Converting city dwellers to country folks

Converting city dwellers to country folks?  Is it even possible?  Many city people yearn to move from the city rat race into the calm and beautiful country side. They long for a more peaceful and contented life in harmony with the world.

Yet some city people get a bit of a shock when they move to their dream homestead because in their minds they have not had a  realistic impression of what country life, and especially county people, would be like.

I know I stumbled when I first moved from city living to our first homestead, and wanted to share my thoughts about the transition and how people new to the country life can prepare for sliding into country living and their local community.

These are big stroke broad generalizations…but for some they hold very true:-

Converting city dwellers to country folks.

1. Country people are not dumb!  They think just like city folks and often more about local issues. They are very intelligent and have more knowledge of local conditions than you will ever find in books or online.  Respect this fact and you will move far ahead in fitting in.  Too many city folks assume country people are “not as clever” and can be conned and easily manipulated. This is so far from the truth that it makes me smile just thinking about it. Be aware…you will be outwitted if you want to play that game!

2. Country people have a very strong connection to history, especially in relation to their land and community.  They are suspicious of any attempt to ignore that history and commonly reject any social experiments that could damage their town or community. Another way to look at it is this – county people have come from a long line of ‘living on the edge’ traditions.   This means they know that plans that jeopardize their small community if they fail are not worth the risk.  The same plans in the city may be able to be tried as the city community may not be living as close to the edge due the shear number of people.

3. Country people are suspicious of new people. They are often very friendly at first, but want to see new people put in an effort for the whole community before they accept them.  Community service over a good period of time is the way to be accepted.

4. Country people hold their beliefs deep within their hearts and souls but often are very quiet about their beliefs. They are less likely to “blow in the wind” than some city people. Be careful when spouting your own belief system…you may offend people. Just because they don’t wear their belief on their sleeve does not mean that they wanting to hear or understand yours.

5. Country people have worked hard, often struggled for generations, to get what they have, and may not be willing to share or lend to new folks. This is not a sign of being unfriendly. It comes from years of independence that needs to be respected.

6. There is “royalty” in some communities. Some country families appear to have a born-in power base in the community. You need to understand this dynamic when trying to get things done in the community as a “newbie”. Finding this out can be difficult unless you build a trusted friendship with a reliable (ie not the town gossip) confidant.

7.  Country people watch each others backs!   When a disaster hits, country people are always there to help each other – even people they don’t know.   To fit in, be prepared to do the same!   Shovel a neighbors snow in a bad blizzard.  Help when a tractor or car is having problems etc.

8. Country people remember everything in their community.  A small altercation with one person in the community will be known by all and for ever.  This is not to say people don’t forgive – but if you treat a person unfairly then it will be ever written on your ‘record’.  The shear number of people in a city means that people can hide in anonymity.  This does not happen in a community in the country.  Treat everyone like you wish to be treated and you will benefit always.

Our good neighbor Jack and me

Converting city dwellers to country folks – how long do you have to be in a community before you feel like you are part of the group? 

It takes time.  In some places a long long time.  In other, an eternity!  But by understanding the people and willing to be part of their community, the time will be shorter.   Unlike a city where you can live amongst millions in complete isolation, in the country you can’t (even if you try).

My advice is to enjoy the journey – as your lifetime friends will be found in the country!

Here is a few other peoples ideas:

City vs country living