundamentally changed by something like this or are you a charity jumper,might it be food this week, blankets for cats next week etc? Genuine questions. I'm interested, not cross. 


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