People tend to underestimate Wisconsin — surely this flyover state couldn’t have anything to teach the world. To the contrary, Wisconsin has a rich and unique culture, and those who grow up in the state are forever grateful for the numerous life lessons it taught them. Here are nine things you learn growing up in Wisconsin.
1. Growing or hunting your own food is much more satisfying than buying it at a grocery store.
Nothing beats sitting down to a meal that you grew or hunted yourself. We learn at an early age how to identify a ripe tomato on the vine and how to skin a deer. Understanding the connection between ourselves and the earth that provides for us is a lesson we take seriously.
2. Outside is the best place to be all year long.
Everything is better in the great outdoors, no matter the season. Summers are for hanging out by one of Wisconsin’s 15,000 lakes, and winters are perfect for snowshoeing, skiing, and snowmobiling.
3. A hot Wisconsin meal can make anything better.
A plateful of beer-boiled brats and cheesy potatoes can turn around a tough day.
5. Comfort is more important than appearance.
We know life is more enjoyable when you’re comfortable, and it doesn’t really matter how you look or what you wear — especially when it’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
6. Small towns are the best towns.
Growing up rural, we learned young the benefits of a small-town lifestyle, such as being best friends with your neighbor and never dealing with rush-hour traffic. With two mid-sized cities in our own state and Chicago at our doorstep, if we ever need the big city, we can enjoy all the amenities of city life while calling the small towns home. It truly is the best of both worlds.
7. Never underestimate winter.
It only takes one day where you decided not to layer up in winter for you to learn the power of the cold. Mother Nature’s ferocity can be deadly — ice can knock down power lines, freeze your pipes, and send cars sliding into each other.
8. How to winterize your car.
What this lesson lacks in universal wisdom it makes up for in downright practical and life-saving advice. The most important thing teenagers learn when they start to drive is how to prepare for winter driving. Getting snow tires and stocking your trunk with blankets and supplies is a life-saving lesson.
9. Kindness counts.
The phrase “Midwest nice” exists for a reason. Kindness is a fundamental aspect of Wisconsin culture, passed down every generation. Far greater than the mere manners of “Southern hospitality,” we take a genuine interest in the well-being of others.