Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A little more about the Amish

Since someone had commented about the music, please remember you can turn it off. The instructions are right above the "widget" which gives the titles of songs being played. I knew there would be some in settings where any kind of sound is not welcome.

Do be sure to read what I have said about the Amish over time. I don't idolize them at all. I know we are all "but dust" and wherever we have a community of humans, we will have good people and those who... aren't. I lived close to Amish families both in Iowa and when we lived in Elkhart, Indiana for a year. That was where we first started going to Das Dutchman (Essenhaus) just like the family in White Christmas Pie. I grew up in a community (and live there now) where we have a lot of Mennonite family farms.

I, too, have read a lot about them over the years so I know there are inherent challenges that can come up in such an environment. However, overall, I respect them and the life they live. I believe there is far more good among them than not. While their religious beliefs can very well lean toward legalism, their strong family life and sense of community create an environment where love can abound... especially in the kitchen! :)

I watched about ten minutes of that special about Amish teens. I didn't know it was on until Christopher (who was taking a break from studies) called me into the room to show it to me. Neither of us cared for the small amount we saw although we agreed we may watch it if it is shown when we have more time for TV. I found it quite annoying, probably because I'm used to the same kind of media coverage of homeschooling families.

Whenever any alarming news happens in the country involving a homeschooled family (almost always someone killing their parents!), the media all come out like locusts devouring crops trying to find all the dirt about homeschoolers in general. Now, I'm not saying there are not problems in the homeschooling community. Some of the very best kids in the world I know are homeschooled. At the same time, a few of the most troubled kids I know are homeschooled. Families are families, no matter what their religion or how they choose to "do school".

But the media loves to turn over every leaf and concentrate on that which is evil (a very small percentage) instead of all the homeschool families who are good, law abiding citizens and give back to their community. That was the feeling I received from this documentary. They were quite happy to locate Amish teens in trouble. Instead of following this poor guy around and filming him taking drugs, they could have intervened for good. Perhaps it got better and if anyone did view it, you could leave a comment and let me know.

I wanted to make one of my mother-in-law's recipes yesterday so I brought out the old church cookbook where many of her tried and true dishes could be found (I don't know why I have never transferred her chicken and rice recipe to a card...). My husband walked in the kitchen and saw the recipe book open and told me how nice it was to see the names under the various casserole recipes, all church women he knew growing up and how so many of them had certain recipes for which they were famous. It did his heart good to see their names and his mother's in that old church cookbook. These ladies have all passed on and all that is left to us are their recipes.

Just like the Amish and the homeschooling families, that Lutheran church had many saints and sinners. But the foundation of it (besides faith, of course) was in the family unit... and the anchor that held many of those families was a mom in the kitchen. My mom worked full time but even then, I remember both my mother and father showing they loved me with their cooking and baking. Perhaps that is why I love mornings in the kitchen, baking a treat, putting together a stew, or starting a meal to be enjoyed by my family later in the day.

It gets back to my mentor, Edith (Schaeffer) and that quote I write so often... "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing". It is that way with any group of people, including the Amish. I am well aware of their imperfections but I choose to focus on all that is positive about the Amish for there is a lot we can learn about simplicity, hard work... and kitchens. For that is what I hope people would do for me and my family... look past our imperfections and see what is good.

Picture: Amish Country Home; allposters.com


Love Bears All Things said...

I watched a little of the special. It had been on before and just like then, I couldn't watch much. I agree that it showed the Amish teens ina bad light focusing on just the ones who seemed to be in the most trouble.

I enjoyed listening to the Alison Krauss song. I had just finiched listening to the ones i have on my computer by her. I don't have this one.
Mama Bear

Anonymous said...

I love the amish ideas of community, simplicity, hospitality, love of children and families, morals, etc.
However, once I read a book (or cookbook or something like that) where I was absolutely appalled at their recipes! They were so unhealthy-full of white flour and sugar, just all kinds of bad ingredients. Maybe I'm just used to seeing so many recipes on blogs these days using organic ingredients? I don't know-I just remember at the time being really taken aback by the recipes I saw.
By the way Brenda, I've tried to turn off the music on your blog but it's never worked for me. I followed your directions but still couldn't figure it out! I just mute it and keep it muted for other "musical blogs" as well. :)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are huge fans of the amish lifestyle. We admire their simplicity, love of family, frugal creativity and quiet lifestyle. We have visited Holmes county in Ohio frequently over the last several years to relax and slowdown a bit. They inspire me to keep it simple, focus on my family and my faith. Cathy

Janet said...

Isn't it funny how we all seem to cut a lot of slack for others who share our beliefs but expect perfection from those who don't?

I teach Sunday school in my parish and have often commented on how the homeschoolers seem to be far more advanced not only in "book learning" but social skills as well ( and by that I mean that they can sit still, pay attention and not chatter constantly during the class).

The people who have the hardest time hearing those comments are usually professional educators!

Kelly said...

I think we can learn things from all groups of people, whether it is something to avoid or to adopt for ourselves. I really think the simple life of the Amish is wonderful. I have lived the busy, busy, busy life for the past two years and have found myself on the way to burnout. This year I have made changes and have really simplified our lifestyle, and it is wonderful. The most important thing I find is that now we have time for God, which is most important of all.