Would you believe me if I told you I had a graduating class of eleven? Yes, 11! For those of you who don’t know, I was born, raised, and still live in South Dakota. I grew up in a town of maybe 500 people. Our class was not the smallest in the school, but it was one of the smaller classes. I think the biggest class during that time period was maybe 20 students.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I feel there’s real joy in growing up in a small town.
Here are my top seven reasons growing up in a small town was great:
1. You always had friends.
With so few people in our class (seven boys, and only four girls), we had to get along. It was basically built in friendships. Heck – when one of my classmates got married, the other three girls all stood up for her at her wedding.
2. We got into less trouble.
We were not saints in my high school, but when you live in a small town your parents tend to hear about your antics quicker than living somewhere bigger. I remember saying a cuss word one time at school (our family didn’t cuss!), and my mom had heard about it at work by the time I got there at 3:30.
3. You learn how to deal with issues.
When they are only 11 people in your class, you have to work through your issues. You can’t stay mad at someone over something petty, and you really can’t even stay mad over bigger issues. There just aren’t enough people to be fighting for everyone to hold grudges.
4. We built strong relationships.
I can still tell you most of my classmates middles names, their parents home phone numbers growing up, and their birthdays. When you have such a small class and live in such a small community, you build strong relationships with other people.
5. Everyone is family.
Living in a small town, many people there were as close (or closer than) family. My mom’s two best friends basically became my second moms. They still get invited to all of my (and my child’s) big events because they are part of the extended family.
Whenever I go back to my hometown – or even call the local bank – we have to catch up for a few minutes. A quick stop at the gas station can turn into an hour long event!