I’ve been reading a book about raising kids in a cruising environment (ie. living aboard a boat and sailing around the world), and it makes the claim that kids raised in this environment tend to be extremely responsible and well-adjusted, as well as having a very high standard of education, probably in part because of the level of responsibility and focus required — “need” definitely facilitates development — and likely the happiness and freedom and sense of amazement that the lifestyle brings. I think that farm life quite often has a similar effect due to the dual forces of responsibility and a life of wonder and joy, although I think that in farm life parents have to be more dedicated because there’s more opportunity to stray!
Sort of rambling here, but on one hand the city life is really nice because it has many wonderful programs and opportunities that a concentrated population of people generate, but I think the sort of creative play that really brings personal growth happens by transforming simplicity into magic… Nefarious would far rather go to the grocery store and find boxes to drag home to build houses with than go to the toy store for something that has glittery desire-appeal but zero play potential — and I don’t think there’s anything unusual about that. It’s totally fun — pick through the boxes for the perfect ones, build a structure, recycle some of the boxes, go to the store for upgrades… There are of course a million variations and an infinite number of ways to play. Companies spend billions of dollars trying to convince parents that they’re letting their kids down if they don’t spend a mountain of money on junk, but the reality is that loving time and the freedom to play is the extent of what’s needed, and that’s pretty much zero cost. Unfortunately the alternative — canned and shallow entertainment — leaves kids with no vision, kids that are actually able to be “bored” in this amazing world.