15 “Insane” Amish Rules?

On the heels of the “20 Unique Ways Amish Raise Their Kids” article, another click-magnet piece popped up on my news feed this morning. This one is called “15 Insane Rules All Amish Kids Must Follow” (source article removed at thetalko.com).

“Amish People Rules”

I believe the idea of “Amish rules” is appealing to people because the Amish are seen as a strict culture from the outside. In my experience, people’s imaginations can be more vivid than what actually goes on in Amish communities. That’s why portrayals of the Amish as secretive, severe, and disciplinary naturally appeal to readers. Articles suggesting you’ll get “a closer look at Amish people’s rules” is naturally going to incite curiosity.

Amish Church Rules

Amish do of course follow a set of lifestyle rules and guidelines that are agreed upon in each Amish church. This is called the Ordnung, and it is reviewed and re-affirmed twice each year. They can vary, with some churches having stricter rules and standards than others. That’s not really what this article is about, though.

So let’s get to the article. I take “Insane” in this context to mean crazy, odd, or absurd (that is, according to the article writer/editor).

Similar to the 20 Unique Ways… article, this one presents a list of “rules” for children in Amish society. The article itself appears on a pop culture site that ostensibly has nothing to do with the Amish.

So let’s have a look at this latest list; like last time, I’ve added my own comments below on these “Amish Rules”. How accurate are they? (And secondly, how “insane” are they?).

“Amish Rules” (a closer look)

15. They Have To Follow A Really Strict Dress Code – So first off, this would be true. The Amish dress code would be considered “strict” by most non-Amish people. Though I think “insane” might better describe the way some non-Amish folks dress and present themselves today. Amish dress is a marker of their belonging to a community and also a sign of modesty. But this Amish clothing rule is pretty much on point.

14. Once They’re 14, They Have To Leave School – Also true, mostly. In some states, such as Pennsylvania, Amish are required to attend schooling until age 15. Those Amish children who are still 14 when the next school year starts attend what are known as vocational classes, for a few hours, one day per week.

13. Amish Kids Are Allowed To Do Whatever They Want During Rumspringa – Unsurprisingly, Rumspringa makes a fast appearance in the list. Amish rules for their youth can vary. While some Amish go through a wilder period during their youth, the vast majority live at home under their parents’ roof in this time. To say they are “allowed” to do anything they want is an exaggeration. Most non-Amish parents don’t permit their at-home teen children to do whatever they want as far as partying, etc. With most Amish parents it is the same. They’re going to have rules for their children just like any parents would.

12. Kids In The Amish Community Have To Work At A Young Age – I would say “have to” and in many cases “want to”. Amish children often want to help out because that is what their bigger siblings do as well as their parents. Work is more ingrained in the culture as something that is a valuable and productive way to spend time (rather than alternatives that lead to trouble, laziness, etc.). Is that insane? I would say this is more a cultural value than a rule.

11. Some Amish Kids Play With Faceless Dolls – This is true. I tried to purchase one from a well off-the-beaten path Amish shop recently, and was told that they usually just sell those to their “own people”. I kind of liked that response 🙂

The article writer suggests the faceless nature of the dolls is connected with the value of modesty, the idea that everyone is equal, and that Amish believe toys should not have a human representation on them. To be honest, I am not 100% sure of the reasoning behind the faceless doll. But I think it is probably some combination of those reasons, with a splash of the force of tradition thrown in.

For that matter, is the faceless doll universal and common among all Amish? I don’t think so, am pretty sure it is something seen more in plainer groups. So not a hard-and-fast Amish rule, but something more like tradition.

Amish Girl Dolls

10. Amish Teenagers Are Forced To Make A Decision – Sounds kind of brutal doesn’t it? This is about whether or not an Amish young person decides to join the church.

But, there is not an official “deadline” which suggests a pressure-filled period when one must decide whether he/she is “in” or “out”. Amish may join the church as early as 18 (or in some cases, even earlier). And there is no Amish church rule that says they can’t become a church member even in their later 20s (or beyond that).

Factors like peers, parental pressure to varying degrees, desire to marry someone in the church, and of course, religious convictions all factor into it. Everyone, Amish or not, makes life-changing decisions however, whether that is related to religion; a spouse; to go to college and if so, which one; career, etc. So I’m not sure how insane that is.

