Diversity in Worthington

Worthington, Minnesota, is quite unique.  It is a melting pot of different cultures, due in large part to a pork processing plant in town.  For a population of about 15,000, we’ve got tons of diversity.  Well over half of the kids in school know Spanish better than English. Yet it doesn’t stop there:  Worthington is home to many Asian, Karen, Native American, and Sudanese (and I’ve probably missed a ton of others).  Our public school estimates that there are 28 different languages spoken by it’s students.

Now, while the language barrier can be super frustrating, if one looks beyond that, living here is really pretty neat.

Just a few things that quickly come to mind.

1.  On a beautiful day, tons of kids are playing outside.  I venture to say that it is way more than in a typical town.

2.  I’ve often see the community pull together in really neat ways to help someone who is new and has nothing.

3.   You don’t need to travel to do mission work as a Christian.  The need is right here.

And there there was last week…

Our family was invited to a First Communion party, as part of a girl’s public profession of faith.  We were pretty unsure of what to expect, but for my kids I offered up the usual pep-talk (say please, wait your turn, you have to eat at least some of your food) before we arrived.  As we stepped inside, we were greeted with some extra lively music and a very warm welcome by the host.  He showed us to a table, and as we noticed every one else was eating, we asked if we should go get so food first.  No, of course not, he would bring us the food.  The kids were given hot-dogs (so much for having to warn them to at least try their food), and we received a plate of food that included at least 14 servings of beans.  As soon as we finished our food, the real fun was about to begin.

It was time for the pinata.  Now, I’ve never been to a party with a real, swing-a-broomstick-at-it pinata.  Somebody brought out a rope, and before I could even locate my camera, the pinata was suspended over a light fixture on the ceiling with a rope.  All the kids came running!


Time for some pinata fun!


The arms didn’t last very long!  Ava got a turn to whack at it.  For the most part, the kids took a turn youngest to oldest.


My 3-year-old hitting the pinata.



Liv wasn’t responsible for the displaced arm.

The guy standing on stage had the other end of the rope, so as the kids got bigger and stronger, he would pull it up and away from them at the last second.  Liv doesn’t look too dangerous.


Of course, the guest of honor had to take a few tries at it!


Hitting a pinata wearing a veil!


Finally, a boy that was 11 or 12 got a good swing at it and candy and children went flying everywhere.


Dive for the candy!


All told, we had a blast at the party.  I can easily believe our kids will be talking about it for a long time.  (It will definitely be a let-down this weekend when we attend graduation parties, eating ham buns and looking at photos of graduates and the awards they’ve earned.)


Worthington, MN on a Saturday afternoon

They certainly will have a ton of experiences in their childhood that I didn’t growing up in a small town in central Minnesota.  As a mom, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time thinking about this issue in past few days, and what I can do to make the make of the opportunities it provides to us.  The topic quickly popped back into my head as I was driving through town following my daughter’s dance recital (an activity that attracts very few pinata-whacking experts).  Isn’t this just a neat photo?  The cart is pulled by a bicycle.  The orange food in the bags hanging from the back is something akin to salty edible styro-foam.  I certainly don’t care for it, but perhaps it goes well with beans?


2 thoughts on “Diversity in Worthington

  1. I love reading your blog. My family lives there and deep in my heart I ache to move back there and raise my young children. Thank you for keeping it real and keeping me in touch with the things I love about the midwest, small communities, etc.
    Teresa Nowak


    • Thanks, Teresa! While the weather can sometimes make leaving Minnesota seem tempting, there are plenty of other positives. If you are ever back home visiting family, drop me a note and I would love to have you to our farm for a tour.


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