It thoroughly surprised me when my elderly mother living where I was born (Wichita) actually had neighbors in three nearby houses on her block that watched over her needs and liked visits with her. I lived 300 miles away in a remote area and did not visit her often. I found out they all had come from small towns elsewhere and knew the value of good neighbors.
When I was young, I grew up sitting at the feet of the elders and listening to all the stories quietly. My father believed "children were to be seen and not heard". As I graduated from high school I could not wait to leave my small town for the city and its art galleries, music, etc. I hate learned to hate small town gossip. Today as I approach age 57 I have a whole new appreciation for the good things in small communities and close knit families. CJ
It is sometimes surprising how you end up back where you started. My husband and I both enjoyed the larger town of Manhattan where we went to college. We both grew up in smaller towns and liked something a little bigger with some different people and culture. But once we started to work and got married we ended up here. Once you start having children you remember and appreciate how nice a small town is to raise a family in.
We have all heard the adage that it "takes a village to raise a child." This so true in all cultures. Growing up in the small town of Colby, my three daughters have always felt the presence of others in their lives—-people concerned about them and their well-being. Our family has developed close, personal relationships with friends and family in the community during our years here, and the girls know that their public words and actions are constantly monitored by others. Sometimes to their "consternation", they wonder how reports of their activities have mysteriously reached their parents. Even accusing me and my husband of actually having spies in the community! In reality, many concerned parents naturally stay tuned to the activities of the young people they know in a nurturing, supportive way, whether it be through school, athletics, or church. For me as a parent, I appreciate that support and feel that my children have benefited from it. My daughters have grown up knowing that they have a responsibility not only to themselves, but to others, as well, in terms of how they choose to live their lives.
Growing up in a town of about 100,000 (Billings, MT) it was a culture shock to move to Hays my senior year of high school. I could not believe how many people I knew when I was just out and about running errands. I have since tried to move away from the small town, student teaching in Wichita followed by my first teaching job in Colby. Then I moved to Denver to pursue a masters but fell in love with a small town Kansas boy. Now I live in Grainfield, a very small town, and taught only 5 students last year. In small schools there are opportunities for the kids to get personal attention from their teachers. They are also given the opportunity to be involved in everything they desire, from basketball to forensics. In the community we can trust most people. We leave our doors unlocked, can sleep with doors open if we choose, and leave the keys in the car. There is a sense of security in a small community. As was mentioned before, our neighbors and friends know what is going on so we can rest assured someone is keeping an eye on our house and children at all times.
It is good to know that others are watching out for you and especially your children. The other side of the coin is sometimes you would like to avoid some of those watching and sometimes gossiping eyes and tongues. You get the good with the bad I guess.