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" Those memories came to mind on the Friday afternoon that the reached us There is no safety anywhere: Beyond our love and embraces we can guarantee our children so little Things that in my own childhood would have been unimaginable have become a nearly routine part of our civic lives Gun violence erupts and we engage in our now too-familiar rituals of collective and private mourning and grief along with our assurances that truly now we will actChildren suffer the world over when adults fail to act They succumb to diseases that can be treated or prevented They are victims of war and civil unrest of our failures to negotiate peace in the Middle East or to fight hunger in our own nationThey bear witness to atrocities They know despite our assurances how little we can do in the end really to keep them safeWhen Im afraid I turn to something Helen Keller wrote and I take comfort there "Security is mostly a superstition" "It does not exist in nature nor do the children of men as a whole experience it Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"I want my son now 11 to engage in that daring adventure All children should have opportunity joy time Illusory or not they should feel safe in this world especially in the institutions we design and manage for them I am grateful every day for the mostly women who create a safe place where my son learns and grows and I am heartbroken for the Newtown Conn, Colo. about my futile efforts to protect my son from that news and my realization that I could shield him from so little In the wake of Newtown I have talked to him about gun violence and mental illness about the adults who guard and protect him and about the insecurities that abound in our lives The night after the shootings I led a community vigil and two of my children stood with me in the growing cold and dark trying to find warmth and comfort in community Monday morning my son wore white and blue to school: We had heard these are the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School (though it turns out they are actually green and white) and our children are trying to show their solidarity with those children a Bethesda company that provides technology for the wedding industry 33percent of engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years Day Families are together sparkly lights abound and people are in the mood to unwrap things And if a guys gonna pop the question eventually he might as well use the opportunity to avoid shopping for a holiday gift and kill two birds with ahem one stone Plenty of Web sites offer ideas on executing the perfect holiday proposal: Play Santa Hang it on an ornament Spell it out in lights on your roof And of course the jewelers of America have done their part to reinforce the expectation of a diamond ring under the Christmas tree In the past month message boards lit up with postings by young women speculating on whether theyll get engaged over the holidays "My [significant other] told me on new years eve that I would be engaged this year" one woman who goes by the user name kribbie wrote on PriceScope an online diamond buying guide "Well since there are only a few days left til new years 2012 Im hoping he keeps his promise""Every year I despise the holidays more and more" bemoans another who calls herself sweetpepsigirl "The commercials make it hard too Its like they KNOW I want a ring for Christmas"Never mind that shes been in a relationship for only six months and "definitely knows there isnt a ring in my immediate future *sigh*"Still she benevolently sprinkles digital fairy dust on the other would-be brides typing "********dust*******" to bid them good luck with their proposal wishes And when those diamond dreams come true the newly engaged wont bask in the rings glow for long before cranking up the nuptial machinery Naturally the wedding industry will be at the ready It didnt become a $70billion business because its purveyors spend a lot of time sitting on their heels after all Bride Magazines January edition which sold 250 ad pages this year compared with the 40 or so ad pages most womens magazines will have for the month is always its best-selling issue Big-name dress designers parade through bridal salons for trunk shows while retailers that offer wedding registries are already planning events for newly engaged couples to check out the goods The Machiavellian and unspoken reason for striking that army is that the civil war may be good for us and prolonging it in our interests just as the Iran Iraq war did. especially since ití»s looking like Obama will make the decision to strike minus much input from Congress. November and December, 33,Somehow, Teju Cole (@tejucole) And a flood of refugees from Greenwich and Lewisham pouring into St Malo would be Ban Ki-moon's nightmare. 4.