Best in show

November 12, 2008

We have good schools, and we compare well with other Indiana cities on things like crime rates, air quality, job growth and household expenditires. We have kid-friendly amenities like parks and the zoo and Science Central. So:

Business Week magazine released its list of best places to raise children, and the Summit City earned the top spot in the state of Indiana.

The list, ranked on a state-by-state basis, includes cities with 50,000 or more residents and a median family income between $40,000 and $100,000, according to a Business Week story.

[. . .]

Following Fort Wayne on the list were Indianapolis and Bloomington.

All those things are important to the quality of life, but even with them, I don’t think you can say one city is the “best” in which to raise kids. This is a good place to raise some kids, not so good for others. Patty Martone, a retired FWCS assitant superintendent, wrote a guest column for us this week that gets at which ones the city is best for: “Throughout my life, particular relationships have produced the best friends of that period. Two of my pre-school, kindergarten alliances come to mind. Phyllis and Jean were my Bloomingdale neighborhood best friends . . . Throughout grade school and high school, new friends appeared . . . The circle grew, and I worked diligently to keep old friends while broadening the base.”

This was the best place for Patty to be raised in not because of all the amenities but because of the friends she shared those amentities with. She was born here, and all her life she has had a support network of family and friends. No other place would have been as good for her, even if it had all the amenities in the world.

And Fourseam, Ky., was the best place for me to be raised, though it had not a single thing you would think of as an amenity. There was a coal company commissary, one church and a three-room schoolhouse. Most people didn’t even have indoor plumbing. But my aunt and uncle and cousin lived just up the road, and all my parents’ relatives lived in the same county less than an hour’s drive away. I was mostly already “raised” (by my standards, at least) at age 12 when we moved to Fort Wayne. But, still, it was one of the most jarring experiences of my life to realize that, once I walked out of my parents’ house for that first day of school, I was on my own.

If we want to do a better job of raising our kids, maybe we should do a better job of staying in one place instead of trying to find the “best” place.

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One Response to “Best in show”

  1. Bob G. Says:

    Now THAT sounds like the BEST plan I’ve heard in some while.

    Then again, kids in MY part of town are never “raised”…they’re merely bred.

    Must be that “parenting” thing that used to be in vogue ALL OVER (and still is in nice parts of town) that’s lacking around here.

    😉


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