Las Vegas Sun

August 2, 2015

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Letter to the readers:

Raising kids in Las Vegas: Is it beneficial or a bust?

Dear readers:

As I’m writing this, a four-month-old boy is being fussed over in the newsroom, and deservedly so. He’s a cute baby, and as his mother tends to some work, he’s making the rounds through the building with eager surrogates.

There’s something special about babies, and it’s always a joy to have the rhythm of the newsroom interrupted by an infant. A baby’s coo, a gurgle, even a piercing cry is a quick way to refocus on what really matters in life. I didn’t understand that before I became a father and held my own children. I remember my thinking changed. I wondered about the future they would have and how I — and my generation — would shape it.

It wasn’t all that long ago that my children, both born in Las Vegas, were infants. As my wife and I took them around, something curious happen as people fussed over them. After making baby faces and goo-goo noises, some people would turn to me or my wife and ask in a serious tone, “Are you going to raise your child here?”

The word “here” would hang in the air, the obvious implication was that there was a serious problem raising children here. There was always a concern in their voices, as if they wanted to make sure we knew the dangers that no one in their sane mind would raise an innocent in a place like Nevada, much less Sin City.

It didn’t surprise me when people in other states asked the question, given the perception that nothing exists here but the Strip, but it seemed odd when people in Southern Nevada asked. This is the place we call home, and we assumed they did too. And they were telling us to flee and raise children elsewhere?

We haven’t fled. We’re raising our children here. But we’re not naive.

The state has its peculiarities and troubles, and children have temptations that they wouldn’t have elsewhere. But I’ve lived in several states and in cities both small to large, and it seems that children can find trouble anywhere if they look for it.

Still, is it different to raise a child here?

I’ve talked to parents who raised children here as well as people who were brought up here and asked about their experiences. There are good and bad stories. Some people say it’s no different than raising children anywhere else. Others tell of perilous straits.

There have also been some humorous tales that could only have happened in Las Vegas. One man related the story of his high school senior prom. He took his girlfriend to “Jubilee,” thinking she would be impressed. He didn’t know it was a topless show, and she was far from impressed. He ended up walking home.

We’d like to know your thoughts about raising children here. Tell us your story and any advice you’d have to parents raising children here. Did you grow up in Southern Nevada? Would you raise your children here? Have you raised children here? Would you do it again?

You can leave a comment or send your thoughts to: "Growing up" c/o Letters to the editor, Las Vegas Sun, 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074. Or send a letter via email: letters@lasvegassun.com. Or fax: (702) 383-7264. If you send an email, be sure to put “growing up” in the subject line. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Best,

Matt

Matt Hufman is the assistant managing editor/opinion. On Twitter follow: @MattattheSun.

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