WE are just one week into November and already the Gold Coast is filled with myriad moustaches all perched above a sly grin that says ‘that’s right; it’s for charity so you have to like it.’
Well I am sorry, but I don’t like it.
There just seems something fundamentally wrong about it, doesn’t there?
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Call me old-fashioned, call me idealistic even, but when did the word charity become synonymous with getting something in return?
When did we go from simply being charitable for the sake of it to revelling in the sentence ‘it’s FOR charity’?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure that marketing gimmicks such as ‘Mo’vember’ do plenty of good in raising both funds and awareness.
But isn’t it just a bit sad that it has come to that?
Look at ALS / Motor Neurone Disease and the recent social phenomenon that was the ‘ice bucket challenge’.
Why is posting on facebook ‘I donated $100 to MND’ not as cool as posting a video of yourself wasting drinking water and then nominating other friends to do the same?
Why is it seen as brave or charitable to ask for money off others to endure physical discomfort or social awkwardness?
Why not simply give actual money, time or goods to a charity like Beyond Blue, The Cancer Council of Australia or the Red Cross?
What’s next? The ‘Sculling 5L of Pepsi for Diabetes challenge?
Maybe it starts in school, where we reward the kids who bring in a gold coin donation by allowing them to wear regular clothes that day, reinforcing the notion that if one gives then one gets back – or worse, one must get back something before one gives.
You should give because you can and you want to – not because you will get attention/kudos/laughs or even boos.
Charity is not all about you – it is all about what you give. In fact, telling people you have given or remotely celebrating that fact publicly is the exact opposite of charity.
Charities exist because at our core we are fundamentally kind.
Muddying the waters of what it means to ‘give’ with gimmicks and challenges is basically conceding that we are all self-centred, heartless scrooges who only get out of bed if there is something in it for us.
I think we are intelligent and compassionate enough to be introduced from school age to the notion that it is a good thing to simply give without thought of reward.
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