I am what I am because I was brought up on a farm as the son of farmers.
That now puts me in a very proud minority of people – rural people – who think and live a bit differently from city folks and suburbanites. Right or wrong, I remember thinking and feeling different from my classmates and childhood acquaintances because I lived on farmland.
In so many ways, my parents’ decision to steep me in the rural way of life paid off. I spent more time outside and more time alone than most, so I had a lot of time to think and a lot less pressure to conform to my peers. Even now I tend to be more contrarian, a state which for all its faults at least makes life more interesting. I’m also more resourceful and harder-working in some ways.
I hope to give my own kids a bit of what made me different. If you have kids, maybe you’ll also consider how you can gift them a little difference.
Maybe it will be in giving them a special relationship to a place. Maybe it’s in teaching them a skill. Or maybe it’s in the religion or code you follow with them. Whatever it is, it should allow them to group themselves at least a little outside of the mainstream and at least a little more obligated to live with virtue and independence.