I may not agree with Marin politically (it’s roughly 70% to the Left of Left, despite the rampant capitalism that supports its infrastructure), but it is a fabulous place to raise children. Sure, there are problems with drugs and drinking (lots of them), but the fact remains that if you want your children raised in a child-centered community that offers safe streets, old-fashioned neighborhoods, excellent schools, and true community, you can find it in Marin. My kids play soccer, swim, do martial arts, run around the neighborhood, play parlor games, go to their friends’ basketball/lacross/water polo/football/baseball/etc. activities, and generally live the healthy, physical, safe life that we all dream of for our children.
My kids and their friends don’t hunger for urban life. When they go into San Francisco, none of them can leave fast enough. To them, the City is dirty, noisy, crowded, dirty, unsafe, overwhelming — did I mention dirty? — and just not the place they want to be. Most of the kids they hang with say that they want to attend a college in a smaller rural or suburban area when the time comes. Put another way, Marin has some of the same downsides as San Francisco — drugs and drinking — and lacks some of the upsides — trendy restaurants and public transportation — but overall, when it comes to raising children, Marin offers much more for parents and children than the City ever could.
Speaking of public transportation, when my children were little and we had left the City for Marin, I thanked God on a daily basis that Safeway was an easy 7 minute drive from my house, and that there was clean, safe parking when I got there, as opposed to my situation in the City. There, as the crow flew, Lucky’s was 7 minutes from my house, but add in traffic and parking, not to mention the crowded, surly store itself, and shopping for groceries in the city was one long screaming child nightmare that could last an hour or two. And I had a car. Had I lived there without a car, a quick trip to the store would have taken up to half a day, with an angry, temperamental child (or two).
Marin is just easy. It is.
As for the drugs and drink, we’ve tried to instill values in our children. It’s not the school’s responsibility to instill those values. It’s mine and my husband’s, and I think we’ve built some pretty strong moral armor around the children. It helps that the neighborhood shares our values. Interestingly enough, the kids, when at school, shy away from the fast crowd. Their friends are as wholesome as they are.
All of which means I totally agree with Mike Lanza, who adds data to my anecdotes and reaches the obvious conclusion: for all their “it’s for the children” talk, the Democrats’ hostility to suburbs is fundamentally anti-family and anti-child.