Small Town Life is Ideal for Raising Kids
Last week when my youngest son split his head open running through the house and then running into a wall… I cannot tell you how appreciative I was that I lived in a small town. A quick call to friend and 30 minutes later I was sitting in the doctor’s office instead of a long wait in the ER. It was just another reminder of why we left Chicago nine years ago and moved to my husband’s home town. We all have our moments of wishing that Paris had a Target or Barnes and Noble or… well, honestly this list could go on indefinitely. But the truth of the matter is that nothing really beats small town living when you are raising a family. Here are a couple of reasons why:
- Rush hour only lasts a minute. I once spent an hour going two miles on Chicago highway trying to get to the Indiana border. Nightmare. But more importantly this means that my husband often can make it home for lunch…nice.
- Your kids can get into the paper without being delinquents Small town papers are loaded with good news. They report on the school sports, spelling bees, honor rolls, community projects and on and on.
- Reputation is king – in a small town your reputation is infinitely more important and the odds are that whatever you do, good or bad, word will spread. When raising kids, especially teenagers, this is actually a very helpful tool. And once they figure out that what they do will get back to mom and dad – chances are they will watch more carefully how they behave.
- Greater impact – You actually can make a difference. Most people I know serve on several boards and are active in community and civil affairs. Just remember if you come up with a good idea and voice it – you are probably going to be the one to implement it.
- Slower pace - Who could argue that the high pace of city living brings lower stress and is better for your health? People have more time for people in small towns and people are more important than things. I think that is a good message for kids.
- Skills and talents can be put to use. Like to sing – you can join the community choir. Like to act – audition and land a role in the community theatre. Play an instrument – join a local band and play live at one of the local venues. Kids can use their God given talents in a small town.
- Family matters – Family is important in small towns and family values are a priority.
- Greater focus on nature and the outdoors – When you live in a city, it just takes a lot of effort to get “back to nature.” In a small town, it’s right outside your door. And of course the air is cleaner once you are outside.
- Lower cost of living – More bang for your buck is a great thing! When I think about what we would be spending on just schools in Chicago, it is mind-blowing!
- Crime is lower in the small town than the big city. This is a fact and cannot be disputed. If you look at a website that tracks crime statistics, like sperlingsbestplaces.com, you will immediately see the difference. Crime in most small towns is about 50% to 80% less and violent crime is off the charts lower.
People still ask me all the time if I miss Chicago – sure, of course. It is a great city…a great BIG city. Everyone should go visit for a long weekend. But I wouldn’t trade living in Paris for anything!
From one mommy to another,
Jenny Wilson is a mother of three. She teaches a Mommy & Me class at Central Presbyterian Day School, serves on the PCT Children’s Theatre Advisory Committee, the Parent Association Boards at Aikin Elementary, Crockett Intermediate and Paris Jr. High, and is a Sunday school teacher at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. She also is a certified yoga instructor, Jazzercise instructor and marketing consultant.