Author Topic: Possible problem with moving to a more rural place with children when you retire  (Read 7491 times)

SpendyMcSpend

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http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/as-jobs-become-scarce-teenagers-drive-farther-to-find-work/?mabReward=A4&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&region=CColumn&module=Recommendation&src=rechp&WT.nav=RecEngine

This article talks about teenagers having trouble finding local part-time jobs and having to travel 25 miles each way to work.  It is a good point that if my SO and I were to up and move to the middle of Colorado or Wyoming it's important that our children have the opportunities for extracurriculars, work experience, internships, mentorships and other things that are more readily found in cities and close suburbs.

Welcome discussion on this topic and how you plan to mitigate this issue.

driftwood

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I think teens can get better benefits in looking forworking at a local small business than looking for the chain store jobs.

Don't look for the pizza delivery/drug store type jobs.  Look for local businesses/farms that are looking for inexpensive labor. 

This depends on your community and how well you know your neighbors.  I grew up in rural Ohio and there were many opportunities outside of the local McDonalds.  One of my dad's friends owned his own welding business... perfect opportunity to learn a valuable skill and make some money in an apprenticeship-type job.  One of my sisters found a job at a guy's backyard machining shop.  I loaded/unloaded hay during hay season for my uncle.  He'd hire kids from the local area to help out, so that opportunity was available for others who weren't his family.  I'd look hard at the farms in the area.  There are loads of good work/learning opportunities even if you don't want to be a farmer.  In fact, I prefer this type of work over ALL hourly setups at chain businesses.  I busted my ass to load hay fast, and got paid by the load.  I got to work outside a lot, which I love.  If I had an idea to do something better, I was listened to.  I always had the opportunity to ask questions and be taught.  Many times you can earn your way to more responsiblity than many high school graduates have. 

slschierer

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There have always been teenagers who were willing to drive further for the "opportunity" to work at a mall or similar retail establishment, but there are always lots of opportunities in towns for work.  Farm work is an excellent example of work options that are always available in a rural area.  I also worked as a part-time clerk for a couple of area lawyers (5 mile drive), detassel-ed corn, and I had several regular babysitting jobs during summers.   Each of those jobs offer an opportunity to learn how it feels to earn money on my own. I also learned how to work with and for a variety of different types of people.  I think that living in a rural area taught me the value of hard work and how to seek out opportunities on my own.

Gone Fishing

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Just like so may things in life there are significant trade offs when choosing to live in rural areas vs suburban vs urban.  There is no doubt that you will probably have less social contact if you move to a remote area (kinda the point in my mind).  You just have to pick what is more important to you and live with your decision.  I often say that you can have anything you want (within reason) but not everything you want.  Trying to go the extra mile (or 25 as the case may be) so you can have "everything" is a recipe for excessive driving, overspending, burnout, and completely missing what you moved to the country for in the first place.  That said, a lot of rural residents that are more affluent and mobile seem to do "stints" in various places, enjoying what each has to offer, then moving on to something else when the shine wears off, the kids get older, etc.  No problem with this approach if the expenses are managed appropriately (sadly, many do not).  I love our rural property but could certainly see myself doing some sort of seasonal snow bird type of arrangement just to mix things up a bit at some point.

As it is, we are 10 miles or so from town, 5 miles from one school and 6 or 7 from the other.  We have managed to keep the taxiing to a reasonable level, but I can see that it will increase to some degree as the kids engage in more activities.  Interestingly enough, even though there are several other families in our vicinity, our efforts to carpool have not been sucessful as the other families are batching their activites/errands as well.  A mustachian biker would cringe at the idea, but I very well may end up driving my kids to their jobs and picking them up when they are done if need be (cheaper and safer than buying them a car) when the time comes. 

The internet, while not a perfect substitute for live interaction,  has probably done more to level exposure to the outside world than anything else for rural residents. But sadly it is also probably reducing interaction with those closest geographically as everyone becomes plugged in. 


SwordGuy

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Biking 5 to 7 miles to school or work is perfectly reasonable for a kid in middle school.

teen persuasion

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We've been living in a rural area for twenty years now (not retired), and it is definitely an issue.  I've driven the kids 25 miles to work a summer job at the amusement park that hires tons (not much available locally otherwise).  It was doable when I worked little and DH was off summers, but my job has ramped up and summers are my busy season and DH is working year round now, so DD3 can't follow her older sibs lead there.

