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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

City, Town, or Country for Raising Kids?

doc50c89e47403951332372991I recall, as a pre-schooler, growing up, out in the country where lakes and bears and snow were in abundance.  One of my earliest memories was learning to ice skate by letting huge winds blow me down one side of a long drainage ditch of sorts.  Reaching the other end, I would hike back up the frozen grass to start the process all over again.

It was the country, but it wasn’t a farm or anything.  My parents had decided to build a house in an area where no one else lived, yet.  My brother and I learned to entertain ourselves, not necessarily together, and all I can say is that our creative bent grew during those years of semi-isolation.

I wonder if many of our kids today receive “down-time”, time just to create and imagine.

IMG_1098Small towns afford many opportunities, as well.  We IMG_1099attended a Presidents’ Day Parade on Monday and most of our kids had never seen a parade in person before.  They waved, had candy thrown at them, oohed at the fife and drum corps, as well as dogs marching by.  Neighbors knew each other, folks came out of the parade to laugh and shake hands with friends, cub scout troops proudly walked with their dens.  High school marching bands from suburbia strutted their stuff.IMG_1110

There was a sense of belonging.

IMG_1133In the city, we have many benefits—the museums, the educational programs, the lectures and concerts of every kind.  The restaurants and cafes hailing from most every part of the globe, where, for a $5 falafel, you would think you had just been transported to the bazaars of Baghdad.  There are parks and zoos.  There are buses and subways, allowing minors to be mobile, without parents having to chauffeur them everywhere.

Not that I allow my 16-year-olds to head off on the metroIMG_1017 all by themselves.  Maybe if they had a class somewhere each week.

Maybe if they were 45 years old.

There are advantages to growing up in all sorts of settings.  Which do you feel is best for children?



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6 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Jeremy says:

    I always thought that life in general was better for kids in the country . But due to the fact that there is not much to do there, this may not be true any more. Levels of teen alcohol, drug use and pregnancy are not low in rural areas.

  2. avatar Winnie says:

    I think it’s really dependent on the age of the kid. Younger children I do think need the freedom to roam around in the woods, skate in drainage ditches, and build secret forts. (Have you read “Last Child in the Woods”) By the time you start getting teenagers there needs to be more structured stuff to do to counteract the boredom (cause face it most 15 yo don’t build forts anymore) and the getting in trouble that brings. I grew up literally in the middle of a cotton field and had free reign to go where ever my legs, bike, or later child sized ATV could take me, it was great. It wasn’t so great when I hit my teen years and was stuck always begging a ride to town and even my mother was relieved when I got a driver’s license and a beater car. Town being very small had really nothing to do and that lent a whole ‘nother level of trouble to get into (and I found it occasionally).

    In a perfect world I would say live in the country till kids are 10-12 yo and then move into or near a medium sized town so you can direct their activities to more productive things than riding in a pick-up down backroads while being chased by the county police (true story).

    • avatar admin says:

      Hah, hah, hah, you’re too much, Winnie! You have me rolling here! I agree, I think that younger kids need somewhere to get away to and explore, or think, or write, or draw, or build. It could be a backyard in suburbia, or wide open fields in the country (just checking– are there snakes there???), or a special tented table in an apartment in the city. I had some wonderful times on the back steps of another house, not so remote, in my teen years. For a couple of years, I even arranged a getaway area in my closet (cleanest floor I had for a long time)-! I guess you could say I’ve come out of the closet….

      I like the idea of more organized activities as the kids get older. So many opportunities to put their energies to some good.

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