COLUMN: Ohio: home, sweet home

Leslie Arntz

One of my earliest memories is of my dad leaving me at Grandma’s farm. I wailed and sobbed until the door clicked shut and immediately I ran into the other room to see what Grandma was up to. My childhood was filled with weekends spent at the farm, Sunday lunches with Grandma and Grandpa, summers spent catching grasshoppers with cousins.

I want to stick around. Ohio might not be the most pleasant of states to live in sometimes, but it’s my home. Four generations of my family have invested blood and sweat into Ohio dirt. This land is part of who I am. This land is part of who my family is.

I want my children to grow up knowing their grandparents and maybe their great-grandparents. I wish my children to have the same experiences I did. A full tank of gas or a plane ticket will not be required to see Grandma and Grandpa. My kids will not be sent to day care, and baby-sitters will need to look elsewhere to pawn their services. I plan on having an army of aunts, uncles, grandparents and in-laws on hand, ready to scoop them up.

For those who are blessed enough to have a loving family, there could be nothing more important.

The family unit has survived the onslaught of totalitarian regimes, dictatorships and communism. As English journalist G.K. Chesterton pointed out, it is the first target of totalitarian regime because it is “the one anarchist institution. That is to say, it is older than law, and stands outside the State. … The State has no tool delicate enough to deracinate the rooted habits and tangled affections of the family.” The Nazis and Communists tried their best to destroy it, but it is the most natural of establishments and, thus far, has withstood the tests of time.

In the 21st century, the threat to the family unit lies cushioned in social democracy propagating secular individualism and self-centeredness. T.S. Eliot wrote the world would end “not with a bang, but with a whimper.” The same is increasingly applicable to family life. Deconstruction can be hidden in avenues meant to foster and serve the thing it often destroys.

The pressure to have a better education, a better internship, a better career is weighing down on nearly everyone’s shoulders. That dream career doesn’t have to be the goal. The popular belief is that careers will be fulfilling – if you aren’t happy with what you are doing, search until you find what does make you happy. The problem is that happiness is rather fleeting. Careers aren’t as rewarding as many are led to believe. Careers should provide the means to support a family. Ohio’s economy is not the best, but sustaining jobs are out there.

I don’t want to have a sprawling estate with all the latest amenities. I want to raise healthy, intelligent, productive children. The only way I want to do that is with an army of loving people behind me.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Mine isn’t leaving Ohio anytime soon, so neither am I. Ohio may not be “the heart of it all,” but the people make it a part of my heart.

Leslie Arntz is a sophomore magazine journalism major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].