Posted by: history591seventeen | June 10, 2008

Amish Country

Today I experienced a new culture, the Amish culture.  These are people of God, at peace with themselves, their neighbors and their God.  They are not a questioning people.  They just go with the flow that their religion and culture has provided.  At the same time, they also adapt to modern times when they need to.  For example, by law they must have lights and blinkers on their buggies.   However, Amish people shouldn’t all be placed in the same group; each group varies some what in their ideals and practices. 


They are, for a lack of a better way to put it, practical people who believe in a simple way of life; they are good stewards in their community and to the land.  They teach discipline and self-control.  Their goal in life is perfection, but they believe in humility. 


The Amish children are educated up to eighth grade; then they allowed keep a journal in which they explain what they are doing on the farm.  Wow, what great documentation for historians, if you could get your lands on it!


The younger sons get the farm . . .  along with the parents.  When their elders are older, they don’t go into nursing homes; when they are ready to retire, they add on to the house a place where the parents will live and the younger son takes overthe parents and the farm. 


We were also told that the Amish population has doubled in the last 10 years. My guess would be because so many people are craving a more balanced, simple way of life.


As I reflect on how I would use the information gained today in my classroom, I have a few initial ideas.  Our guide told us that after age 13, children are no longer attended school, but the state requires them to write in a journal what they are learning on the farm.  It would be great to get a hold of some of the journals and use them to learn and explore these children in a more personal level.  Another idea would be taking journals from different time periods and comparing them, looking at the religious and culture differences, ages of the owners and comparing what they felt was important to write about, etc.


This would also be a great group of people to study when teaching citizenship in our classes.  Today they serve as fantastic citizens in their own community as well as the outlying communities.


Lastly, when I teach about the Puritans coming to the colonies, etc. . . . I could use the Amish as a current example of a group that holds similar religious believes and cultural upbringing.







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