My adult kids are saying ‘Anywhere but Kansas’

It breaks my heart, but I am realizing now that it was my job — and everyone's, really — to express to our kids how wonderful our community is and how much we want them to be a part of it.

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June 11, 2021 - 12:20 PM

Curtis Quinn, now 19, in Master Overbey's Martial Arts class in Topeka when he was a child. Photo by Susan Quinn

So, do you ever stop and think deeply about what you’re doing? What you might not be doing? Where you’re going?

Susan Quinn

My kids are now leaving our home after being a daily part of our lives for the past 20ish years. I’ve had 20 years to get to know them, enjoy them, teach them and learn from them. Like any mother, I’ve tried to do the best I can. But I’m realizing lately that I’ve come up shorter than I wanted with them.

Our eldest son is 21 now and has started thinking about what he wants from his community and where he’d like to live when he finishes college in Lawrence. He tells me he wants to leave Kansas and definitely Topeka. That’s probably not out of the ordinary for young adults, but beyond the yearn to explore new places, he’s pretty sure we don’t have much to offer people in the way of community here. He has studied city planning, transportation, housing and zoning regulations. What he sees here doesn’t square with his idea of a thriving community.

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