My daughter started kindergarten.
Last Tuesday, my family and I participated in a time-honored educational tradition: the first day of school. We dragged our kids out of bed, made a giant breakfast, put them in their newest clothes, and took about a hundred pictures. Thing 1* participated with good grace, smiling for the camera and teaching her little sister how to say “kindergarten”. Then she walked with my wife and I (and some neighbors we met along the way) to her new elementary school, chatting the whole time about the reading area, her teacher, and which playground she liked best.
Even apart from my obvious bias, Thing 1 is just about the kindest, funniest, sweetest kid in the world. She’s a great artist and a wonderful big sister who loves nothing more than rainbows, unicorns, and dancing. This morning, she was thinking about recess, the lunch she packed herself, and learning to read. Unfortunately, as her dad, I need to think beyond that (although I also packed my own lunch).
If parenthood does anything, it changes your perspective on time. You must think five, ten, twenty years down the road. You have to think about summer camps, planning family holidays, and college savings funds. When should they get their own room? Their own cell phone? A car?
When I started this campaign, I said I got into this race to create the best hometown for my kids that I could. When I say this campaign is about our children, I don’t mean it as a cliche; I mean something concrete for my family and yours. What kind of future are we building for the next generation in Rockville?
If Thing 1 wants to live here, will she be able to find a job? Find an apartment? Buy a house? Raise her own family? I love the house we bought in Twinbrook but will Rockville be affordable in 2040? My wife works in King Farm, but I commute into DC. If my daughter wants to live here, what jobs will be available?
We owe it to our kids to make sure that the next generation can not only grow up here but thrive throughout their lives. That means ensuring that my daughter’s generation will have places to live. That means ensuring businesses find the city a welcoming partner to develop and grow in. That means ensuring a transportation system that works for today and builds for tomorrow.
We must ensure that Rockville doesn’t just offer my daughter, and all our kids, opportunities today but for years in the future. Through kindergarten, high school, her first job, all the way until one day, decades from now, when she wakes up, takes the same hundred photos, and walks her own child down the sidewalk to her first day of school.
*I use a digital euphemism so my kids can retain some measure of anonymity; read Dr. Suess’ The Cat and the Hat again if you don’t catch the reference.
James Hedrick is a candidate for Rockville city council. To learn more about his accomplishments and vision for Rockville, visit James4Rockville.com.