9. Little Ones Have To Go To Bed Very Early – Amish children on balance probably go to bed earlier than non-Amish ones, but that’s also because Amish parents probably do too.

With early milking, factory shifts, rides to market, and an overall schedule more aligned with daylight hours, Amish are probably hitting the sack on average earlier than non-Amish. I wouldn’t say it’s rigid in a military sense and I’ve often been up fairly late in an Amish home where the little ones stay up until they start getting cranky.

So this Amish rule is not so different from non-Amish parents’ rules for their children. But given the especially early wake-ups common in Amish culture, I’d say Amish children are going to bed on average earlier than non-Amish children.

8. They Are Not Allowed To Play Musical Instruments – This so-called Amish rule is off-base. While Amish church music is unaccompanied by instruments (only voices), the harmonica is one fairly accepted and common instrument Amish might play in leisure time. In some communities, you’ll find the guitar. Things may vary across the Amish, but musical instruments are not across-the-board excluded. They’re just not incorporated into church music.

Photo by Andrew Malone/flickr

7. Moms Prepare Their Daughters For Marriage And Motherhood By Making Them Do Chores – Yes, this is the case. With the Amish, the female’s role centers more around the home. This includes skills like cooking, cleaning, baking, and handicrafts. It may seem “insane” for some today; it probably didn’t in the 1950s. And again, not so much one of the Amish rules as it is a cultural norm.

6. They Are Allowed To Start Dating In Their Teens – Correct. Like non-Amish people. Not sure what’s odd about that.

However, what’s odd is that the article claims that while boys start dating at 16, “girls are allowed to start dating when they are either 14 or 15 years old.” That’s a new one for me.

The age of 16 is when Amish youth, boys and girls, join a youth group, and this is when dating can begin. That would be what you might generally consider an Amish dating rule. Perhaps there is a more obscure practice like this in a small settlement somewhere, but it’s not accurate to present this as the way things work for “the Amish.”

As for other Amish dating rules and customs, they can vary across communities (and really need to have their own article to do the topic justice). For more information, here’s an account of an Amish first date, and a look at other Amish dating customs.

5. Amish Children Do Not Use Technology – A version of this was covered in the previous list. Even if you take “technology” to just mean smartphones and the internet…for a lot of Amish this is untrue. Young children wouldn’t use those things (they certainly wouldn’t have a tablet to play with as a tot, which seems common for non-Amish families), though teens in many communities do have smartphones – which concerns their parents.

“Technology” covers many things though. All Amish use some variety of technology, even the plainest groups. So I would’ve worded that one differently. But generally speaking, restricted technology is an Amish rule of sorts. This would be covered in the Ordnung mentioned at top. It would also vary by community, with some Amish permitting more gadgets and conveniences than others.

amish boy

4. Moms Start Teaching Their Kids Manners Right Away – I think the writer might consider this Amish behavior rule “insane” because the Amish do discipline their children to behave in the proper way from an early age.  A good example is the mealtime prayer.

While a one-year-old might act like a one-year-old during the meal, Amish train even a child this young to “put paddies down” (put your hands down in a position of prayer) during the silent pre-meal prayer. And amazingly even the very young ones, who some parents might think are too young to be taught, can be taught to do this.

3. Children In The Amish Community Are Always Expected To Care For Their Younger Siblings – Amish children often do look after their younger siblings. This is the one point on this list of Amish rules where I might somewhat sympathize with the idea of “insane”, from a safety standpoint.

Sometimes you see a six-year-old looking after say, a two year old. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable with some of the situations the children are left in. But that may also be a reflection of the emphasis (over-emphasis?) on safety we have in 21st-century America.

The Amish farm environment (and I’d argue Amish life in general) is more dangerous than your average suburban environment. Amish parents do seem to entrust their children with a lot of responsibility in some cases to keep watch over their younger children.

However, this may mean Amish parents also do a good job of teaching their children at a very young age about the dangers they need to avoid (road traffic, farm dangers, etc.).

