Small Town – Big Town
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012
I grew up in a pretty big town, outside the nation’s capitol. To this day, monuments and museums, airports and touristy spots don’t excite me that much. Probably because all of my young life I was just a stone’s throw away from Washington DC.
Now, I live in a small town. Very small. Like, so small that when I tell people where I live they have to ask me what that is close to. And my home phone number comes from one town, while my zip code comes from a town 30 minutes away from me.
We are 10 minutes from the nearest convenience store, and 15 – 20 minutes from the nearest area to shop. A 45-minute drive can get me to a mall. I don’t have any neighbors except for my in-laws, and I have to drive my kids to school each and every day. Their school (in an actual town) has around 120 students per grade level, which is pretty small considering the sizes of schools an hour away from me.
To put in plainly (and according to my father in law) I live YONDER. If you ever wondered where yonder was, look me up and you will find it.
But I have to admit I wonder how living ‘yonder’ affects my children.
Sometimes I wish they had neighbor kids to play with, and that I had neighbor moms to interact with during the day. I worry that their school, despite being one of the best in the state, isn’t providing them with enough exposure to diversity and differing opinions. I stress that the small town politics and nepotism that dips into social interactions in a small town can be smothering for young children. It’s also frustrating always living so far out of town, especially with 3 kids very actively involved in sports. (I spend A LOT of money on gas every week!)
Other times, I wouldn’t trade living on a rural farm for anything in the world. We pick blackberries during the summer for hours on end. We have an orchard that bears fruit every year, and a huge garden. We have cows, a horse, dogs, and whatever animals decide to nestle up to us. My kids spend A LOT of time outdoors, and never have to be quiet or worry about what the neighbors will think.
Truth is, there are probably upsides and downsides to both big towns and little towns. Having lived in both, I think I prefer the small town feel. But I still had some pretty incredible experiences as a youngster having access to all the things that a big town has to offer.
In the end, it goes back to one thing. You have to bloom where you are planted! And for now, we are planted in rich red clay soil miles away from anything that can destroy the roots.
What do you think? Is small town or big town living better for raising children? Or does it really even matter?