It's always interesting to travel. You always learn something, at least after you get through the hassle of boarding the plane. Better to drive, but then there is the time factor. In four hours you go from the West Coast to the East Coast on a plane, as opposed to two to three days by car. Either way, travel is always a learning experience.
Last week, we travelled to Atlanta, and reading a magazine in route, I came across an article about the state of Iowa, called the Field of Dreams. Within the article, touting the economic and educational privileges of Iowa and its educational system, there was a phrase that said, "TURNING RESEARCH INTO COMPANIES." The article highlighted how Iowa Colleges and Universities do an awesome job of training the state's work force. Secondarily, the educational system does a great job incubating the creation of new entrepreneurial opportunities and new companies.
When we returned home, we heard on the news that, in Chicago, they had killed the fortieth person for the year. 2013 is not even a month old. As you read this, you may think the Iowa and the Chicago stories may seem unrelated, but think again. It's an established fact that high unemployment and low education breeds poverty and tends to breed crime and lost opportunities. If you happen to be a parent, and you happen to be looking for better opportunities for your kid, why are you living in a community where the crime is high and the graduation rate is low? I say, look around.
A single mother I know whose son's friend was killed a few years ago, while attending a local high school in the Pasadena Unified School District, within weeks, quit her job, packed up, and moved to a small town in the Midwest, to save her son. The new scenery spawned new friends and relationships for her son and a new outlook on life. He got a job with a major corporation, she got a better job and reports that life is good and the opportunities for the both of them has greatly improved. I applaud that mother.
While the article I was reading told of how so many companies grew out of the Iowa University system, they called it a START-UP CITY. California spawned Silicon Valley in Northern California for its Technological business communities. Iowa has a county area called, CREATIVE CORRIDOR, from Iowa City to Cedar Rapids. The area is home to 50 Fortune 500 companies with diverse companies from places like Kraft Foods, John Deere and Winnebago, to technological industries. Manufacturing jobs make Iowa the sixth most productive area in the country.
There is, of course, all the other things you need for a good life, i.e., culture, music, jazz festivals, rheaters, and life enriching activities like fishing. And, oh yes, your kid can play ball and play music. It doesn't have to be Iowa, but do a little research into other potential progressive areas.
On a personal note, I left my hometown of Bakersfield, CA at a time when there was no four year college, much less a law school. What's in your future? If you keep doing the same thing in the same place, every day, every year, what about your kid and the outlook for them or your grandchildren? As my wife and I look at our children and grandchildren, I'm glad we left Bakersfield for what turned out to be greater opportunities. Then the kids moved around where they found greater opportunities for themselves.
When I hear the word manufacturing, I think jobs. So why are you living and raising your kid in the killing fields of Chicago, or LA for that matter? If you can't change your kid's choice of friends, maybe you can change his location and force a change of friends and, ultimately, a change in outlook. It's your choice where to raise your kids, as the song says, "IT'S YOUR THING, DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO." But look at the choices that got you to the point you are in. Now make a choice to benefit the next generation.
Do your research for the progress of your own family. The second line of the "IT'S YOUR THING" song says, "I CAN'T TELL YOU WHO TO SOCK IT TO." However, if you've been doing the same thing in the same place with the same relationships and it's not working, try something different, maybe somewhere else, and sing a new song that says, "CHANGE GOIN' COME."