2. They Have To Help Their Parents Farm – True, doing chores, helping with milking, etc. are normal parts of an Amish farm child’s life. Even for non-farmers, cleaning up the horse stalls, feeding the animals, etc. are normal and expected tasks for children. Amish grow up in a much more rural environment, around animals, so their childhood tasks reflect that. Doesn’t seem too strange to me. Again, not so much a rule, but a common way of life for agricultural families throughout history.

Photo by Don Burke

1. Amish Kids Are Not Allowed To Contact Anyone Outside Of The Community – This one feels a little weird. On the one hand, it might be odd if a young Amish child was independently hanging out with non-Amish people all the time, and without their parents’ knowledge.

But Amish have non-Amish neighbors, customers, friends, etc. Amish children watch over roadside stands and interact with non-Amish customers, without their parents watching over their shoulders. This “Amish rule” makes it sound like the Amish are cult-like and completely isolated, which is far from the reality. This is exactly what I was talking about in the intro to this article. The idea of strange “Amish lifestyle rules” like this one, which make them seem like a cult – that will always resonate with some readers.

Rules for the Amish?

You can read the author’s list and explanations of each Amish rule in full here (unfortunately, the original article has been removed). The information in her list is not all off-base and a lot of it is more or less true…though as I’ve covered above, there are some things that are exaggerations, incomplete, or just untrue.

I think the larger point is the idea that many of these Amish rules are odd, or again to use the writer’s title, “insane”, suggests how much Amish culture and the dominant culture have diverged over the past several generations. While it’s true that some of these rules and cultural aspects are specific to the Amish…many of them just used to be considered common sense or “the norm” as far as raising children (manners at a young age, chores, modest clothing).

It probably wouldn’t hurt today’s non-Amish children if more parents considered these “Amish rules” less “insane”, and largely a good way to raise a child to be a productive and healthy member of a community.

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    44 Comments

    1. Rozy

      Who is really "insane"?

      None of those “rules” seem insane to me, that’s basically the way I was raised in a Christian home with a strong work ethic. It’s also about the same way we raised our five children.

      The way to judge a group or person could be, “If everyone were like this, what would the world be like?” With all the insanity that passes for culture today I’d sure rather be with the Amish than most other groups. Whoever writes this “click-bait” comes across as uneducated and unappreciative of good culture.

        1. Alice

          Amish Communities in Canada, Two of our Provinces in Canada have Amish communities

          Hi Erik, I enjoy reading your website, your info on Amish in Western Ontario is well done However you please update your website to include the Amish Communities living in Prince Edward Island.

          Best Regard
          Alice
          New Hamburg, Ontario

          https://globalnews.ca/news/3452789/amish-receive-warm-welcome-as-more-move-to-prince-edward-island/

          1. Amish communities - Prince Edward Island

            Hi Alice, thank you very much for the nice comments. So, PEI is actually mentioned in our state guide, though there is not a lot of info on Amish in the province included in that section (yet).

            I am planning updates of all the states/provinces in that guide for later this year, which will also mean adding more detail on PEI and the other new provinces which have joined the Amish map since that guide was originally published (New Brunswick and Manitoba):

            https://amishamerica.com/amish-state-guide/#canada
            https://amishamerica.com/canada-amish/

            In the meantime, we have done several individual posts on the PEI Amish. I hope the communities in the province grow and thrive!

            https://amishamerica.com/amish-prince-edward-island/
            https://amishamerica.com/prince-edward-island-to-become-3rd-canadian-province-with-an-amish-population/
            https://amishamerica.com/pei-amish-buggy-annihilated-driver-amazingly-uninjured/

        2. Bob Johnson

          Parenting 101

          Enjoy all of your articles. Good stuff.

    2. C J

      Insane

      Use of the word “insane” by whoever wrote this article needs to sit down and
      really understand various word definitions.

      Amish handling things differently to what writer is evidently used to does not by any stretch of imagination mean they are insane.

      In many Amish homes children are raised with love, taught work ethics, better manners than 85% of today’s other youths. Fact they teach not only about God, they are taught excellent skills in cooking, baking, caring for others, building, making furniture, quilting & other crafts. That is their way of life: Stop trying to change them.

      1. Agreed. I harped on that word “insane” in this post because it’s basically a way to catch people’s attention, and also an example of how language is misused. Things like this, and also hyperbole, seem to be the norm for communication in the media (social and legacy) nowadays.

