Worry.

On my way to work each morning, I pass three elementary schools. Invariably, I end up crossing paths with parents dropping their children off in the morning.

Without making it too creepy, I always try to catch a snippet of what they’re talking about. I feel like you can tell a lot about a person and their family based on what they decide is the most important thing to leave their child with before dropping them off for the day.

Sometimes I hear an older dad sharing an odd bit of trivia. Sometimes it’s a young mother repeating, “You know Mommy loves you very, very much…”

I’ve been thinking a lot about having children lately. (As a concept…still not pregnant, sorry.) Several of my friends have had babies in the last year, and the topic seems to keep coming up even amongst my childless friends. (Sure sign that I’m getting old.)

The scariest part of having kids to me is the pressure. I feel like there is just so much to teach and pass on — it’s completely my fault if my kid turns out ignorant or a psychopath or awesome, right? (Okay, probably not right, but you know what I mean.)

Even aside from the “what kind of person will he or she be?” bigger issues, sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about all the knowledge little kids have to learn. How can I make sure they learn about the water cycle? Or different kinds of dinosaurs? Or what the largest land mammal is? Or long division? I mean, sure, okay, they’ll go to school, but what about all the little bits you pick up along the way? That’s up to me, right?

Obviously I’m stressing out a bit (okay, a lot) preemptively. And getting sympathetically stressed out for all those parents on the sidewalk isn’t helping.

But I can’t help but wonder: If you only had a 20-minute walk to share something with your kid, what would you say?