There is no doubt that growing up in a small town has its downsides, but then again, so can the city. When I left home to go to college, I felt prepared for what the rest of the world had to offer me. The reason being I knew what I valued and what was important to me. I learned things growing up in my small town that I will always take with me. it's true what they say, "It takes a village to raise a child."
In a town where the high school athletes are also the scholars and club leaders, the restaurant owners are the little league coaches, and the factory workers are also firefighters, hard work comes as second nature. When there aren’t a lot of services provided in a small town, everyone has to work together to get a job done.
Family and Friends
Going through high school, you pretty much had to stay friends with the people in you class otherwise you wouldn’t have any friends. It would also be awkward at the Christmas dinner if you were not friends with the people in your class because chances are you go to school with at least one relative. In a tight-knit community though, we all sort of feel like family to each other. We look out for each other, share each other’s accomplishments, and give support through the hardships. In the end, the people in our small town really are the friends that turned into family.
Commitment plays a huge role in small towns. There is commitment to each other, our jobs, and our community as a whole. It plays along with hard work in that nothing is going to get done for us; we have to make it happen. We commit to our friends and relationships to show those we love how much we appreciate them being a part of our lives. We are committed to all three of our jobs because maybe with all three salaries we can support our family. We are committed to the community to make it a safe environment to raise a family and to keep it “home” for everyone even after they move away.
Coming from a small town, we value being able to look up at the sky every night and see stars. We don’t mind taking the back roads because the views of wide opened fields are what keep us going. The snow-capped mountains, the foliage in the woods, the lakes and waterfalls, and the wildlife help make our town what it is. Plus, with nothing else to do in our town, we can easily make a day out of a walk in the woods, a snowmobile ride, or even leaf-peeping on a Sunday afternoon.
Feeding off the nature aspect, we enjoy the simple things in a small town. It doesn’t take much to get a reaction of these country folk. When your town only offers things that you need but nothing extra people would want, taking an hour and a half drive to go to Walmart for the day is exciting! Simplicity is a great value to have as it teaches people compassion and generosity. We expect little from each other but a lot in ourselves and truly value the little things.
Most small towns are considered part of the country. Mostly everyone in small towns can relate to country music. Everyone knows the topics for country songs typically only include beer, girls, finding love, or losing love. They resonate with people from small towns though. We understand how much fun a bonfire on a Friday night is when there aren’t any movie theaters or fancy restaurants to go to. Country music hits home to many people from smaller towns because at one point or another, everyone has been in a country song scenario.
With comfort comes familiarity. The waitresses know your order and the alternative order when you go into a restaurant, you wave to 90% of the cars you pass on the road because you know them, and you’re usually okay to leave your doors unlocked because you trust that people will not bother. It’s comforting to see the same people all the time and to have a routine. It’s comforting to have a support system and know you will always have cheer leaders in your corner no matter the situation. It’s comforting to have a safe place to always return to and call “home.”
The amount of support and community that shines through in a small town is sometimes overwhelming. These people you live next to, go to school with, or work with, will always be there to congratulate you or lend you a hand. Sometimes small but often bigger gestures are offered in times of need and small town people known enough to come together to make the best of any situation.
No matter how lame some of them may seem, small town traditions mean the world to natives; especially the older generations. Traditions in a small town bring people together. They give townies a reason to celebrate something. They create a commonality between different social groups, different generations, and sometimes even different surrounding towns. Traditions link to commitment in that they force people to stay committed to their town and to their roots.
Typically small towns are the home to small schools. In my case, the high school had students from two states and six different towns. From sports to clubs, teamwork becomes second nature. Since we need all the players we can get to make up a sports team, we don’t always have amazing athletes. It becomes a crucial factor to work together as a team to ensure individual and group success. Even in professional careers, people are forced to work in teams. The volunteer firefighters may not always be able to provide a full team. This requires other towns to step in and forces the two departments to mesh together to become one team for the day.
There are many areas where there are not a lot of opportunities in a small town. Jobs, fun activities, shopping, restaurants, are just some examples. Education however, provides so many opportunities. The class sizes are small and the classroom settings are close and intimate. The teachers care about their students and their future successes. The school collaborates with fire departments to offer a specialized program for high school students interested in fire science. They push for internships to get as much “real world” experience before graduation. We value education because we know in order to move on from our small town or stay and continue to make it better, we’re going to need some level of education.
It is important to be proud of your roots and where you come from. It is important to leave your mark and be proud of your accomplishments. It is important to be proud of coming from a small town and having these values that come with a certain location.