In his book Them: Why We Hate Each Other-and How to Heal, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) describes the community atmosphere that he grew up with in small-town Nebraska. He calls it the “hometown-gym-on-a-Friday-night feeling.” He explains how the whole town crowded to watch basketball games each week, the parents had an “informal alliance,” and the kids were off practicing their sports skills with each other.
I am growing up in a community like this. Although it’s hard to find the kind of environment Senator Sasse lived in today, towns like mine give you a close resemblance to it. My town has around 4,000 residents and we all know each other. It’s very rewarding to live in such a close, family-like community.
For starters, my community will be there for me and my family no matter what. Two incidents in recent years have proved this.
In 2017, my 3-year-old brother was diagnosed with kidney cancer. We were at a playoff baseball game for my school when my mother discovered it. It was a scary time for my family, but my town wasted no time rushing to our side.
After my brother’s chemotherapy treatments each week, we came home to a nice meal. When we went on our Make-a-Wish trip, a group of community members made posters and sent us off. Even the texts offering prayers and checking on my brother were heartwarming. It’s an amazing feeling to know people are thinking about you.
More recently, my family lost our home to a fire. Our community gave us a shoulder to lean on and help us recover. Bags and bags full of clothes were donated. Even the less fortunate people who barely have anything for themselves tried to give us some of their belongings. Today, the day I’m writing this, there is a fundraiser dinner for our family— the first of several.
The amazing thing is that we didn’t have to beg or implore people to help. Our community saw our need and didn’t want to leave us in distress.
Many small communities are like this and respond with similar compassion frequently. It’s not like living in a city where there are thousands upon thousands of people. Here, you know you are loved and cherished by far more than your relatives. Your neighbors are your family too.
There are also other reasons why living in a small town is ideal. People living rurally are less stressed than those living in urban areas. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), more people in rural areas feel they are managing their stress adequately. They also reported that those living in urban environments are more stressed about work.
Rural areas are also the place for nature-lovers. Activities like hiking, boating, and four-wheeling are close and easily accessible. In lots of rural places, these exercises are available right in backyards. Additionally, the air is also cleaner. In states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Maine, where there are less urban areas, there are significantly less amounts of pollution compared to more urbanized states like New York, California, and Ohio. Another benefit of rural living is that, while urban-dwellers earn slightly more on average, you’re less likely to be poor outside of the city. Businesses in rural areas also have higher five-year survival rates.
In short, rural communities are a great option to raise a family in. I am getting an enriched childhood and I am learning important skills that can’t be learned in a city.
If you’re in the process of buying a new home, try looking at a small town in rural America.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.