Two_amish_girls_randall_persing_pho

photo: Randall Persing Amish photography

Amish Society was the first book I ever read on the Amish and I am continually re-reading bits and pieces.

I thought I’d share a few  with you, like this bit on the kiddos:


‘The relationship between authority and responsibility is learned very early.  Although the younger children must obey the older ones, the older children may not make arbitrary demands on the younger.  The four-year-old is expected to hand over his toy to a younger child if he cries for it, but in the absence of the parents the younger one must obey the older.’

Two_little_amish_brothers_bill_cole

photo:  Bill Coleman Amish photography

As an older brother, I must admit I’ve been guilty of ‘arbitrary demands’ inflicted on little (not-so-little-anymore) Alex while we were growing up.

I find it fascinating that the Amish inculcate this hierarchy of obedience to elder siblings, especially when the ‘elder sibling’ may be a mere five or six– and with an even younger sibling hoisted onto one hip while mom works on dinner.

Bonus: With the little ones taking on responsibility, do the Amish really care about their children’s safety? Well, of course.   Though it might not always seem that way…

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