Another issue with rural areas is lack of local colleges.  The three oldest have all lived in the dorms in college, since most "local" colleges are >25 miles away (most colleges use this as mandatory live on campus distance).  Room and board are running $12k or more this year, and many have mandatory live on campus freshman year rules to boot.  Can't save money living at home.

As DS4 nears college, and DS5 gets to MS, I'm really getting the itch to downsize and simplify our lives.  Living in the village where we could walk to school, church, library (work for me) would be a big improvement over always needing to drive someone somewhere.  Unfortunately, there are no grocery or other stores in our village, so I'd still need to drive either to the city west of us or to the other county east of us for groceries, and 25+ miles to the burbs/metro area south of us for other shopping beyond Wal-Mart.  Helps beat consumerism, though - just too much trouble to go shopping.

sheepstache

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I think teens can get better benefits in looking forworking at a local small business than looking for the chain store jobs.

Don't look for the pizza delivery/drug store type jobs.  Look for local businesses/farms that are looking for inexpensive labor. 

This depends on your community and how well you know your neighbors.  I grew up in rural Ohio and there were many opportunities outside of the local McDonalds.  One of my dad's friends owned his own welding business... perfect opportunity to learn a valuable skill and make some money in an apprenticeship-type job.  One of my sisters found a job at a guy's backyard machining shop.  I loaded/unloaded hay during hay season for my uncle.  He'd hire kids from the local area to help out, so that opportunity was available for others who weren't his family.  I'd look hard at the farms in the area.  There are loads of good work/learning opportunities even if you don't want to be a farmer.  In fact, I prefer this type of work over ALL hourly setups at chain businesses.  I busted my ass to load hay fast, and got paid by the load.  I got to work outside a lot, which I love.  If I had an idea to do something better, I was listened to.  I always had the opportunity to ask questions and be taught.  Many times you can earn your way to more responsiblity than many high school graduates have.

I think this is a great point. The jobs that are easy to get or at the mall or etc. may not be the best jobs for them to have. A lot of those jobs just teach people to take orders and not think.

I'm not saying kids should never take those jobs, you can still learn a lot from them. But being out in a rural area or where jobs are scarce could teach them about work that's more than just punching a time clock or about making their own opportunities.

Bracken_Joy

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I bucked and stacked hay. And I biked 8 miles into school for high school.

Rural isn't so bad =)

caliq

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+1 on farm work

Teaches so much more than folding clothes at Hollister or whatever.  Especially if there are animals to be responsible for.

Left

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+1 on farm work

Teaches so much more than folding clothes at Hollister or whatever.  Especially if there are animals to be responsible for.
:D I still don't know take care of animals. I try to feed them and they wont come when I call so I throw it at them and then they chase me :(. Horses scare me but chickens are the worst, they don't understand that I don't like being pecked. Dumb things won't even let me pet them.

With the internet, I'm not entirely sure if the next generation of kids won't be working partially online anyways.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 06:39:56 PM by eyem »

Pigeon

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We lived in a fairly rural area for a while. While I personally liked it a lot, I would not have wanted to raise kids that way. There are many more extracurriculars and other opportunities in the burbs where we live now that have been great for them.

 My kids are non white and there was no ethnic diversity at all in the rural area where we lived. We have visited with them, and they were openly stared at, where as here nobody looks twice.

caliq

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+1 on farm work

Teaches so much more than folding clothes at Hollister or whatever.  Especially if there are animals to be responsible for.
:D I still don't know take care of animals. I try to feed them and they wont come when I call so I throw it at them and then they chase me :(. Horses scare me but chickens are the worst, they don't understand that I don't like being pecked. Dumb things won't even let me pet them.

With the internet, I'm not entirely sure if the next generation of kids won't be working partially online anyways.

Kids will keep up with technology pretty much anywhere -- I don't think that being rural vs. urban or suburban will matter much for those kinds of skills.

My point about caring for animals was more about like, the personal responsibility it teaches you.  The horses don't give a shit if you have a cold or your back is achy, they start banging the barn down if they're not fed on time every morning (and it's early every morning!).  Also, the poo piles up even if you're having a busy week or whatever.  It's not really about the actual ability to take care of the animals (it's really not difficult to dump a scoop of grain in a bucket or throw a hay flake), and more about the intangibles. 

Chickens are terrible.  I don't know why you'd want to pet them...and I can't offer much advice for you on the horse thing, cause I was one of those pony-obsessed little girls whose parents actually indulged them.  Been hanging around barns since I was 4 ;)

SpendyMcSpend

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I'm confused as to why you would live in a town with no grocery store or other stores for 25 miles?  Do you do a lot of home growing?

