Reasons to Love Living in the Country

You may have read my reflection on Kathy Keller’s article about raising kids in the city. Here is my response, as a wife and mother of five children living in the country.
Country life can be simple and slow. But our family life with five children, extra curricular activities, countless projects and busy professional lives is anything but quiet or slow. But we can ‘do life’ without the hum of the rat race behind us. I feel as though we can be more in control of the pace of our life because we don’t battle the traffic each day, the city congestion and pollution. We can breathe fresh air, see clear spaces and leave 5 minutes before you need to be somewhere – and be guaranteed of a car park. 
In recent years I have learnt that for us it is easier to be missional. The town is not large, so there is a sense of connectedness in the everyday.  When you build relationships intentionally these dots tend to get joined relatively easy. And for our family on mission here we try and join the dots with His grace and love.
The arguments for country life are many and varied. After eight years being in the country I love it here. And I never thought I would. There are days when I miss aspects of city life, but right now I would not trade my country life for anything. Some of the more obvious reasons to love living in the country include:
The lower cost of housing, transport and schools
Opportunity to develop a business and grow it as a regional leader (for us it is in medicine and education)
Rat race – less time traveling for work and extra curricular activities
Neighborhood friends and a sense of community
For us it is easier having a big family and juggling the needs of the kids here in the country
Appointments- hair, podiatrist, dentist, doctor – all made simply and easy to get to
Lifestyle – we can work hard and play hard
I can grab a coffee/lunch with my husband during a working day
We are both able to see kids at school stuff while combing work commitments
Opportunities to serve each other – community, church
Easy to travel – car, bus, plane, train, foot, bike
Can live in town, outskirts, or on a property….
Less options for eating out so more opportunities for sharing great meals in homes
The sporting community here is big and allows you to play at all levels
Close to family which has been great for support, love and practical babysitting. We are intentionally building relationships with grandparents and look to support them in old age
Local farmers markets – we know people who have their own milk, meat, vegetables
IT – connects us to the wider world for shopping, PD, education, entertainment
It is great to be able to support local up and coming artists, musicians in community galleries and performances
Help each other because you live in a village – babysitting, pick ups, meals for sick
Look out for each others’ kids….people notice who is out and about
Family. Friendships. Where you have family and friends that is where you find your home.

City Life for Kids

My friend Jean has an encouraging blog and last week she linked to several online articles, blogs and commentaries that she had found helpful. This one by Kathy Keller (married to Tim)  came via The Gospel Coalition and it was a thought provoking read for me for several reasons.

I grew up in the country and at 18 years old fled, ran…not really looking back. The city held all the allure and appeal of a ‘real’ life for me. Real people, places, experiences, university, friendships, music, food, culture and more. Thankfully, by the grace of God the partying did not last long and a wonderful group of faithful young people including Jean, helped me find Christ in my city life! The city was then my home for many many years. And then because of my man’s work we had a short stint in London (which to this day is a lifetime highlight!) and then back to the country, to the place where I grew up.

Our home town is no more than ten thousand people. It is country, regional and conservative. There have been days, weeks, years when I have found being in the country difficult – and yes, there will be another whole post about that. But we love the city even more now because we can go back and visit and taste and see all the great stuff. We visit with family and close friends, we take our children to favourite places – a cafe, a park – and we drive past our old houses and reminisce.
Kathy Keller’s apprehension about raising three children in New York is worth reading and contemplating. How does our place, our home, our town or city impact on how we raise and encourage our kids? Have you ever thought about this? For many of us we don’t have a choice. But it is great to read how someone has seen good in what she thought was going to be a difficult situation. She begins like this:

In 1988 when Tim first mentioned the idea of us going to Manhattan to plant a church, I reacted by laughing. Take our three wild boys (the victims of below-average parenting, as well as indwelling sin) to the center of a big city? Expose them to varieties of sin that I hoped they wouldn’t hear about until, say, their mid-30s? My list of answers to “What is wrong with this picture?” was a long, long one.

I would love to know what you think about the city life for your kids. I will share some ideas about country life here this week.