In August, I decided that I needed a break! My son suggested that I visit a spa. I truly wanted to go where I’d never been before and told him that one of my goals was to go to Amish country. Everything that I had read about the culture seemed inviting and I thought I would benefit from the relaxing style and ease of being around their simple and relaxing culture.
Bird in Hand is a rural village with a population of 300 people but the place is a significant drawing card for tourists. Rat Removal Melbourne
I loved the six days that I remained in Bird in Hand and also learned a great deal about the values that hold the community together:
- Religion – Like many groups, the Amish left Europe because of religious persecution.
- Community – There are not many Amish groups in Canada. They primarily live in Ontario, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Even though they live in single-family homes and on family farms, they’re very close knit.
- Self-support – They cooperate and share their work, religion and social activities with others in the region. They don’t vote or think in insurance but instead meet the needs of the vulnerable without outside support.
- Rules – Every community has specific rules that 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 tend to focus more on the Bible, the monks have a tendency to focus on rules made in their districts which are enforced by their preferred Bishops.
- Family – Children are viewed as a gift from God. Consequently, families are large and often consist of six or more siblings that are close in age. Relatives usually reside within buggy-drive distance so there’s inter-generational contact.
- Language – The Amish speak Pennsylvania Dutch in the house. Their kids do not learn English until they begin school that they attend until they have reached the grade eight level.
- Living off the Land – In the past, Amish were primarily farmers who believed in hard work where fields were tilled and crops harvested using horses. Corn, soybeans, tobacco, and cauliflower as well as garden produce brought income but currently only twenty per cent of the Amish have farming as their principal source of revenue. Some have moved from their original homesteads to areas where tourism is not as prevalent to be able to protect their unique identity.
- Today, many have businesses that sell their lovely handmade furniture, garden sheds, quilts, and meals. There’s nothing like a fresh pretzel and glass of homemade root beer on a hot summer day!
- Forgiveness – The Amish strongly believe and practice the belief that the individual who doesn’t forgive is the one who suffers. From birth they are taught that God forgave them and they’re to do the same without question. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel powerful emotions such as anger, hurt or despair. They do, but let go of resentment and bitterness quickly and find it hard to understand that others may not know that this is simply common sense.
The Amish are not perfect! They don’t like the idea that some”Englishers” have had an inaccurate and negative impression of them through movies and television.
Staying in an Amish community has given me some insight into how they could have remained so consistent and faithful to their own values for more than three hundred years while all the world around them has changed!
What are your values and how have they stayed consistent or changed through the years?