I recently wrote a guest post for Crane USA and I explained how having one child is perfect for our small, but mighty, family. In that same post, I briefly eluded to my small fear of suburban living. It's interesting that when people have kids, the automatic thought is you need to "settle down" and move to the suburbs. Yes, that tends to happen more often than not for many reasons, cost and school being the most common, but it's not the only option. Living in the city is scary, even when you're single, but there are reasons why we want to raise a child in the city - probably the exact reasons why people want to move to the suburbs, but for us - it just works.
I grew up in the suburbs. Hard to believe, I know, considering my strong hesitation to live in one. I had a great experience and to this day I compare all suburbs to the one I grew up in, but knowing what I know now and experiencing life the way I have in my twenties I want Liam to grow up in a different experience. Of course, I completely see value in being in a "safer" community and absolutely see the need for Liam to be with a better school, but there's something that the city streets can teach him that can't seem to be replicated when growing up in the suburbs.
- Street smarts: I am part of that camp that believes that you're either book smart or street smart. People are both, but in my opinion one is stronger than the other. While I want Liam to absolutely be a book smart person - I want him to be street smart by making right decisions based on what he's been exposed to. The city is a big place and you do have to be more aware of your surroundings, but I don't want Liam to grow up scared of it. The world is a bigger place and the city is only one very small piece of it.
- Diversity: To me this is much more than race. It's class type, sexual preferences and yes, race too. I grew up in a somewhat diverse school, but for the most part many of the families I grew up with were among the same class type. While all parents want to provide the best for their kids, I want to show Liam that these privileges are not common for everyone. I want him to appreciate all walks of life and embrace every person's situation.
- Independence: The last thing any parent wants is their kids to grow up too fast and independence is the first sign of that. While I want him to absolutely enjoy every minute of his youth, I want him to be independent and know what the right choices are when we aren't there to make them for him.
- Confidence: It feels like almost every day I read a story about a child who was bullied or harassed by another child for something that is out of the norm. This can't be avoided wherever your child grows up, but living in the city his surroundings can help cultivate his interests - teaching him that there is no norm and that whatever his passions are in life, he should embrace them.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe that parenting plays a huge factor in how each of us raise our children, but the environment we set for our kids only helps reinforce our beliefs. I'm one of those people who is trying (I may not be great at it, but I'm trying) to lead by example. The way I know to best teach Liam is to be in a setting where he can learn from what he experiences. It's not for everyone, but I know for us it just works in a weird way.