Tuesday, June 05, 2018

The (False) Promise of Small-Town Community

“That’s where I come from, and I’m proud as anyone.”

I used to sing these Kenny Chesney lyrics while operating a combine in my hometown of Leeds, North Dakota. I love that small town of 447 people. The power behind these lyrics is evidenced as they still ring in my head today, even 19 years after having left. But as time has passed, it’s become apparent that small towns don’t appeal to everyone.

Perhaps this is due to the attraction of big cities in the modern world. They promise much: money, status, and the potential for success. As centers of power and influence, big cities have strong allure.

But growing up in a small farming community produces a pride and status of a different kind.

Yes, we see the big cities and all that comes with them—culture, coffee shops, hotels, media, opportunity. But small-town folks value other things—fresh air, open spaces, country roads, simplicity, and so on.

And yet the sum total of small-town life is more than just country music and big skies. What people really love about small towns is community. Read More

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