Monday, August 25, 2014

Thinking About the ALS Bucket Challenge of 2014

The ALS bucket challenge is an interesting phenomenon. On the one hand it's a great way to generate interest and money for the cause of caring for the stricken and finding a cure.

Rabbi Yisrael Rice did a little Torah
and then the bucket challenge.
On the other hand it's another good example of how technology allows us to step out of our comfort zone and easily do something we wouldn't normally do online. I think of this as an opportunity to go beyond the selfie still picture and add a video component.

Beyond the celebrity bucket challenges the phenomenon now includes YouTube videos of bucket challenges gone wrong. Recently I viewed an odd "lowlight" reel of people getting clocked on the head by a bucket dump gone bad. I suppose people are drawn to the sideshow that this story has become.

Sadly, four firefighters were badly injured in an electrocution that occurred when two of them went up in a fire truck bucket and got too close to electrical wires with a large cache of water.

It all makes me wonder why people so easily forget the idea of thinking before doing something. As educators we are often teaching our students to think before they print. We ask them to think before they post. Why aren't we listening now?

It's not that I don't agree with the concept of raising money for research and awareness about ALS. I just feel like it's an idea gone too far now.

I do have one favorite video that I think is a good example of a teachable moment. Rabbi Yisrael Rice in Marin County gives a little "drash" of Torah about why the bucket challenge is a good thing because it takes us out of that comfort zone or bubble we all live in each day. Doing this crazy act and posting it online allows us to do something we would never do and that can be liberating as well as helpful to others. I think it's nice that Rabbi Rice turned this into a teachable moment.

For me the whole thing sits very close to home and the fact that one of my best friends, Joe Babin, died of ALS in December 2012. I just don't see the point of all the fun and games.

We know what this disease is all about and what it will take to fix the problem. Why don't we just get down to doing that?

In the meantime I'm going to challenge everyone to use the technology to help us all remember those who were impacted and continue to be impacted by this disease. This will help us personalize the issue and focus on caring for the sick and their caretakers,  and someday with finding the cure.

Let's all do something if we can.

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