When I was growing up there were 4 elementary schools in town. We had the great advantage of very small class sizes! (Now there is one elementary school and the other schools have been completely re-vamped. My school is now a church. Another school is an apartment building. And the other one is an art studio. The fourth school is the Catholic school which is still in use!)
My friends and I started babysitting when we were in junior high school- what were those moms thinking?! I guess since it is such a small town, they figured they or a neighbor could get there to help very quickly. And, neighbors were always willing to help.
There are two lakes just outside of town where I learned to swim in the seaweed and skip rocks. Our family spent hours walking or biking around the lake, picnicking, playing whiffle ball, and throwing rocks into the lake. We even camped a couple of times. Those were not the best experiences. Suffice it to say, our family, tents and thunderstorms seem to make it into the same sentence when describing those experiences.
Because our school was small, we all had to participate in as many activities as we could manage so there would be enough people for each team. I had the privilege to participate in band, basketball, track, declam, and tennis at school. We were also involved in piano lessons, 4-H, church, and just about anything else we could find to do.
Growing up in a small town gave me the opportunity to have a huge variety of experiences in a low pressure environment which helped me make wise decisions once I left. I didn't leave because I hated living there; I left because God had other plans for me. Just because I left definitely does not mean that I am ungrateful or was unhappy!
Thank you, Lord, for Madison, South Dakota!