By Beth Besen
Safe zone. Safety-sealed. Safe place. Better safe than sorry. Safe and sound. Have a safe trip. To be on the safe side. Safe at home! These are just a few of the phrases we blithely scatter in conversation with regards to keeping ourselves and our loved ones out of harm’s way. We use them as heartfelt good wishes, but usually without any real expectation that anything will go awry.
What if such weren’t the case? What if we literally had to hold our breath until we heard that loved ones had arrived somewhere “safe and sound”? Such is the unfortunate reality that confronts too many people in too many places in today’s world. I shudder when reading and listening to headline news, and give thanks for my many freedoms and my safety. And so, as I sit staring at my laptop, hoping to find the perfect turn of phrase that will provoke thought and discussion about this topic, I realize that my blank screen and quiet home office speak volumes. Outside, the summer birds chirp and the bees buzz; inside, my fan hums and my dear old dog snores softly nearby. My children are squared away with local summer jobs, my husband is ever-hopeful he’ll be home in time for a round of late golf. Are there complaints? Of course there are. We worry about the weather and gripe our way through the hassles of everyday living. From traffic and train delays to cancelled appointments and interrupted vacations, curve balls inevitably come our way. But we recognize, even as we kvetch and moan, that these are “first-world” problems.
And yet! And yet even in our first world “Chappaqua Bubble,” all curve balls are not created equal… Some of us have suffered rural paradise losses when beloved pets succumbed to wild animals. Others have felt the sting of an unexpected anti-Semitic slur. Though many of us move here for the renowned Chappaqua schools, sometimes the fit is far from ideal and our kids become a target for bullies. And, speaking of kids, what about the serious consequences and ramifications regarding underage drinking? One could argue that, while this is an ongoing cross-demographics issue, it is nonetheless made worse in our suburban car-culture. Add to that the undisputed uptick in distracted driving (by adults and kids alike) and our roads are, without a doubt, more dangerous than ever.
These topics, and a variety of other safety concerns and well-being articles, are the focus of this issue. I hope they give you pause. I hope they spark a conversation between family and friends. I hope they both inspire you to be more aware, and also give you a few new tools to reassure your family’s comfort and safety.