Is it safe?
One thing I noticed when I arrived in Toronto was that Canadians are extremely concerned about safety. A saying is often bandied about, “Safety First”, by the people I have come into contact with since my arrival in this city.
But is it always a good thing to be overly cautious about safety?
I remember when my girls were younger and lifting my eyebrows at some of the parents’ reactions to their kids playing in the playground. I come from a country where children get dirty and play in the sand and mud. If they get worms, we treat it. I come from a country where children can run, and climb, and experience the play structures. If they break an arm, we take them to the hospital. I used to shake my head at the moms who used to hover over their children while I was watching mine. “Let them breathe,” I used to think. “Let them be.”
Surely it is not always good to be so cautious.
The extreme concern for safety leads to, I believe, missing out on some experiences. Yes, be aware of danger and put into place options that will prevent harm. But foregoing an experience will hinder living life to the full. It is through experiencing life that we get to know who we are, what we enjoy doing, and what we are good at.
There are times when answering the question “Is it safe?” does help you make a decision that will prevent harm (for example: driving with a drunk driver, walking on slippery roads, eating old food). But there are times when you need to trust that the people in charge of a project know what they are doing and have put constraints into place that will prevent harm (for example: bungee jumping, construction at your workplace, a food display at the supermarket).
Is it safe? Not always, but most times. So take that leap of faith.
Do safety concerns prevent you from doing an activity?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017