The result of the presidential election brought home my reasons for wanting to raise my kids in a densely populated urban environment like San Francisco: diversity, diversity, diversity. Socio-economic, racial, ethnic, cultural and gender identity diversity.
Parenting is a tough job wherever you reside. We all make decisions in attempts to make that job a little easier. Some move to the suburbs for school districts that’re perceived to deliver better academic results; others leave San Francisco for more affordable homes and an abundance of physical space; and yet others depart to be close to family members that reside elsewhere.
The one thing that’s kept our family stubbornly in the City has been the density of diversity that you find here, and the importance of preserving those interactions in our and our children’s daily lives. On a car ride with my first grader son and his carpool buddy, we had a conversation about one of their classmates. The carpool friend wondered whether one of their friends had a dad. When I responded – a little too quickly due to my knowledge of her dad – with “Of course she does”, the friend quickly defended her question, reminding me that we couldn’t take that for granted, as they had other classmates who had either a single mum or two mums.
If we’re to get through the next four years of a presidency that won on a campaign based on fear and intolerance, more than ever before, we need to educate our kids on the power of love and tolerance. There’s no better way to do so than to expose them to the multitude of questions that come with sharing their school life with others who aren’t the same as them in all sorts of ways. That would be nearly impossible to replicate in the ‘burbs. For that reason alone, my family and I shall remain in San Francisco!
Nik Tan lives on Sierra Street with her husband Gian Pablo and two boys, Javier and Rafi. “Why I Choose to Raise My Family in San Francisco” is the brainchild of the Potrero Residents Education Fund, a nonprofit committed to helping create a stronger, more vibrant San Francisco by ensuring that families from a diversity of income levels raise their children in the City. Submit your own stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.