STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Trust and Safety: Who Can Hope to Be Safe?



Joined: 10/31/2011
Posts: 1
emilyr.harris
I’ve grown up in a safety-obsessed society. From baby-proofing supplies to metal detectors to construction regulations, my culture and society is fixated on safety for everyone everywhere. Jodi Rell, a contemporary politician, summed up America’s attitude: “The goals are simple: safety and security.” These goals direct our lives, our worries, and our expectations for our government. America has decided that the government’s purpose “is . . . the general good and safety of the community,” as George Mason said two hundred years ago.

But this premise, that an individual or institution can protect me completely from pain, is wrong. “Who can hope to be safe? who sufficiently cautious? Guard himself as he may, every moment’s an ambush,” wrote Horace. People are unpredictable. So are technological, medical, and natural emergencies. Once, my mother told a friend to visit Yellowstone National Park if she ever could. The friend said, “I can’t go there! It’s on top of a volcano!” My mother went through the regions of the Unites States -- Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, Pacific. “If you live here,” she said, “you get blizzards and ice storms. Here you get hurricanes. Tornados here, earthquakes here, volcanoes here. It’s no greater risk than living where we do.” The incident stuck with me along with the lesson: no matter where I live, what I do, how I try to protect myself, there’s always something beyond my control. It’s even harder to shield someone else, and there is a price: for a sense of safety I sacrifice confidence, creativity, and the greatest experiences of my life or my charge’s life.

In spite of these problems, some argue that every leader has a duty to his followers to pursue safety wholeheartedly. I read a letter to the editor once concerning a racecar driver who died in a crash. The writer said the driver had “no right to purposely endanger his life” because he had a family. She overlooked how many times she “purposely endangers” all her dependents by driving a car, riding a bike in traffic, cooking on a gas stove, boiling water. To make society work, to live, we all “purposely endanger our lives” a hundred times every day and do it cheerfully, because we believe the reward outweighs the slim but ever-present chance that someone will get hurt.

I can try to protect myself, and I can expect my government to pass laws to keep me safe, but in the end “there is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.” But James Thurber’s words should not act as a catalyst for panic or despair but as a spur urging me to broaden my life instead of scrambling to lengthen it. After all, meaning doesn’t come from longevity; it comes from impact, from lives of courage and love, determination and passion. Safety has a place, but saddling authority with the impossible responsibility of protecting me from everything will leave me disillusioned, and looking to safety for purpose will leave my life empty.

Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us:  StageofLife.com is a free blogging and writing community for high school students that allows teens the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Check out our national Teen Trend Reports, and make sure to explore the writing contests for high school students, inspirational videos for teens, statistics about students, quotes about high school, and other resources about High School here on StageofLife.com.  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a teacher - review our Language Arts Teaching Resources.

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests

Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests


2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests





2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests


Stage of Life Mission Statement

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog

StageofLife.com was launched in 2009 as the premier destination for people of all ages to find information, coupons, and stories about one of ten key stage of life transitions:  high school, college, on my own, wedding, married without children, having a baby, home ownership, parenting, grand parenting, and empty nest/retirement.  Nearly 1 million visitors come to the site each year to find information about their stage of life.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can also share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes statistics, quotes, videos, financial tips, coupons, news, writing contests, and more tailored to each of the 10 life stages featured.  My Life Rewards® is the free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy