Author Serena Miller believes so.

A TIME magazine article titled “Why Amish Kids Are Happier Than Yours” offers five “secrets” English parents can learn from the Amish. They’re taken from Miller’s book More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting.

One of these five ideas I hadn’t thought of before. Any guess which one?

Here they are, summarized:

  1. Extended Family – large family networks boost a child’s well-being.
  2. Imperfect Hospitality – welcoming guests into the home, without making the home “perfect” before they arrive, “teaches kids to live without shame”.
  3. Hands-On Skills – practical skills build confidence and other qualities that lead to life success.
  4. Practical Forgiveness – daily practice of forgiveness makes Amish children feel secure and lets them show respect to loved ones.
  5. Creative Boredom – without TV and on-demand entertainment, Amish children have more chances to flex their creativity muscles.

To be sure, I’ve often had the impression that Amish children are a happy lot. But is that always the case?

Happy Amish Boys

The other side

To look at the other side, are there any reasons Amish children might be less happy than their counterparts?

The first that came to my mind: What about those who love school and formal learning, only to have it end in their early teens?

I once asked the eighth-grade sister of an Amish friend how she felt about her time at the schoolhouse coming to an end. It sounded like she’d miss it, but that she was resigned to the change.

Many of her peers don’t feel the same way about school ending. They can’t wait to graduate. But she can’t be the only one.

Surely some struggle more with this limitation than others. For someone with a passion for book learning it could be downright miserable.

That’s one of the possible reasons, though I would guess this covers only a minority of children.

Is it true?

What’s your impression — are Amish children happier than non-Amish children?

Why do you think so? Or why not?

Amish children photo by ShipshewanaIndiana