As I work on finishing my masters in Marriage and family counseling I drive Amish families around to make extra money. They are interesting to be sure but I want to share with you my top three reasons why I respect their culture so much!
- They choose a life of limited information. They are simple people who live simply off the land, but they are not stupid and they are not disconnected.
So much of our world is encased in cynicism and frustration over the current state of affairs, and I hear the phrase “our world today” in so many negative ways. Facebook messages of hate and frustration are almost every other message these days…..I feel sad scrolling! I want my friends to be happy and see life differently. I just want to remind everyone that not so long ago…we did not have information streaming to our fingertips to tell us about bus accidents, shootings and train derailments. We would eventually find out about most of it but not immediately and not over and over again. This access to information so quickly and so effortlessly has led us to believe our world is declining at such an unbelievable rapid pace. It is not, that’s not Naïve, that’s fact.
The Amish culture has the benefit of delayed knowledge, they read the newspaper and they share with each other what they have heard, but because they are not inundated with information all the time, they truly see the best in people. They route for the underdog, they believe in working for what they get and they believe in encouraging each other forward.
- They have each other’s backs, I mean like they HAVE each other’s back. In a way that is not understandable to us busy important folks.
I am always so busy, I mean like are you kidding me busy….I did not have time this past weekend to help sandbag for the floods, I did not have time to sign up for that 5K I wanted to sign up for and I did not have time to sign up to volunteer for my kids fun night in middle school…..Amish people inspire me because they ALWAYS make time. A neighbors barn needs rebuilt? You can count on your neighbor. A second cousins husband died? We will come plow your field and pay your bills! A wedding, already told work I needed the day off! A funeral? Could not keep them away. They pitch in, celebrate, mourn, triumph and before everything else…they help each other. They commune with one another in the most personal of way, so that no one walks this earth alone and kindness is key.
- They do nice things just to be nice.
There is not a week that does not pass by that fresh produce or baked bread does not turn up unexpectedly on my doorstep. For no other reason than when they were working in their garden they thought “I’ll bet Tammi could enjoy a watermelon, or bucket of strawberries, or tomatoes” and they gather it up, wash it, hitch their horses to their buggies and drive to my house two miles away. They are also happy to set it on my doorstep without a note, no need for acknowledgement, so that I can just be happy. They need no credit. They do not require a thank you card. They just think of my family in such a loving and friendly way. I am so thankful for these kind loving people who want to be really good neighbors.
I just think of our busy world and all of the important things we do every day. We are busy and we think me, me, me, we want to be nice and we are so proud of ourselves when we do something nice, but could we do more? We can, you can, I can…and we should!
Take it from someone who lives around it every day, niceness, true unfiltered I don’t expect anything in return niceness, seems easy. So the next time you hear yourself say, “I cannot believe they didn’t do that” or “it’s unbelievable that they did do that,” or whatever negative thing you cannot believe a person did…ask yourself what have you done lately? Could your negative words be pointed back to you? Be honest…you don’t have to tell anyone. Just make a small change and be nice, think nice thoughts, grab an extra loaf of bread at the store and ask your neighbor if they need one, leave a note of thanks, I mean, I don’t know….anything you can think of really, and do this daily!
Amish have got it going on in the kindness/happiness/slow-paced life department…I mean I need electricity and my phone and my car and my computer and my (so many things)….but they are truly on to something, and maybe we should all take a little more notice!
Imperfect little me