    3. Anne Dennee

      I love this list and think very little of it is insane. In fact, it’s a lot like what we try to do with our four children. What’s insane is looking at the health and behavior of modern children, in general, and not wanting to so something different in response.

      As for faceless dolls, ask any parents who pursue a Waldorf inspired education – they won’t think it strange. For us it’s about leaving a doll an open-ended toy. A child can play with the dolly and pretend whatever emotion they like for it. I have no idea if the Amish are thinking of that, but perhaps it’s a semi hidden wisdom of the faceless doll.

      1. Never thought about that use of a faceless doll, Anne, thanks for pointing it out. Great comment.

      2. Rick Smith

        Very perceptive!

        You make a great point. I would have never thought of that but it is a great reason for a faceless doll.

    4. Bonnie

      Not insane at all.

      I envy there way of life.

    5. Alice Mary

      Take it to heart

      I totally agree with Erik’s last paragraph, and think more people should take it to heart. If more kids and families were “insane” enough to adopt some of these Amish rules, what a kinder, happier world this would be!

      Alice Mary

      1. Right, wouldn’t hurt if more parents were insane enough to implement at least some of these ideas with their children.

      2. Kevin

        The Problem is Children Services

        I think on of the reasons why so many parents today are afraid to try and teach their children and discipline their children is largely because of how quick other people are to want to call the authorities like children services and then getting in trouble or having their kids taken away because those services want to tell you how to raise your kids. I don’t know how it is with these government services in the Amish community. But in the English community, they seem to like to take kids away from their parents for just looking at them wrong. Plus all of the fines and how hard it is for parents to get their kids back once the state takes them. I think it is because of this reason a lot of parents are afraid to teach their children the way Amish families do. And at some point, the kids learn this which is why kids think they can get away without having to listen to their parents. For a lot of parents I think they want to teach their kids the right way but are too afraid of what may happen in today’s society.

    6. The only insanity, IMO, is the author’s assumption that it’s crazy. I can only image how high on the insane-o-meter she would have thought my 1960’s pre-seatbelt or my dad’s WWII-on-the-farm upbringings would have registered.

      Great points in a great article.

    7. Maureen

      Work

      When I observe the Amish, the girls seem to do little else other than work from the age of nine on. The younger girls have simple chores, but suddenly the daughter at around age nine graduates and seemingly takes on more responsibilities. They are milking, mucking out the barn, tending the chickens, working the personal family garden, canning, collecting, sorting, washing, packing vegetables for market . There is constant laundry and mending, keeping house, cooking, shopping, and watching caring of younger siblings. They are never working alone, however, always their Mother nearby and other siblings doing like work. So it’s perceived different to me – team work. Young boys are stacking feed in barns and engrossed in the fixing of buggies and farm equipment, repair of home and barn, tending the fields, all aspects of dairy, and care of horses and livestock. Again, always a long side their father, uncles, and brothers – team work. At least four times a week, they break for lunch — they all seem to have a similar set up – several picnic tables are set up, usually plastic table clothes, pitchers of ice tea and lemonade, and meals prepared by women. There are always a few outdoor toys nearby for the younger children.

      So I think of this “work” as different. It’s not like a parent ordering a kid to do chores all day, alone, or even as punishment. Rather, the family uses this work time to teach and socialize, and where everyone is learning from each other and great progress takes place.

      “Insane” as appearing absurd? No. The definition of true “ family” at work is what I see.

      1. Excellent point about Amish work, Maureen. It serves multiple purposes, one of which is the community/family aspect. It’s often done with others, famously on a larger scale via work frolics, the well-known barn-raising, or threshing rings among farmers. Not that work isn’t work and that the children might wish to be doing something else at times, but that is also part of the point – learning discipline and work ethic, one important piece of Amish culture which underpins their communities.

    8. Randy A

      Makes Sense

      Most of the “rules” seem like common sense to me. Imagine if our entire culture operated this way.

    9. Al in Ky

      I enjoyed this post because of the good commnents that you made, Erik, and the comments of the Amish America readers who responded.

      What you said “In Conclusion” in the posting is excellent — “…the idea that many of these things are odd, or again to use the writer’s title, ‘insane’ suggests how much Amish culture and the dominant culture have diverged over the past several generations.”

