The Blessings of Raising a Family in Atchison County
When I think about all the benefits of living in Atchison County, it is easy to count my blessings. I grew up in Columbia, Missouri, which is a major metropolitan area compared to here. It seemed that every minute was soaked up with some hectic, hurry-up activity. There were always more than enough things to do and places to go. Ironically, one of the best things about Atchison County is the noticeably finite number of things to do and places to go. In one respect, a lack of a prolific number of eateries and events is a blessing: without a million things to do, I find myself spending more quality time at home with my family, instead of running here or there. A noticeable characteristic of the people here in Atchison County is the solid foundation of family, which undoubtedly is the product of increased amount of time spent together as a family.
The pace of life is certainly slower here, quite a blessing in itself. Although the pace is slower, it is amazing how much gets accomplished. Everything gets taken care of in due course, from the crops to the cows to school to sports. Hard work is engrained in the landscape and lines on the men and women’s faces; passed down from generation to generation. We are a shining example that a strong work ethic makes up for an over-revved pace. While Atchison County may not have all the bells and whistles, I have come to realize that nearly everything we need is right here. We have a couple of nice grocery stores and general stores. The lumber yards and hardware stores seem to have almost everything we need. We are blessed with local utility providers and home-town pharmacies and professional services. Nowhere have I experienced better health care than Atchison County. The reason is quite simple: our medical care providers care about us; a concept that seems to be missing elsewhere. It is such a blessing to have doctors and nurses who know us personally, know and love our children, and want the best for us.
Speaking of the tradition of hard work, it is an impressive testimony to Atchison County that families can traces their roots back generations here. I first thought that it was a joke when Dan, my husband, said he was related to half the people in Fairfax, but he was not exaggerating too much. I have come to find out that the people here have incredible ties to this place, and families seem to grow and grow. It sometimes seems as if Atchison County is an integral part of the families here. I know that Dan truly believes this is God’s country, he complains any time he has to leave the county. Many others are the same way, dedicating their lives to Atchison County. I respect everyone who supports the efforts in this county through money, time and prayers.
Folks around here are friendly, almost to a fault. I have felt at home here from the first time I visited. The first time I went to town with Dan, it seemed that everyone knew him, had a funny story about him and generally cared for him. Living here I have found that I was right, the people of Atchison County care for their own, and everyone is our neighbor. Whether they know you well or not the people here are looking out for the best interests of others. Surely, tight-knit churches and small class sizes at school yield solid relationships. The community of Atchison County is like one big family. We all love each other although we do not always get along. This county and its people never fail to come together when needed. It seems there are no strangers living in Atchison County; I can be comfortable with my children playing in the park or in the yard. We all keep a watchful eye on each other’s children, in reality they are all our children.
Growing up in Columbia, I never would have dreamed of living on a farm in the middle of the country; no Taco Bell, no Target. It is funny to look back on my life in the past and compare it with my life today. I know that God has led me here; he has blessed me with my life here. We encourage our children to use the skills and blessings that God has given them to give back to their community. It is my hope that after they have explored and fine-tuned the gifts that God has given them that they may bring those gifts back home. Atchison County is my husband’s home, it is my home, it is my children’s home; Atchison County is our family’s home.
-Ginny Smith, Stay-at-home mom of four (Oliver 8, Charlie 5, Mack 2, and Henry 2)