In the massive multicultural, and interconnected world we inhabit, the idea of traditions is being replaced with the desire for the newest ideas, creations, or fads. However, in Small Towns across the nation Tradition is everything. These traditions are not always the most “Normal” things, but they are activities or events that bring the community together. Growing up in a small town I can remember looking forward to the local fall festivals, the summer stock car races, and homecoming parades (I say parades because we went to every local school’s homecoming parades). These quirky little traditions along with many others add something to living in a small town that cannot be replicated anywhere else.
When I look at the town I grew up in, and the town I live in now, one of the best characteristics of both towns centers around the general values of the people that live in them. Life in a small town is truly less complicated than life in a large city, and this lower level of complication has allowed the people that live in such places to maintain a brighter outlook on life. People from small towns have a warmth about them, it is the warmth that comes from feeling like the town is one big family. These values become ingrained because in a small town you are expected to be polite and respectful. In a world where “Yes Sir” and “No Sir” are being replaced by “Yea” or “Nah”, small towns are some of the last bastions of enforced politeness. To those outside of small town America this may seem archaic but to those of us living here, we like to live in a community where respect is expected and is not a choice.
There are some great benefits when everyone knows everyone; such as being more secure in your day to day life. It is very unlikely that Jim down the street is going to break into your home while you’re at work, partially because the weekly BBQ would be very awkward when you saw your T.V. in his living room, and partially because the social pressure to stay in line is very prevalent in small towns. While small towns are not immune from violence or crime, it is far less prevalent than in most parts of the country; and I think the main reason behind this is because small towns look after their own.
Belonging to a Community
No matter where you go in a small town you see someone you know. If you go down to the local coffee shop, the owner knows your name and exactly what you get every Tuesday. When you go to pick your child up from school, the Principal calls you by name and asks how your kids dirt bike race went last weekend. Even when you just run out to grab something from the local hardware store, the owner is likely there, and remembers you. These types of interactions create a special feeling of belonging to something larger than yourself. In a small town, you are not just another person who lives in the same area as your fellow townspeople; you are a member of a large familial type community where your daily interactions matter.
There is nothing better than getting up early on a Saturday morning and going out to the local State Park to just take in the silence and serenity of nature. There is nothing in this world that helps to melt away your cares like being out among nature; and small town living allows you to be surrounded by it. Or if silence isn’t your thing, small towns allow you to get surrounded by nature while riding your favorite four-wheeler or dirt bike. The choices of how to enjoy nature are endless in a small town. Most evenings if you drive anywhere into rural Missouri you’ll find people building bonfires to sit under the stars and enjoy time with one another in the great outdoors. It is a simple fact, being in nature is good for the human body, mind, and soul and small towns are the best places to be a part of nature.