      I was raised on a small family farm (160 acres) in the 1950’s and 1960’s in a rural area in the Upper Midwest. Our extended family farmed and lived on five farms within 3 miles of each other. Our community was non-Amish but most of us in the community belonged to the same country church in our township and shared a common ethnic heritage. If the writer had visited our community in the 50’s and 60’s, we may not have been termed as
      “insane”, but likely something very close to it. For even though we had electricity and used small tractors, we shared several of the characteristics that were used in the article to describe Amish children/youth, i.e. we learned to work at a young age, we helped on our parents’ farms (and neighbors farms), we had to go to bed early, etc. Though some of the work was hard, we knew it had to be done in order to help our parents keep our farms going and to keep our community strong. But it gave us a strong sense of purpose in life, gave us good feelings about being part of the community, and taught us good values that we have kept throughout our lives.

      But as you said, the dominant rural farming culture and Amish culture have diverged. I saw this beginning to happen in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. And I think that today traditional Amish culture and contemporary Amish culture are diverging also.

    10. Mary Yoder

      15 Insane Rules

      Hello,
      Oh my I have to comment because my blood starts boiling every time “non-Amish” talk about Rumspringa and link all Amish together. Erik your answers are good, the insane made me open up this post. Read on…

      Amish Kids Are Allowed To Do Whatever They Want During Rumspringa…. This is so NOT TRUE!b Even if a very small percentage seem uncaring, the youth KNOW and are admonished by their parents about all the bad stuff out there. There are a LOT of youth that never drink, do drugs, smoke, dress “English, drive cars, have bed courtship… the list goes on… like I said this make s my blood boil, sorry!

      Amish Teenagers Are Forced To Make A Decision… NOT TRUE! Just quit linking Amish together as one. If you know one like this then there are tons more that don’t.

      They Are Not Allowed To Play Musical Instruments…Not TRUE many play harmonica, some do guitars, keyboard, and more.

      Some Amish Kids Play With Faceless Dolls…True for select few… NOT TRUE for general.! I have only seen one faceless doll among my community and that’s on a shelf with heirlooms cuz great grandma made it. We have cabbage patch, with hair, without hair, whatever!

      Little Ones Have To Go To Bed Very Early…I would say not true because we are very social and have many gatherings when families come home at 10 PM. Again maybe in SOME areas.

      They Are Allowed To Start Dating In Their Teens… I would like to know where a 14 yr old girl can date. 16 is the age for boys and girls here and in some communities they can’t date until they are baptized. I would say English date way sooner than any Amish but then you can’t link all English in one group either.

      Farms are getting scarce. So many Amish kids don’t have to go to bed early or get up early. Again, depends where you are. Amish kids do have technology way too much!

      Yes, I am Amish, as you have guessed by now. I am so thankful that my parents taught me how to work. I did not roam the town streets lokking for excitement, I had lots of excitement riding my dear pony, helping with chores, hoeing weeds picking beans, oh yeah! Work does not hurt someone, its the people that don’t want to work that suffer in life!

      1. Happy to see you comment here again Mary, but I didn’t want to cause your blood to boil, even indirectly, to do it! :)Thanks for this additional commentary, really good to have a perspective from the community sharing in addition to my outsider’s voice.

        The one thing you commented on that I wasn’t sure of before and still curious about is how widespread the faceless dolls are. I started to comment on that in my original post but decided to leave it off. This spring I did see them for sale in a mostly-Amish-only shop in the Charlotte County, VA community (they are a spin-off of the Mechanicsville, MD community, so Lancaster lineage). I inquired about the price and was told they usually only sell them to their own people. I have not seen them much in general, and certainly can’t remember ever seeing them when I’ve been in your community. I would think it’s maybe more common in the more plain settlements.

        And yes I think the Rumspringa portrayal is the biggest overblown one…the public just likes this idea so much that there are all these wild Amish kids doing crazy things and that it is totally normal, even encouraged by the parents. There may be some wild Amish youth, but it’s not like the parents are cheering them on, I believe it’s usually quite the opposite isn’t it.

        1. Maureen

          Faceless Dolls

          Erick,

          IHere in Central New York and the North county the Amish I worked with a[and there are exceptions] are very conservative Troyer, Schwartzentruber, and Conservative Mennonite. MOST children play with faceless dolls that I have seen. I have seen Amish woman making these dolls to cell and craft stores and farmers markets.

