I Want to be Amish…..Think They Would Let me?

The movie, ‘The Witness’, with Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis

I wish that I could be Amish. Well, from what I have seen, heard and read, I wish that I could be Amish. Of course, it’s not as if I truly know all the ins and outs of what it means to be Amish. I have really only seen two movies about the Amish. One with Harrison Ford…..and that one was kinda serious. The another one had Kirstie Alley and Tim Allen in it….and that one was just silly. However, in both movies, one thing was clear….the Amish were people who pulled together in times of trouble, worked hard, valued family, and made excellent food!

The documentary, “The Devil’s Playground’.

I have seen two documentaries on the Amish. One was called ‘The Devils Playground’ that was about the Amish youth’s period of experimenting with the world, which they call Rumspringa (which means ‘running around’ in Pennsylvania Dutch). It is a time when the Amish youth are allowed to depart from the Amish rules and explore the ways of the modern world….all before committing themselves to the Amish church in the way of baptism. They can drive cars, wear ‘fancy’ clothing (which is what they call the clothes that we wear), and get jobs outside of their community. Some of these young adults, however, get caught up in some very bad things. Not unlike our own children, these children can fall prey to peer pressure with drugs, alcohol and sex. It is so far beyond what they have been raised around, it is like a moth to a flame…..irresistible. The saddest part of all, is if these kids decide not to be baptized into the Amish faith as adults because they cannot leave this new found world behind……they are shunned. Yes, S-H-U-N-N-E-D. What a harsh word. It is not easy for the families to shun their relative, but the higher-ups in the church demand it. Some of the kids who get caught in the web of our worlds evils do not get out, and I must say, I wept over their stories. Sure, lots of kids go through this, but with these young and naive Amish youth, it is like watching a baby walk into a busy intersection, and knowing that you cannot get there in time to save them.

The documentary, ‘PBS American Experience Documentary, The Amish’.

Whew! Okay, on a lighter note, the other documentary that I watched is from PBS and is entitled “American Experience Documentary, The Amish”. Now, this one gives a very good look into the Amish lifestyle. Real Amish families talk about certain things about their lives, etc., but you only hear their voices as they do not like to be photographed or filmed. (Yes, I realize that I just said “Real Amish Families”, like I was describing a ‘Real Life Leprechaun” or a “Real Life Troll’. You will have to forgive me, as I am always fascinated by other people’s lifestyles. I get really excited to learn about the idiosyncrasies of other ways of life, that I sometimes come across as ‘star-struck’, but it is just my super-excitable ADHD nature that gets in the way of my more reserved and studious researching side.) Like I was saying, this documentary was about their day-to-day life, their struggles, their unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and God, and some of their problems and issues as well.

I read an Amish fiction series from the author Beverly Lewis, which was about a young Amish girl who left the ways of the Amish and was shunned, but I did not like these. I tried to read other books written by not only Ms. Lewis, but other authors as well, but I did not feel that this route was an accurate way to learn about the Amish. The writing was very good, and Ms. Lewis seemed to know her stuff, but I was not looking for the fictitious way the Amish live, but the real way. I have since decided not to read that type of fiction, but to stick with real accounts.

The book, “Plain Wisdom’, by Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud.

Finally, I read a very good book about an author and her Amish friend. Ironically, I read this after I swore off Amish fiction, but it turns out that the author is a writer of fictitious Amish novels! I have not read her fiction work, but as a writer of her own story, she is excellent. The book is entitled ‘Plain Wisdom. An Invitation into An Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women’. The fiction author is Cindy Woodsmall who is a best-selling author, and the Amish women is Miriam Flaud. If you are at all interested in the Amish and how they live, and how the Amish women take care of their families, then this is a must read!

So, after all of that watching and reading and researching…..I have decided that I sure wish that the Amish would let my family and I come and live with them. My teenagers are at the age that most kids are dating. We have decided against dating in my family, and have encouraged ‘courting’. We homeschool to keep God’s Word the base of their education and to keep a watchful eye on their characters. Television is watched with a strict ‘3-strike rule’, which means if there is any profanity or references to drugs or sex, it gets turned off. There are no violent video games and no open internet. Yet, with all of these measures, the temptations still creep in. There is still the struggle to find friends with the same beliefs and values as us, and the fear of how our children will meet their future spouses. We sometimes feel as if we are drifting alone on these waters, and wonder if there are more of us out there.

Wait…..Take Me With You!

I guess my wish will not come true, because truth be told, I do like electricity, my car, and many other ‘English Trappings’. I am also pretty sure that they would not allow us to join them! However, in a perfect world, it would be nice to be a part of a community that all has similar beliefs, raises their children with those values, and will drop everything to help someone in need (and is not some sort of crazy cult!). I know that the Amish probably worry about their children just as much as I am worrying about mine right now, but at least they have a community.

Where are you community………?


2 responses to “I Want to be Amish…..Think They Would Let me?

  1. Actually, you have it mixed up. If a young Amish person is never baptized, they are NOT shunned. Shunning only happens with baptized members of the Amish church. That’s not to say that some of the stricter sects don’t make it extremely uncomfortable and awkward for a young person to come home for visits, but they are no shunned in the truest sense of the word. In your “standard” (every church is a little different) Old Order home, it’s much easier on a young person and their relationship with their families to leave during rumschpringa than to do it after they are baptized into the church.

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