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Friday, August 29, 2014

Being Thankful

Today I’m thankful for the end of the Facebook Thankful Challenge. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but between the Ice-Bucket challenge and this new challenge to list three things for three days, I’m getting the vibe that people might be overwhelmed. (I certainly am.)
     Let me be clear: this blog hop (which is Celebrate Small Things for those wanting to join us) is lovely. It’s just the right amount of thankfulness, thank you very much. A weekly inventorying of tiny triumphs is far more appealing to me than listing huge, far-reaching things (like family relationships and trips). As an added bonus, most of the participants are writers, so the celebrations usually deal with things that only writers can appreciate. Like adding a paragraph to your book. Or sending out a query. (Most everyone else would read that on a list and think: WTF? Seriously, that’s what this person is thankful for?) They’d shake their heads in pity as they scroll away.
      Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing what inspires gratitude in friends and family. Still, I find the facebook version to be somewhat skewed. When you know all the responses are going to be viewed by EVERYONE, your answers tend to change. They’re filtered through your impressions about what everyone else will think. For instance, I probably won’t be posting that I’m thankful my daughter practiced her bells on our deck today to get back at my obnoxious neighbor who starts his riding tractor up at 8 a.m and cuts his grass every three days. I'll put up a good front and be thankful about the things normal people are thankful for.
    See, I’ve been thinking a lot about the mentally ill in our nation (still can’t get over Robin Williams’ death. Click here to find out about a cool thing he used to do to help the homeless), and it worries me that so many people in crisis might be bombarded with everyone else’s huge triumphs while they are at their most vulnerable. I believe a lot of depressed individuals turn to facebook for support. This might be okay on a normal basis, but when the Thankful Challenge is going on, probably not so much. Anyway, I participated in the Thankful Challenge because my friend asked me to, but I will not nominate anyone else. The buck stops here. (Um, no it actually doesn't because the chain proceeds, with or without me.)
     The same goes for the Ice Bucket challenge. An interesting note about the Ben Affleck one (above) is that he and Jennifer Garner have been in suburban Detroit all summer. They've been spotted everywhere--at restaurants and traffic lights--and have been gracious to all Detroiters. Thus the tee-shirt. The "kid laughter" in the background makes this worth a watch.
     My advice for future social networking fundraising campaigns? (Because you know they’re coming!) By all means, take the opportunity to learn about the illness or issue, but don’t ever feel obligated to participate in them unless you want to. These campaigns are geared toward celebrities and the extremely wealthy who can, and should, help out. Donate money—or time, if you can’t spare the money—to the charity of your choice in private and whenever you feel it’s appropriate. And click the link below to join this blog hop hosted by Vik Lit (Scribblings of an Aspiring Author) and co-hosted by Diana WilderLG Keltner @ Writing Off the EdgeKatie @ TheCyborg Mom, and CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse  for just the perfect amount of thankfulness.


  1. That was the best bucket challenge I've seen yet. Thanks. Have a nice weekend!!

  2. I try to keep my plate only half full. You're right about too many challenges being overwhelming. So I keep it small. Getting my stories are more important.

    Nice post about mental illness.