2006 — 8th Grade 4th Place

Erik Johnson, Minnesota

Fear or hope, which is the more powerful emotion? The first answer that I came up with is fear because it can paralyze you and leave you helpless. Upon further thinking, however, I would say hope is the more powerful emotion, because hope can move you past that fear and keep your life moving forward.

Fear is almost everywhere. When you look at a newspaper, watch a television or even listen to a radio you learn of death, explosions, terrorists, and racial tension. But even with all of this fear in our world, people still have hope for a better future. Take Martin Luther King Jr. for example. He had hope that "children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." If he had succumbed to fear and stayed silent, this country would be very different than it is today.

The definition of "hope" in the dictionary is "to look forward with desire and usually with a measure of confidence in the likelihood of gaining what is desired." I believe that this is only one aspect of HOPE. To me, hope is more of a feeling, a metaphorical lifesaver that stops you from drowning in fear.

Life is like a river; it begins somewhere and eventually runs down to the ocean. In this metaphorical river, fear is like the rapids: short, high-energy periods of stress. Hope, however, is like the steady current, the thing that keeps your life moving. "Rapids" shake things up a bit, but if there is a "current", the river will just move past them. Without a current, you wouldn't even have a river.

I won't say that fear isn't strong, but I think hope is definitely the stronger emotion because it allows you to go past the rapids of fear and progress steadily down the river of life.

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