Left

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Quote
Kids will keep up with technology pretty much anywhere -- I don't think that being rural vs. urban or suburban will matter much for those kinds of skills.
This is what I meant, with the internet and online work, kids in the rural areas will be able to keep up with city kids if they wanted to with things concerning the internet.

Though they might have less "expertise" to consult/learn from out on the farm than in a city from lack of number of people that they can bounce ideas off of. Internet is great for somethings, learning to create/put ideas together is more of a mentor - student thing to me. Internet can substitute part of it, but not all.

I still want to know why I can't pick up the chickens as I feed them, youtube makes them look cute and easy doing it :S
« Last Edit: April 01, 2015, 07:32:25 PM by eyem »

Syonyk

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Given that my wife & I are working on moving to a very rural area when our daughter is around 1...

We're aware of this.  And, we feel that the positives outweigh the negatives, substantially.  Mostly in that we'll be able to work a whole lot less, and I'll be able to work from home easily.  Between gardens, animals, and other projects, we feel it will be a better place for kids to grow up (it's actually right about where my wife grew up), and staying in the suburbs (somewhere we truly hate living) because of some possible future benefit isn't a tradeoff we want to make.

And, internet.  I'll pay for the hardware to run a good connection out to our place if I have to.

11ducks

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 Horses scare me but chickens are the worst, they don't understand that I don't like being pecked. Dumb things won't even let me pet them.


Humans are the  worst - they don't understand that I don't like being petted. Dumb things won't even let me peck them (you have to imagine the chicken voice)

Bracken_Joy

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I did read a very concerning study recently that trends teen suicide rates. I guess that rates among rural teens has been increasing while rates among urban teens remains virtually unchanged, so that gap is widening substantially over the last 15 years. I'm curious on people's thoughts.

Ah, found the link to a news site talking about the study: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/rural-youth-suicides_n_6867420.html
And the study itself: http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2195006

teen persuasion

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I'm confused as to why you would live in a town with no grocery store or other stores for 25 miles?  Do you do a lot of home growing?

Homes are very inexpensive, community is wonderful, school district has an excellent music program (that my kids have embraced enthusiastically), lack of city and suburban crime, land...

There are definite pros to living here, but they are balanced by cons, mostly the time and expense of driving longer distances, and lack of services.  Another that comes to mind is increased heating costs, due to lack of natural gas service.  Oil was cheap when we last replaced our heating system (and had to decide: propane or oil?), but we obviously guessed wrong.  Propane is currently cheaper than oil, but natural gas is better still.  These are all cost considerations for a Mustachian.

Bracken_Joy

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I'm confused as to why you would live in a town with no grocery store or other stores for 25 miles?  Do you do a lot of home growing?

It's amazing what can be delivered by mail now =P Amazon has a grocery program, and/or subscribe and save can make specialty items the same price anywhere. Veggies you can grow, put up, and use throughout the year. Staples you can buy in bulk quarterly. Services like Azure Standard are making this all much easier as well.

Lots of options, and going to a grocery store less saves a lot of money in impulse purchases.

teen persuasion

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I'm confused as to why you would live in a town with no grocery store or other stores for 25 miles?  Do you do a lot of home growing?

Your question got me thinking.  I realized that things have changed in the 20 years we have been here.  When we left the big city, we walked everywhere we could: library, park, church, college, etc.  However, there were no true grocery stores in the city at that time, so we still had to drive to the 'burbs to shop, so that was normal.  When we moved here, there WAS a mall within 10 miles, and other chain stores within 7.  The chains closed, and Wal-Mart killed the mall (literally - they said the only acceptable site for them to build a Superstore on was the mall land).  When we moved in, we had 2 young kids and a third on the way; now we have 5, 3 college and beyond.  It is amazing how much more time you spend on older kids' activities.  When the kids started school, their elementary school was nearby.  About ten years ago the district reconfigured the designation of the schools, so that the ES was in a farther village, and the MS and HS nearby.  With our kids range of ages, we had kids on both campuses, so driving for school events more.  I already mentioned change in energy prices in my last post, but include gas and property taxes in the changes, too.

Little changes over the years - I realized that we are the proverbial frog in a pot.  If we had the decision to make today, we would probably not to jump in the boiling water, but the water was not boiling 20 years ago.

