What would be the 3 biggest “life lessons” the Amish could offer the rest of us?
Lancaster County Mennonite pastor Joe Miller shares in a recent article what he feels non-Amish people can learn from the Amish example.
“Amish life lessons” or “what we can learn from the Amish” pieces are not uncommon – see these on 4 Amish health habits, 23 ways to “live Amish”, 5 lessons learned from joining the Amish, and even 13 money tips from the Amish.
The Amish live among us but quite differently from us – yet they appear to be succeeding and quite content overall – in a world that often seems wracked with strife, tension, and stress.
So it’s natural for people to look to them as some source of potential wisdom. They are a living, breathing, thriving example of an alternative.
I think there is some value in this, though it can be limited, given our non-Amish context.
Here are Joe’s 3 ideas in a nutshell, with my summary of each:
1. Moderate individualism – The individual is important but community is even moreso…”when the community is thriving, individuals in the community also thrive.” Hyper-individualism makes people feel disconnected and can breed evil consequences.
2. Value community wisdom – Elders should be respected and their words carry weight. Past wisdom is privileged. But younger members should also be listened to. Tradition is valued but change should also happen.
3. Evaluate what the modern world offers carefully – Technology gives great benefits but also takes away from life-affirming real-world interactions. And it saps our spirit via non-stop exposure to bad news and negative imagery.
What do you think? Anything you would add? I think these are good ideas, though the question somewhat remains as to how to put these into practice.
Though I suppose some ways to do that are obvious – consciously spend more time in community-upbuilding activities, interact in the real world with others (rather than the virtual one), restrict screen time and pass on chasing after the latest gadget.
In the end I think it comes down mostly to a question of will, discipline and desire to live in a more deliberate way.