Evans — Small towns more familiar but not necessarily safter

Kara Evans writes on parenting for The Armchair Mayor News.

COLUMN — I grew up in a small town. With a population of around 1,800, it was your typical village; there were no stoplights, all is quiet after 6 p.m., and practically everyone knew your name, or at least who your parents were.

It was hard to get into trouble, but I managed to do just that on a couple of occasions. Once high school graduation came and went, I up and left for the big city of Kamloops and never looked back.

KaraEvanscol-babyOK, so the never looking back part may not be true. I still enjoy visiting my hometown, especially in the summer when everything is so green and growing.

I don’t resent the size of the town where I grew up but when it comes to where I want to raise my own children, there’s a big Venn diagram of pros, cons and otherwise for both the city and the country.

Like I had said, I don’t regret or wish that I hadn’t been raised in a small town. While boredom often struck (a con), there was still enough to keep me busy. Big cities often have greater opportunities as far as extra curricular activities goes; growing up, there were only about five or six physical activities to do during the year – hockey and figure skating in the winter, soccer, softball and swimming in the spring and summer, as well as karate.

There were no dance classes, gymnastics clubs or Girl Scouts. To be a part of any other those, our parents would have to make the hour-long trip to the City of Kamloops if our youthful minds craved something more.

Of course, the differences between small towns and big cities go deeper than soccer cleats and sheet music. When that aforementioned boredom struck, mischief often ensued.

One parenting perk of raising your kids in a small town is that there is certainly not as much trouble for them to get into, or at least a greater chance of getting caught if they do get up to no good.

When you live in a place where everyone knows your name, chances are your parents are going to find out when you’re misbehaving. (Example: In high school the secretary saw me leaving the property when I should’ve been heading to class, so she called my mom and I was completely busted, and in a great deal of trouble.)

Not that parents in bigger cities aren’t aware of the times their children are misbehaving, but there is a greater sense of anonymity. Chances are that when my daughter begins creating her own social circle, I won’t know much about the parents of her friends, and most likely won’t know much about them unless I actively seek the information out on my own.

Growing up, my parents did little asking in who my friends were and what their parents did because they already knew them, and more often than not, grew up with them in that same little town.

Just because small towns have a tighter bond of knowing who’s who doesn’t make them any safer. Children are still susceptible to falling through the social cracks if someone isn’t there to recognize that they’re slipping.

If it wasn’t for that secretary knowing immediately who I was and who my parents were, who knows what path I would have taken down the road.

While I couldn’t wait for graduation to come so I could finally escape, I wouldn’t change my small-town upbringing in any way.

Kara Evans tweets from @KaraEvs and blogs on

About Mel Rothenburger (9036 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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