I’ve been looking back a little, and I decided to highlight a few of the benefits of growing up in a small town. We tend to focus on the negative, but why not focus on some of the great things that came along with growing up in a town where everybody knows your name. *Queue Cheers theme song*
1. Crime is essentially nonexistent.
When you live in small town, you don’t fear the outside world too much. You leave your home unlocked, you leave your car running in the middle of town without batting an eye, and there’s no such thing as being on the wrong side of the tracks. The phrase “the wrong side of the tracks” is only used when you’re giving someone who’s lost directions on how to get to your high school, and you use the rail road tracks as a reference point. There’s no crime in a small town, and if there is crime, it’s usually the crime of teens skateboarding on the sidewalk. Sure there might be that creepy old guy who hangs out at the local park or pool a little bit too often, but the only crime he’s technically committing is excessive staring.
2. You have to create your own fun.
When you live in a town where main street is the only street in town that has a stoplight, and said stoplight just blinks red the entire time, you have to be able to invent your own fun. I like to call those stoplights fancy, four flicker stoppers by the way. When your town is tiny, you aren’t supplied with fun, you have to export fun. You can’t go to a big concert, check out a new film, or meet new people. Everyone already knows everyone and thus creativity is born. This also gives people that live in a small town some of the greatest social skills known to man. You know when you go to Kindergarten and you meet those other 30 some kids? Those are the kids you’re going to be with for the next 12 years so you better learn how to export some fun with them. Sure that kid may eat a bit too much glue, but he’s got an N64 and he lives next to the bridge that goes over the river, so you better at least pretend to eat some glue with him. With such a small number of humans around, you find ways to create your own fun and you hang out with people you probably wouldn’t have even talked to in a bigger school.
3. Small class sizes.
A lot of people want to keep small class sizes because they believe students learn better with smaller class sizes. For me, I have always been able to learn about the same amount whether or not the room size was huge or tiny. Physical room size jokes aside, most people believe that with fewer students, teachers will have more time to spend helping students. The problem is that I feel no matter how small your class is, there will always be that one person who has to ask that question near the end of the lesson when the teacher is about to release you early anyways. That selfish, curios cat will take up the same amount of learning time whether it’s ten people in the class or fifty people in the class. The true upside of having a small class was that the classes were more conversational instead of just being formal lectures. While this was probably helpful to my learning process, it also allowed us to get teachers to go off on twenty minute tangents about their glory days in high school effectively delaying the day’s lesson plan.
4. High School Sports.
I think a lot of people would agree that the atmosphere of high school sporting events in a small town can be more intense than the atmosphere of a professional sports team in a big city. To those that disagree, hear me out. There may not be many actual people that can fit into a high school gym compared to an NBA stadium, however, nearly every person in that high school gym knows every kid that’s playing personally and often it is their own kid that is playing. Now imagine if every fan in an NBA or NFL stadium was an alcoholic parent of the people playing in the game. That would be a parent night even parents wouldn’t want any part of. Parents can become insane when it comes to their kid’s high school athletic careers. There’s a reason every year you hear a story about a parent storming the court or getting kicked out of a sporting event for yelling at a ref or coach. High school sports fans often times have more passion for the game than the people playing it which creates a pretty interesting atmosphere.
5. Farmers inhabit the town.
With my father being a farmer, I have always had a great deal of respect and cautious admiration for farmers. Every year they risk everything planting a new crop hoping the weather will cooperate. According to every farmer, every year, the weather does not cooperate. I am in awe of how pessimistic farmers can be during the summer, but come planting season next year they sign up for another round trying to be optimistic. I also believe farmers are possibly the only people who have the right to talk about the weather as much as people talk about the weather; the only exception maybe being meteorologists. So much of what they do depends on the weather; however I am still amazed just how much weather talk they can muster up. Each morning, after a much needed rain, farmers will gather at their local small town restaurant or bakery and boast how many tenths or quarters of rain they received the night before. It is a form of measurement I have yet to really understand and probably never will. If you ask a farmer if they are a glass half full or glass half empty type of a person it will truly depend on the day, or should I say are they an irrigation half full or irrigation half empty type of farmer.