MrsPete

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I grew up in the country.  I mean the real country.  It has its advantages, but it's absolutely true that it's a negative in terms of teens and jobs.  I was fortunate to get a small part-time job at my high school.  My brothers drove 20 miles to work at a fast food place. 

Farm jobs:  It's all well and good to say that teens should work on the farms, but these jobs are few and far between -- and, realistically, they go to the children of farmers and/or their friends and relatives.  For example, I rent out my farm land.  The farmer who tends my land (and the land of X  number of other people) employs his son as his "helper" and his wife as bookkeeper.  He doesn't need (and probably can't afford) more help.  Yes, farmers DO hire extra help occasionally -- such as hay season -- but that's only a few days of work.  As for working with animals, most farmers keep only as many animals as they can reasonably care for (really, beef cattle, for example, don't require loads of work on a regular basis), and -- again -- if the farmer does need help, he's probably going to hire his nephew rather than a stranger.  Additionally, these jobs tend to go to guys, leaving the ladies jobless. 

Babysitting:  I always wanted to babysit, but I never found a family who needed a regular sitter.  My own girls were the same way.  We all "sat" on the occasional Friday or Saturday night, but it was never a regular thing.  My daughter's roommate, however, had a great after-school gig that lasted two years while she was in high school.  Great deal for her -- but not something you can count on finding.

If I were suddenly a teen again in that situation, I could do better.  Today I'd use care.com to search for babysitting gigs, and I'd also consider offering help to the elderly who might need just a couple hours of assistance in cleaning and cooking each week.  I'd consider putting up signs by the library, etc.  My parents were always willing to drive us to/from jobs, even late at night, but they weren't particularly supportive in terms of helping us FIND jobs.  Some adult guidance would've been useful to me at that point in my life. 

I suppose that's the real moral here:  If you choose to live in the country, be prepared to "be there" for your teen when he or she is ready for a job.  Kids need guidance through those first jobs, and country kids DO have fewer opportunities than their city counterparts. 

Living in the country definitely has its perks -- we still own land, and when we retire, we're heading back that way as quick as we can rent a U-Haul truck -- but for a teenager, the job scene is a negative.
Biking 5 to 7 miles to school or work is perfectly reasonable for a kid in middle school.
Middle school?  No.  High school, maybe.  Biking on country roads where I grew up wouldn't have been a particularly safe choice.  Narrow roads; no shoulders; and with distances so far between ... well, everything, people tend to drive fast.  Keep in mind, too, that typical teenaged jobs -- say, at the grocery store or the CVS -- tend to keep the kids working 'til 9:00, then they have to spend perhaps 30 minutes "closing".  That'd put them on the roads after dark. 

Realistically, a country teen either needs a vehicle or a family member who's willing to drive him.
Another issue with rural areas is lack of local colleges.  The three oldest have all lived in the dorms in college, since most "local" colleges are >25 miles away (most colleges use this as mandatory live on campus distance).  Room and board are running $12k or more this year, and many have mandatory live on campus freshman year rules to boot.  Can't save money living at home.
Yes, living in a rural place does cut down on your options for higher education.  Most schools DO allow freshmen to live off-campus with their parents; however, it often requires a waiver.  Regardless, if your college student lives at home and commutes 25 miles, he or she will probably need a reliable car, and that commute will cut into time for studying /working.  It's something each family must consider in the balance when choosing a school. 
I think this is a great point. The jobs that are easy to get or at the mall or etc. may not be the best jobs for them to have. A lot of those jobs just teach people to take orders and not think.

I'm not saying kids should never take those jobs, you can still learn a lot from them. But being out in a rural area or where jobs are scarce could teach them about work that's more than just punching a time clock or about making their own opportunities.
Disagree.  I think those jobs are fine for teens.  They're learning to deal with people in a different way, and while scooping up ice cream or selling shoes may not be as valuable as an internship, etc. in terms of future employability, the shoe-selling job is a whole lot easier to get. 

And a big plus:  I've known plenty of teens who've had "a-ha moments" while working such jobs.  My own daughter had one recently.  She got a job waiting tables in a retirement home, and she's learned a whole lot that has nothing to do with food.  For example, she complained heartily about her mean boss, and I said optimistic, encouraging things ... 'til the afternoon I went with my daughter to pick up her paycheck, and I saw the boss in action.  Looking at her with adult eyes, a whole lot of things fell into place for me:  The boss is a 30-something woman with no education and few job prospects, and she enjoys being mean to the teenaged honors students whom she knows will not be working in food service all their lives.  I understood why she's always really nice to the idiot girl (yeah, she's a student at my high school, she is genuinely an idiot); she knows that girl will follow in her footsteps and will have it rough.  Oh, and there's some racial stuff going on too.  Yes, while I stood around for that half hour, everything my daughter had been telling me fell into place.  On the way home, I pointed out to her WHY this boss is so nasty to her, and my daughter learned a life lesson about work.  At 17, she didn't have the life experience to process it all.  After that, she was better able to deal with this boss.  Not all lessons are positive.  Anyway, having a crappy job can be good for a kid. 


