1. I learned how to love and be loved.
In my small town, everyone is so close. My family made me as a person, my friends made up my family, and everyone else—even those I didn’t know to such an extent—still had a special role in my community and in my heart.
It is so much easier to accept the love given to you when you are surrounded by it. Growing up, I always had friends to play with. When I matured, it was easy to find love in places like those friendships because it was there from the very beginning, and I know it will be there to the very end.
2. I grew up with trust in my community.
When I was young, my parents worked constantly. They had just opened up a small business the year before I was born, and they had to build it up from nothing. Both, with little English skills, were faced with struggle, yet I don’t recall a single person in my small town that discouraged them.
A lot of the times, I walk into the restaurant now and people come up to me and say, “I remember you when you were just a baby!” Just a little girl, about “this” tall, etc. I love hearing that. Because I love that the people who supported my family’s restaurant from day one, are still here now.
3. I learned the golden rule from the people who set the best examples.
I swear, it doesn’t get better than living in a small town to learn the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. I’ve followed that my entire life. And it’s because I had the best examples in front of me.
In a small town, it is uncommon for out people to split. Of course, there is always a feud or two…but never to the point to where one wouldn’t support the other in times of major crisis. We work together most of the time, because that’s what we want from each other. That’s how it works around here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
4. That being said, there was ALWAYS someone there for me.
You’d think this would be the exact opposite. Common logic would say, if there are more people, there are more people that will be there for you. But in our case, BECAUSE there are so little of us, we are so much more trustworthy.
About a year ago, I had a flat tire coming home one night. I was stopped on the side of the highway, and like I said, there’s always that one person that will stop to see if you need any help. If that were to happen to me now, in Lexington, I’d have to change the flat by myself—and that wouldn’t be pretty. Here’s to hoping for car trouble in my hometown!
5. I learned to ask questions.
I was never intimidated by anyone to ask questions. I was never afraid to look stupid growing up in the classroom. My class size was so small, and we got so close…even if I did ask a stupid question, it never turned out to be a big deal.
I always knew my teachers. I knew of their lives because I saw them out at the grocery store that evening, or at the game that night. I knew of them, and I was never afraid to talk to them, because it was easy to realize that they were just people too. I was never afraid of this like I am now, and I’m glad, because I learned SO much.
6. I developed the best relationships.
I graduated with a class of 52 students. I know every one of their names’. Not a lot of people can say that. I know the majority of their parents’. I know who I can talk to during certain situations. I know who to go to for advice on this or that. And that is only, and always will be, beneficial to me.
7. I am not afraid to speak up.
If something’s going on in my community, or school. I was always able to talk to someone about it. Talk to teachers about ideas. Collaborate. I could do that.
And now, I’m not afraid to do that. I love that I became a genuine member of my community—no matter how small—because in times like these, it’s easy to feel worthless. I like feeling like I have a purpose, because it makes me want to be the better person that I know I can be.
Thanks for reading,