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The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

About an hour ago, I saw a video posted by one of my daughter’s friends as she poured ice over her head. It seemed to scare her 3 year-old daughter greatly — but she asked  three other people to take up the challenge. Her husband did the same.

Why I don’t get involved in causes I believe in is the question I’ve been asking myself since I read this prompt — I’ve mulled it over all day. The most passionate things I’ve done is to write letters to the editor or articles on issues that I feel strongly about. As regards charity — I have put my money where my mouth is; my husband and I have supported a number of charities, some for all of our earning lives. It’s hard now in retirement to match our tithing to our reduced income, and saying no, or cutting off charities we previously supported.

I’ve never gone on a march, picketed, gone on a walk for a cause, shaved my head, or poured ice myself. Why, I ask myself? Am I lazy, not fully committed, or do I just not believe in efforts like that? I think it’s a mixture of all three, really. There’s also  an over-saturation of being asked to care. However, as a result of this prompt, I’ve just asked to join a walk for the father of a daughter’s friend who died of brain cancer. It will be done for two additional people I know who have died for the same reason. It’s a small group, a team of a dozen or so in the Race for Hope 5K, but my involvement will be with friends and for someone(s) I knew. It’s certainly a cause that doesn’t get as much hype as breast cancer, but has a high death rate.

Every night at dinner I see the Wounded Warriors Project commercial and my heart goes out to those who have suffered so much because of war injuries, and to people who work directly with these men and women trying to regain their lives. I see starving children in far-off countries — and that doesn’t including wandering refugees being pushed from their homelands for fear of horrific deaths. I see requests from hospitals that do marvelous and laudable work, and their success stories with the saddest of cases.

On a personal note I have a dislike of crowds too, so even though I support the annual massive March for Life, I don’t go. The thought of being amidst a throng of almost half a million people from all over the country scares me. Perhaps I would surprise myself and be invigorated by it. (I think, though, the persistent — 40 years — marches have kept abortion a topic to be reckoned with in the political forum.

My philosophy is that doing things on a personal scale — raising your kids and grandkids well (and that takes time and work), helping out personally in an activity you know will benefit someone in your church or community, just plain treating others with respect and kindness and being aware of them — how they feel “today” and what they might need emotionally: all of these things are important. So much is out of our control these days that our range of true influence is limited. But there are always people around us whose lives we can affect positively — perhaps with no recognition or accolades, but in ways that matter.