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As I watched my news feed fill up with photos of my friends’ back to school photos today, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride.

Photos of children wearing their new clothes and clinging to their just bought backpacks peppered my news feed on Facebook.

I loved it.

Some children were just starting school while other parents tearfully deposited their now adult students at college campuses. Don’t worry.. they’ll be back. They always come back. And now even my own adult kid is starting her senior year of college. But there were smiles (and sure some tears), but mostly these were photos of enthusiastic parents that had the look of commitment on their faces.

And no matter where your children go to school, we all want our children to learn, be resilient, capable, and strong. There is too much divisiveness in this town over education. Good and bad schools should not exist because they should all be good schools. Period. And if they aren’t good enough, what are we — you and I — doing to fix that?

What I want for our children, yours and mine:

  1. To love learning… to get that look of awe in their faces when they realize how something works. There is joy in having that aha moment when a child figures something out. We need to honor that process.
  2. Be OK with not knowing something and feel safe enough to ask about what you don’t know. Just listening to the police scanner for a living, I know how difficult this is and I hope we can understand that not all children in this town have the luxury of living in peace. This is not an easy task, but one worth understanding.
  3. Live a creative life, not a destructive one — whatever form that may take. I say this to my daughter all of the time, especially when she gets caught up in her own stress. What I’ve noticed is that she struggles with stress a lot, especially with being too connected to social media (something her own mother struggles with).
  4. Dream… don’t be afraid to fail. We’ve got you. I’m convinced that we really haven’t taught our kids that you can fail at something and still be successful. We need more examples… here’s one: I failed college algebra three times, which is why I’m a journalist and we hire an accountant.
  5. To know that this town expects you to graduate. This is probably the most important point. We need our children and our neighbor’s children to be strong, capable, and creative. We will need to lean on them as we get older to help solve some pretty complex problems in our community.

Why is this important? When we have strong schools, we have a strong community. Who doesn’t want that?

So as this school year unfolds, please know that I am rallying with you as you take on the task of raising your children.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.