Reality Check: We’ve got it good here

Published Monday, July 25th, 2011 by Dave Woods

Yesterday, we took a hard first step and admitted that we've got a problem. Today, we're going to bask in the glory of our many strengths.

The reality is that Escondido is a GREAT place. Stop and think for a minute about just a few of the characteristics we possess, and the tremendous assets we have within, and immediately adjacent to, our city limits:

  • A real downtown, and an interesting and storied history (123 years and counting)
  • The perfect blend of small town charm with big city amenities and proximity
  • The beautiful city hall / Center for the Arts complex
  • Palomar Hospital, and the new Palomar West coming soon
  • Numerous parks
  • Excellent outdoor activities made possible by unique destinations like Daley Ranch and Dixon Lake
  • Popular locally-owned destination restaurants like Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens, and Hacienda de Vega
  • Palomar College and Cal State San Marcos
  • The Wild Animal Park (sorry, I just can't get used to the new name...)

And the most important asset of all, one that deserves more than just a simple bullet like the others above: we've got heart and soul. We weren't built yesterday, and we aren't merely a suburb like most of our North County neighbors. About 150,000 people call this city their home, many of whom have roots in this community that go back multiple generations. Many, many people work their tails off for Escondido, day in and day out, by teaching and mentoring our youth, by volunteering for their favorite cause or charity, and by running locally-owned businesses that are uniquely Escondido.

I could list plenty more positives, but you get the picture...

The worst thing about the Escondido Inferiority Complex is that we fail to see our best qualities, and we fail to realize just how good we have it here. We possess assets that other cities can only dream about.

Clearly, it's time for a new approach. Instead of constantly trash-talking the very city we live in, let’s instead boast to anyone and everyone about how great Escondido is. Let’s begin to truly appreciate our many strengths and use them as a platform from which we can build an even better Escondido.

The Pep Talk continues with a look at our community's peculiar obsession with San Marcos...

Join the discussion! 2 comments so far...

  1. One of our unheralded strengths in Escondido is our multiplicity of schools. According to the City's website, Escondido boasts 3 public school districts, 3 public charter schools, 2 private preschools (and several others not listed there,) 8 private elementary schools, and 3 private high schools. What runs through these very different institutions and organizations is the common thread of how much we care about our children.

    I am a parent of two, and I work for a non-profit that raises funds to benefit the Escondido Union School District. When I think about how the 13 or so years when children have the opportunity to develop their minds and their human potential from preschool through high school, I feel a sense of urgency. I hope that one of the responses to the many ways our national economy and society are restructuring is more dialogue and cooperation to support how families in Escondido work with schools to prepare our children for success.

    Even if you don't have children in school now, you realize how much the world has changed from when you or I were kids, so that means that how we support schools now has to evolve from things worked way back when. For example, we have to not only think about how schools are funded, but how our community complements schools (and home school programs) with learning outside the classroom, such as library resources, enrichment programs, community service opportunities, internships, and more. In Escondido, there are many non-profit organizations and volunteers who work hard all year to help round out what teachers and schools can do. These people are heroes!

    The last thing I wanted to mention is something that has become one of my most important personal values - that we all learn, or can learn, during our entire lives. You might agree because recent brain research has proven the remarkable "neuroplasticity" in our gray matter or because your grandfather had values like mine. He made a sign for our garden that said "Still I am learning," (a quote which after I had completely absorbed it as a child I came to learn is attributed to Michelangelo.) In any case, our rapidly changing world requires children to not only learn subject matter when they are young but also to learn how to learn, research, think critically, employ the avalanche of information available on the Internet, and hopefully, find ways that they can contribute to the world.

    There are many examples of lifelong learning and people who work hard daily to make it happen in Escondido. I believe that creating and nurturing a community culture where lifelong learning is celebrated, protected and invested in is simply the best way for all of us to excel personally and as a community. Really, education is ongoing and links all of us together. Let's continue to improve, cooperate, communicate and celebrate the victories large and small!

    Comment by Katie Ragazzi on July 26, 2011 at 9:20 AM

  2. Hi Katie, thanks for the wonderful and very thoughtful comment! I agree completely -- we do have a big advantage in Escondido with not only great schools and dedicated teachers and volunteers, but also a great diversity of schooling options. Thanks for adding your voice — yet another positive we can celebrate about Escondido!

    Comment by Dave Woods on July 26, 2011 at 10:18 PM

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