I recently read a Washington Post article about raising successful kids. Don’t we ALL want to raise successful children? I think that’s the number one goal of all parents. But there are more factors at work in the process of raising children than just our parenting skills (thank goodness!)40-50 years of research tells us buying into a good neighborhood is one of the most important… Click To Tweet
Why Environment Trumps Parenting Practices
Have you ever considered where you grew up? Like, have you ever taken a moment to dissect the elements of your childhood? The actual physical location of your home has a lot to do with how successful you are today. Here’s why:
Where did you live? On a 60-acre farm in the country or in a small apartment in the city? If you lived in the country, chances are you were much further from your neighbors geographically, but that you probably had much more meaningful relationships with them. I grew up on about 30 acres of land in a small village in central Michigan. My sister and I had two friends, the girls who lived across the street. The next kid our age was over a mile away and was a boy…yuk. Regardless of how far we lived from each other, our neighbors depended on us and we on them. It was like having a large extended family. Our neighbors were even allowed to discipline us if necessary (“don’t ride your bike down the middle of the road!”)
If you lived in the city, then perhaps you had thousands of neighbors in your building from all different walks of life. That makes things a little more complicated. See, regardless of whether you consider yourself open-minded and un-prejudiced, we are all naturally drawn to people who look like and think like us. It’s not a bad thing and you’re not a bad person. You’re just following your instincts.
Who did you hang out with? Did you have close friends? Did family live near by? Did you hang out with the “wrong crowd”? I recently shared a post on my Facebook page about how important it is to spend time with people who uplift and motivate you. My children are still fairly young so I try to emphasize this point.You are the average of the FIVE people you spend the most time with. ~ Jim Rohn. Click To Tweet
Who you spend your time with is a critical factor in determining the direction of your life. I always try to have a mentor, someone who is a few steps ahead of me, doing what I want to be doing. I have friends who are more spiritually connected than me so they can keep me accountable and on the “straight and narrow path” (Matthew 7:14). I also like to be the “two-steps-ahead” friend. In my mind, it isn’t fair if I’m using everyone around me to better myself if I’m not also leading others and using what I learn to help them improve their lifestyle. But our neighborhood limits the kinds of people we can connect with.
What can you do about it? There are really only two options:
- Get to know your neighbors.
It really is that cut and dry. In an upcoming article, I’ll share the tips my husband and I learned from a millionaire mentor that helped us get into a great school district, in a lovely neighborhood, for less than half of what other people were buying in for.