Dear Dr. Wallace:

I’ve got a lot of exciting things going on in my life, but all this seems to stress me out. I hate being stressed. I broke up with my boyfriend because I thought spending time with him was the reason for my stress. That happened over a month ago, and I’m still getting stressed out quite often.

Please tell me what I can do to rid myself of this terrible feeling. When I’m in a stressful mood, I’m not fun to be around. Just ask the members of my family. I love them too much to put them through all my stressful tantrums.

— Angie, Phoenix

Dear Angie: Stress often results when people feel like they don’t have enough time to do all that they wish to do within a period of time, be it hours, days, weeks or even months.

Do you have the time to do what you want? If not, you’re probably not well enough organized. One of the best ways to start getting a handle on time is to make a to-do list each morning. Write down your tasks in their order of importance and tackle them in sequence. Also look to group your tasks, meetings and outings whenever possible so that you can accomplish like items simultaneously or in compact time frames whenever practical.

One more thing: Now that you know having a boyfriend isn’t the cause of your stress, it may help if you made amends, if that remains a possibility for you.

Dear Dr. Wallace: I was very frustrated by the letter from the mom in Garden Grove, California. She complained that her son’s school called every time she kept him home because he was sick. She called the school “stupid” because they did this.

When I worked as a teacher in a middle school, we had a system in place for handling absences. The parents were expected to contact the school by 9 a.m. when a student was absent. If the school was not contacted, the school made an effort to contact the parent by phone to find out why the child was not in school.

We did not accept the child’s words alone; he or she was often “sick” because many parents have to leave early for work and so some students are left to get to school on their own. This makes it very easy for them not to make it to school. We also were trying to track students who left school unexcused between classes. Some students were dropped off by a parent but didn’t stay the full day.

But parents also criticize school districts in my area when their children don’t graduate because they’ve missed so many class days, they didn’t get credit for the course. And their question was always: “Why didn’t the school let me know sooner?”

It appears that schools can never please everyone. I would suggest that mom in Garden Grove call her son’s school right away when she is keeping him home. Then the school won’t have to call her.

If it were my child, I’d be grateful that the school was concerned enough to keep track of him.

— Retired Teacher

in Texas

Retired Teacher: Thank you for your letter and the input your experience yields. I certainly hope it clears up any lingering doubts about how schools do their job.

I can’t believe that very many parents would want to send their children to a school that doesn’t care whether the students show up or not. School districts and individual schools take the attendance issue very seriously, no matter what specific policies they have in place. Your letter well represents the position that the majority of our readers have sided upon regarding this topic. Thank you, also, for your years of teaching service to young people in your classrooms during your career.

Write to Dr. Wallace at rwallace@galesburg.net.