Raising Kids in a Small Town
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal encapsulated why young people are moving to small towns to raise their families.
Here's an excerpt from "Millennials are Coming to America's Small Towns,"[i] by journalist Liz Farmer. "On a Saturday afternoon in late September, I observed my 6-year-old son repeatedly doing two things we’ve always told him not to do: run into the street and pick up candy off the ground. We were watching the annual tractor parade roll down Main Street here. In this town of about 3,000, the weekend of the fair is a big deal. This was only the second year we’ve gone to the parade. Last year we barely knew anyone. This year we ran into more than a half-dozen people we knew through school or youth sports. Some were simply friends we’ve made in the community. One of them invited us to watch the parade on her front porch. As we left that evening for the five-minute drive home through mostly farmland and woods, I smiled and thought, 'This is why we moved here.'"
Those few sentences say so much about small-town life with kids. Safety. Parades and fairs. A community of friendly neighbors. And, as anyone who has raised kids in the city can attest, the five-minute drive home through farmland and woods sounds so stress-free compared to fighting traffic in the city.
Will your kids like small-town life? There are no guarantees. If you have a teenager, do they like anything? But here are some solid benefits to raising kids in small towns rather than the city.
Small towns try harder. Every time you turn around, there are fairs, community days, bake sales, fests, Halloween parties or some other kind of community event happening, whether it's through the school, your place of worship or the town itself.[ii] And it's all kid friendly. You'll be spending quality time with your kids at all of these events, making memories with them that will last a lifetime. Bonus for the parents: You'll meet people in your new community.
Crime happens in small towns too, though often at much lower rates. Generally, kids living in smaller communities get a more "Mayberry" experience than their city counterparts, being able to ride their bikes around town, play outdoors without parents hovering, and especially exploring your own land if you live on some acreage. This benefit might not be top-of-mind for your kids, but they will benefit from the safety of having people around who know them. Teachers, parents, librarians, people who run the stores on Main Street. The expression "it takes a village to raise a child" is so true in small towns. As a parent, you know that people are looking out for your child, even when you're not there.
Small-town life means your kids see neighbors helping neighbors, people coming together when someone is in need. That kind of compassion as a part of everyday life — it’s just how people treat each other — helps kids become great adults.
So often, kids in large cities can feel unseen and alone. In small towns, your kids will never feel invisible. Everyone will know their names.[iii] Your child will have a huge support system when things go wrong, and a huge cheering section when things go right.
If you raise your kids in a small town from the time they start school, they will know their classmates all of their lives. Those bonds run deep.
Are you ready for life at a slower pace? We can help with that. Contact us today.