My son suggested I visit a spa. I truly wanted to go where I’d never been before and told me that one of my goals was to visit Amish country. Everything that I had read about the civilization seemed inviting and I believed I would benefit from the relaxing style and ease of being about their relaxing and simple culture.
Bird in Hand is a rural village with a population of 300 individuals but the place is a significant drawing card for tourists.
- Community – There aren’t a lot of Amish groups in Canada. Even though they reside in single-family houses and on family farms, they’re extremely close knit.
- Self-support – They cooperate and discuss their work, faith and social activities with others in the region. They don’t vote or think in insurance but rather meet the needs of the vulnerable without external support.
- Rules – Every community has specific rules which their baptized members must follow. None of them use electricity, technology or vehicles in their lives. Though they are a branch of the Mennonites who often concentrate more on the Bible, the monks have a tendency to concentrate on rules made in their districts that are enforced by their preferred Bishops.
- Family – Children are seen as a gift from God. Consequently, families are big and frequently include six or more siblings that are close in age. Relatives usually reside within buggy-drive space so there’s inter-generational contact.
- Language – The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch at the house. Their kids don’t learn English until they start school that they attend until they’ve reached the grade eight level.
- Corn, soybeans, tobacco, and cauliflower in addition to garden produce attracted income but currently only twenty per cent of the Amish have farming as their principal source of revenue. Some have moved out of their original homesteads to regions where tourism is not as widespread to be able to protect their distinctive identity.
- Today, many have companies that sell their lovely handmade furniture, garden sheds, quilts, and meals. There’s nothing like a fresh pretzel and glass of home made root beer on a hot summer afternoon!
- Forgiveness – The Amish strongly believe and practice the belief that the individual who does not forgive is the person who suffers. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel powerful emotions like anger, hurt or despair. They do, but let go of resentment and bitterness quickly and find it tough to understand that others may not understand that this is simply common sense.
The Amish aren’t perfect! They don’t like the notion that some”Englishers” have experienced an erroneous and negative impression of these through movies and television.
Remaining in an Amish community has given me some insight into how they might have remained so consistent and faithful to their own values for more than three hundred years while all of the world around them has changed!
What are your values and how have they stayed consistent or changed through the years?