I hate to bring it up but it feels like fall outside...
Maybe not completely, but that crisp, cool air is slowly creeping into the Valley, reminding us that summer is coming to a close and fall is fast on its heels.
Stores are already chalked full of back to school basics and if you can believe it or not, even snow suits have hit the shelves.
They seem to appear earlier and earlier every year.
I think about all of the 'kids' heading back to school, and I remember being excited for new jeans and a pair of shoes, yet concerned about fitting in, getting good grades and who my locker would be next to.
It has been years since I set foot in a school.
I can't say I miss it.
But I think about it a lot these days because I know one day I will have to send my children off to the classroom and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Of course as a parent I want my children to have as many experiences as possible — field trips, meeting new friends, learning about biodomes (not the Pauly Shore movie) and how they can change the trajectory of a life every day.
I want them to learn about work ethic and to feel that sense of pride when they complete a project they worked so hard on. And yet, I want them to understand that not all successes are measured by letter grades and percentiles.
But amongst the budding friendships, gold stars and school dances, there is a dark side of school – one where not everyone gets out alive.
That is the side I NEVER want my children to see.
Pick up any paper, or read any news site these days and you will recognize words such as: fentanyl, cyberbullying, eating disorders and suicide.
Just these very words cause the hair to stand up on the back of my neck, my stomach to drop and my palms to sweat.
Because I don’t know HOW to best protect my children. Or if I will be able to protect them if and when the time comes.
I just want to be prepared.
Then I start seriously considering home schooling…
But to all the students heading back to school, use the time you have to take advantage of the opportunities available, the instructors who inspire you and forge friendships that are real and meaningful.
Try not to engage in 'pack' mentaliity (unless it is for good) and try to find a love for math (that was a hard one for me).
Connect with your parents, friends, family, etc., and let them know what is going on in your life. We were all teenagers once and most of us know all to well what the pressures of fitting in can feel like.
And for those of you who can't stand being in the classroom, feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, or feel lost in the shuffle, don't worry, it doesn't last forever.
When my children head off to school in a few years, I hope they will find it interesting, safe and full of good suprises.
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