As we consider what’s wrong with our economy today, I think it makes sense to examine a sub-culture that shares few of the issues we deal with in today’s society….the Amish.
I have long been a fan of the Amish. Over 15 years ago, I discovered the ways of the Amish as we live about 3 hours away from Holmes County, one of the largest Amish communities in the US.
Fascinated with the Amish’s ability to self-sustain, I studied them for many years, reading everything I could get my hands on and “grilling” any Amish folk who would indulge me when we visited.
Let me tell you something, folks, once you get past the buggies and bonnets, you realize that the Amish are nothing short of brilliant people.
The Amish do not experience issues with poverty and unemployment the way we “English” do (as anyone not Amish is referred to as). The Amish economy understands it’s social issues and deals with them internally, asking for little/no government assistance. Let’s take a look.
The Amish Exemplify Work Ethic
You will find no harder working people than the Amish. These folks live by 16th century traditions in a modern world. They use no electricity (we’ll cover “why” later in this post) and use the horse and buggy to get around.
There is certainly no whining tolerated among this culture. Everyone is expected to do their part as they are able.
An Amish crew has been working on our barn for a number of months now and I cannot tell you how precise and amazing their workmanship is. However “archaic” it may seem when the Amish contractor draws, literally draws, out on a piece of paper what he intends to do, the product and quality of work is unmatched.
Our crew has been contracted for over 5 other jobs in the area, just due to people driving by our barn. THAT’s quality workmanship and capitalism at it’s best. I am so happy for them!
The Amish name is synonymous with quality and honesty.
The Amish Skip “Adolescence”
The “perpetual adolescence” that far too many American teenagers indulge in is not an option in the Amish community, and thank God for it.
Finishing their school experience after 8th grade, Amish kids enter an internship, either with their father or another relative, and begin training for what will be their lifelong career.
Whether you agree with this philosophy or not isn’t as important as the outcome of the Amish youth. There are very few, if any, juvenile delinquents among the Amish. The expectations are laid out early in their lives and they know what’s expected of them.
Adolescence is a “season” of life invented by the modern American culture, and is also the cause of many of our social issues today.
Unless great care and training is taken during the teenage years, parents can inadvertently create adults who are lacking vision, character, work ethic and aspiration. I would just assume skip it, myself.
Here’s a little something about “Peter Pan Syndrome“, which plagues many adult males in the country:
Humbelina Robles Ortega, professor of the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the University of Granada and an expert in emotional disorders, warns that the overprotection of parents can lead children to develop the Peter Pan Syndrome, given “it usually affects dependent people who have been overprotected by their families and haven’t developed the necessary skills to confront life.” The ‘Peter Pans’ of present society “see the adult world as very problematic and glorify adolescence, which is why they want to stay in that state of privilege.” Source
The Amish Grow and Preserve Much of Their Own Food
The Amish grow much of their own food, however, not all of it. Since most Amish are not able to make a living solely from farming these days, many have embraced tourism as a source of income.
Therefore, you will find the Amish in grocery stores, primarily stores owned and operated by other Amish.
However, the Amish are big into canning and preserving their own food. They do not freeze food as they do not allow electricity into their homes.
Every Amish home has a huge garden and vineyard, often times right next to their clothes lines. Amish children can often be seen working in the garden, along side their mothers and other siblings and therefore, understand how food is grown.
The Amish also understand the value of bartering, primarily among their own community.
The Amish Take Care of Their Elderly
It is very common to see multiple generations living on one farm in Amish country. Spread among the many acres of farmland is the larger family home, then a smaller “grandparents” home close by.
Elderly are rarely, if ever, put into care facilities. If they are, they are typically Amish run. Grandma and Grandpa are a valued part of the family and needed to care for children while parents are working the land and/or the business.
Traditions and family values are passed down from the older generation. What family couldn’t benefit from this kind of support?