Raising kids in a small town is just right for us.
My husband was raised on a farm south of the Quad Cities, and I was a small town girl, growing up in Milan, adjacent to the Quad Cities. When we married we decided we would raise our kids in a rural area. We live in rural Blue Grass, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Small towns are the best of both worlds – you get to know almost everyone in town, you benefit from fresh air and wide open spaces, yet you can hop in the car and visit any number of museums, parks and specialty stores in under a half hour.
Blue Grass is a quick 15 minute drive from Davenport, yet it often seems a world away. My kids could walk from school to the library where I worked a few days a week in the afternoons. They sat behind the desk with me and did their homework, and learned to reshelve the returns. Patrons came in and knew them by name and asked about their school day. They enjoyed getting first dibs on the new issues of magazines when the delivery came from the ‘big’ library in Eldridge.
On the days I didn’t work we would walk to the “blue park” a block from school and they would hang with friends while I had moms to talk to. Fire Department fundraisers, Blue Grass Days complete with a parade, carnival and fireworks, Boy Scouts at the American Legion Hall, and Girl Scouts at the Presbyterian Church hall – it was all within walking distance. We knew all of the teachers at Blue Grass Elementary, and most lived in town – we had to plot a special path to trick or treat at their houses on Halloween. Just another reason why raising kids in a small town is just right for us.
Raising kids in a small town is like having a very big extended family. You build bonds and relationships with other families through your kids. I’m sure that’s partially true everywhere, but in a small town in seems that you are more interdependent upon each other.
You could argue that my kids were sheltered, but once a week we would plan a ‘town day” – a drive in to the Family Museum and Library in Bettendorf – usually in conjunction with an art class or reading program, or meet friends at Niabi Zoo or Putnam or Figge Museum. I made sure they were exposed to cultures outside our own through community events and sports. And of course junior high and high school brought us to town, and the bigger world of the Quad Cities.
I will always treasure the memory of my kids’ small town upbringing, which gave them the family-friendly foundation to soar out into the greater world. Raising kids in a small town was just right for us.