Syonyk

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Another that comes to mind is increased heating costs, due to lack of natural gas service.  Oil was cheap when we last replaced our heating system (and had to decide: propane or oil?), but we obviously guessed wrong.  Propane is currently cheaper than oil, but natural gas is better still.

Have you considered solar augmentation of heating?  You can build trombe walls or other solar collectors fairly inexpensively, and take advantage of one of the huge perks of rural living: Nobody cares what you do (within reason... and it's a pretty big area of reason).

You could also put up thermal collectors for a hot water system and do some hot water heating, or get a woodstove in one of the common areas and heat that way (my wife's parent's heat almost entirely with wood, with a little bit of baseboard heat if they're away - just to keep things from freezing).  There are plenty of interesting options that don't involve natural gas or oil.  Also, if you are heating with oil, aggressive weatherproofing will probably pay for itsself inside a month.

Blonde Lawyer

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Regarding "following orders and not thinking" I actually think that is a great skill for teenagers to learn.  The real world workplace requires a mix of independent thinking and innovation and just doing what the boss wants you to do.  It is important to learn how to deal with @$$holes with a smile and not let it bother you personally.  Retail / waitressing is a great place to learn that skill.  While I get that MMM is about marching to the beat of your own drum and retiring early, the reality is that most people have to work for "the man" for sometime to save the money to be able to do that.  The people I know who never learned to take orders have a had a really rough time in both corporate workplaces and anything w/ a paramilitary structure like law enforcement.  I actually think so much of what I know about dealing with my clients I learned waitressing in high school.

Also, assuming most people here are fairly well off, I think it is great for your kids to work alongside people from different backgrounds.  As a waitress, I worked with adults that relied solely on their waitressing paycheck / tips to pay their rent.  It was very eye opening.

Bracken_Joy

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Also, assuming most people here are fairly well off, I think it is great for your kids to work alongside people from different backgrounds.  As a waitress, I worked with adults that relied solely on their waitressing paycheck / tips to pay their rent.  It was very eye opening.

The single most motivating thing for me through college was the time I worked construction and as a flagger over summers. Seeing people struggle to get jobs and make ends meet, baking in the sun, being harassed by drivers (I'm female, this didn't help), really motivated me to make money in a more sustainable and secure way.

Bob W

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We live in the Lake of the Ozarks area in Missouri.   I consider our area rural although there is a highway that goes around most of the 100 mile long lake.   There are plenty of stores on the highway but if you go just 5 miles away from the lake it becomes pretty rural.   There are 40,000 people in the primary county around the lake.   We have colleges and typical small town jobs.

In the summer my bosses daughter (16) earned 10K last year as a gas pump dock girl.   Other opportunities are for servers who can also make 10K in a summer.   Our school (Camdenton -- look it up)  is top rated.  I think all the schools have robotics programs.  aThey have tons of money because the 400K - 2,000K lake front homes pay a hefty amount of taxes even though they don't have kids in the school system.

So it is the best of worlds here.     If you want a small farm of say 40 acres for 200K that is doable.   Lake front -- doable.  Our house is a 3,000 sq ft on 3 acre lot in a small development --200K. 

It is in the Ozarks --- Hills,  trees,  green,  lot of water and rain (water literally bubbles out of the ground around here)  4 seasons,  some nasty weather in the winter,  summers can be mild or scorchers.   Missouri is rated the number 1 hiking and camping state.  We have the Katy Rails to Trails bike path that is like 300 miles long and are add another 2-300 soon.   

So yes,  you can retire nicely here however you choose and you kids can have a very good time.   

We live about 7 miles from most stuff and are pretty used to the drive.   No traffic or stops so running to town is maybe 12 minutes.   Our neighbors have teens who drive themselves to work and school.

I can also add that our area is a very safe environment for the average teenager.  Sure there are drug issues and bad seeds like anywhere but in a small community everyone pretty knows what is up with who. 

Since we are a retirement and vacation destination it is a very welcoming and friendly environment. 

