I don’t have any children. But I did have a childhood, so I am speaking from that authority. Some would say that my childhood was fraught with upheaval and instability owing to my father’s military profession that necessitated our frequent moves. I loved it. I credit my adult tolerance* and sense of adventure to these early experiences.
Several months ago, I saw an article about the best places to raise children (in the US). I didn’t necessarily have a problem with their choices for the best places (to be honest, I don’t think I had a clue about them). It was their measurement I wasn’t too sure about. Of course if you have or plan to have kids you want safe streets, good schools, and kid-friendly activities, like museums, zoos and the like. I guess it’s what was missing that bugged me a bit. What kind of environment does it take to raise kids who are empathetic, open-minded, artistic, and joyous?
Full disclosure: I love New Orleans and feel proud to live here. That said, if you could overlook the crime and education situation, I think it would be a great place to raise kids. Is there another US city with more free culture on the streets? more history? more joie de vivre? Too much poverty you say? I would argue that shielding our kids from poverty doesn’t make it go away and probably doesn’t help them to understand it any better either. I’ve known a lot of young people that grew up in places like those best places. I’m sorry to say, I’m not sure they grew into the best grown-ups.
You often hear people say, “Kids don’t come with an instruction manual, you know!” Well, the aisles of child-rearing advice available in any bookstore notwithstanding, I think that there is as much to be said for showing kids the world as much as protecting them from it.
*I am impatient, not intolerant.