For those of you with children, are you a little nervous about the start of the school year?

My daughter is getting ready to be (gulp) a junior, and I have been nervous every year.

I don’t worry about the teachers, especially now that she is in high school and gets to interact with a variety of educational professionals each day.

I don’t worry about the safety of school. I think our schools are safe and the teachers I know (and I’ve met quite a few in this profession) care about each student.

It has got to be hard — getting to know a child, nurturing a child, worrying about a child for 270 days then saying goodbye to begin nurturing a whole new group. I thank some wonderful elementary school teachers at Hendry Park and an incredible middle school that was headed by MSD’s new assistant superintendent, Ann Rice, for helping pave the path.

It’s not the teachers. It’s not the other kids either, though I think bullying has hit a screaming pinnacle. Bullying used to be relegated to the big backwoods boy with a chip on his shoulder. Now, everybody is doing it. You can do it anonymously through a fake Instagram account.

I got a Facebook forward recently from a few of my friends, telling me not to pay attention to anything sent by So And So. So then I started wondering where that particular Facebook alert started. I do not know So And So. Should I believe digital messages suggesting So And So is not worthy of my regard? Could it be that message went so viral that everybody was sending warnings against So And So without even knowing who So And So was?

Who do I trust?

Who should my child trust?

Bullying is an issue. Suicide and substance abuse are issues.

Our children’s future is an issue.

If we are worried about the upcoming school year, let’s think about how they feel.

I do not know the answers, but I think communication is a key.

I do not want to tell you what to do, but if you asked me, I would suggest talking with your child as much as possible, even if they are aggravating brick walls.

If you asked, I might suggest talking with the child’s teachers and attending parent-teacher nights. I would suggest getting to know other parents and networking with them. Some wonderful relationships in my life are with the mothers and fathers of my daughters’ classmates.

The experience will be different for each person, but there are some generational common denominators.

It is easy to stuff down your queasy discomfort as the school year comes along and put on a happy face for your child — but are they doing the same for you? It’s not easy.

I am grateful to so many people, from friends to family to people I reached out to for help that became my friends along the way. The saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” You are not alone, and if you are reading this and thinking about it, neither are the children.

Amy Oberlin is the news editor at The Herald Republican.

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