Politically the area votes Republican but my perception is that libertarian is a better description.    Low taxes seem to be the rule.   On the 200K house our taxes are $700 per year.    State income taxes are low.   

Come check us out http://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Missouri/Lake_Ozark.html

Mississippi Mudstache

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I grew up rural. Finding a job wasn't a problem. I cut firewood from our land all summer and sold it all winter. We had a 1/2 acre garden, blueberry bushes, muscadines, and pears that I tended to in the spring and summer. We sold blueberries for a few extra bucks in the spring. I had a couple of close friends 2-4 miles away. We would ride our bikes to visit them whenever we felt like it. We did have to drive to school, but we were close enough to a state university (15 miles) that I was able to do joint enrollment my last two years of high school to earn college credit (my high school was too small to offer AP).

I have to say, it was a great way to grow up. I wouldn't change a thing (except, maybe I should have driven a small car instead of the Ford Explorer that I drove all through high school and college!)

sheepstache

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Regarding "following orders and not thinking" I actually think that is a great skill for teenagers to learn.  The real world workplace requires a mix of independent thinking and innovation and just doing what the boss wants you to do.  It is important to learn how to deal with @$$holes with a smile and not let it bother you personally.  Retail / waitressing is a great place to learn that skill.

Ha ha, yep that was one of the skills I was thinking of when I said kids could still learn a lot from them.

Miss Prim

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We moved to an area where we could have some acreage, but it is not too far from town and a decent size city.  I think it is the best of both worlds.  We get to raise chickens and garden and have a some space and our kids could drive to work when they were 16.  But, they had to have access to a car.

 Before that, they cleaned the neighbor's house and worked with their dad in his office cleaning business.  They worked from the time they were young and it was encouraged by us to help them have a good work ethic.  They are both hard workers now and doing well in their fields.

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Where you go in the Ozarks makes a world of difference! LOL.  I'm sure where you are it's lovely, but in the past few months where my dad is (outside of Stover, but down by the lake) there's been three major incidences - woman tried to hire someone to off her sister-in-law (busted!), man tried to buy a gun to off Obama (busted!) and then when we were walking around in the woods we were warned by two boys to watch out for their meth-head cousin that was running around.   

Point being - it really, really matters which side of the lake you are on!  The lower income side where a mustachian might be tempted to buy land might also come with some less than savory neighbors.

Worse thing that's happened lately in my KC neighborhood?  Some spray-painted phallic shapes on cars - frustrating, but not....scary! 

MrsPete

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The single most motivating thing for me through college was the time I worked construction and as a flagger over summers. Seeing people struggle to get jobs and make ends meet, baking in the sun, being harassed by drivers (I'm female, this didn't help), really motivated me to make money in a more sustainable and secure way.
My husband would say something similar.  He finished high school and took a job in a factory, thinking his salary was quite nice.  His father wisely saw that he "wasn't there yet" and let him work in that job for two years.  After two years of hard work in the cold German winters, and after realizing that he wasn't getting raises and couldn't afford to move out of his dad's house ... he saw the point in college.  But he says he needed the experience of working in a go-nowhere job to figure this out for himself.

Bob W

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Where you go in the Ozarks makes a world of difference! LOL.  I'm sure where you are it's lovely, but in the past few months where my dad is (outside of Stover, but down by the lake) there's been three major incidences - woman tried to hire someone to off her sister-in-law (busted!), man tried to buy a gun to off Obama (busted!) and then when we were walking around in the woods we were warned by two boys to watch out for their meth-head cousin that was running around.   

Point being - it really, really matters which side of the lake you are on!  The lower income side where a mustachian might be tempted to buy land might also come with some less than savory neighbors.

Worse thing that's happened lately in my KC neighborhood?  Some spray-painted phallic shapes on cars - frustrating, but not....scary!

The county crime statistics show average in Camden County.  I can't recall a murder (I think there was 2 in the last couple of years?) that wasn't family related.  Like anywhere it is where you live and who you hang out with.   If you read the weekly police reports about 90% of it is weed and DWI.  We do have twice the DWI rate as the rest of the state do primarily to the overzealous enforcement by the "beer police."   2 beers is considered intoxicated.

So yeah,  it is just about as safe as anywhere I guess.   I personally didn't lock my front door for about 4 years and left my keys in the ignition of my truck most of time.   

Your KC "neighborhood" may appear safe but I assure you that KC is a dangerous city overall.   So yeah,  wherever you live,  pick a decent location.