          Western New York, [that I am NOT familiar with] has a large population of Amish. However, a store in this area, Katie’s Mercantile sells these hand made faceless dolls. Her store is in Canisteo, Steuben County, NY.
          https://www.katiesmercantile.com/dolls.html

          Katie also has Facebook [that I do not have], but she set it up whereby anyone can view, comment, and order. All her clothing is handmade by Christian women, is modest, reasonable. She has great quilts, rugs, etc. She has homemade faceless dolls for sale.

          Many Amish women here in Central New York purchase from Katie; she ships via USPS priority and is easy to work with. One of these days I vow to visit her store, but until then I order and have it sent.

          1. Great comment Maureen, thank you. I’ve suspected it’s mostly a more conservative Amish thing, but never really dug too deep into the topic. I’m going to ask about the dolls next time I am in a Swartzentruber or other Plainer settlement. Thanks for sharing these examples!

            1. Kaden mahaffa

              Faceless dolls

              The dolls are faceless to show that we are all the same in God’s eyes and looks don’t matter he loves us just the same

              1. Andy

                “Insane” Amish Rules and Faceless dolls

                I realize I’m chiming in here about 6 years after these discussions have been posted. Maybe nobody will read it, but I just wanted to point out that I greatly appreciate Erik’s take on those 15 “insane” rules. If the world was to follow these rules, we would have less problems with our (English) youth and society today. I grew up in Switzerland in the 1970’s and even though I’m not Amish, my parents applied the very same rules with us. It was just normal then. My grandparents had a farm in Switzerland that was like a Schwartzentruber Amish farm today. I remember still going to the outhouse as a kid when we were visiting. And that was in the 1970s.

                With regard to faceless dolls, I do spend a lot of time in the Amish community today and -to my knowledge- it goes back to Amish not taking pictures of themselves in order to remain humble and respectful before God. Pictures, and in some (but not all) Amish communities dolls with faces, are considered vain and should be avoided based on the bible’s 2. Commandment in Exodus 20:4. “Thou shalt not make onto thee any graven image…..”

                Thank you again for all your contributions Erik; they are always wonderful and to the point. Thank you also to all the other writers that appreciate the Amish lifestyle and culture. I only wish that these kind of discussions took place in the broader English community. I love the website, but it seems most people who read it are in agreement and what we ought to do is communicate this information to those who have a misconception of the Amish lifestyle and who do not seem to understand that not all Amish are the same.

      2. J L Hopkins

        Hullo from NZ. I have spent time on fb learning more about the ways n reasons why the Amish n Mennonites do what they do in all areas of life and am in general very impressed. So agree with the comment about ‘what would happen if the world followed their ways!’ I am a Christian but not happy with the loose morals n ways of thinking in our congregations in general so looking at how your Christian culture tries to hold onto the Christian model has been such a blessing. A good witness for the ways of godly living in the life. Thankyou.

    11. Maureen

      15 Insane Rules

      You summed this up with your key statement; “Just quit linking Amish together as one”.
      Generalizing any one group is plain wong and damaging.

      Thank you Mary Yoder!

    12. Yoder in Ohio

      You hit the nail square on the head Mary. I am Amish also and agree 100% with what you have written. It is frustrating at all the misleading information out there that makes it sound like all Amish are the same or ignores changes that have happened in many (maybe even most?) Amish groups. Thank you Erik for allowing the truth to be shared!

      1. Yoder, I’m always glad for your contributions here. Seeing articles like the one addressed here annoys me as an English person; as an Amish person who deals with hearing these things about his own community, I can imagine that can be annoying-squared or beyond. I appreciate what you add to the discussion.

    13. Daneise McCue

      that's the way it was meant to be

      I personally think the Amish have got it right, that is how it should be in every home. Each person should have an established “chore”, each child should be taught the things it takes to live their lives in their community as well as in the world. Today’s non amish parents let their kids run rampant, dont discipline them then wonder why they are abused by them, ha! GO AMISH FOLKS

      1. I think there is less discipline than when I was growing up (though I imagine each generation probably thinks something similar…) or maybe the discipline is there but in a different form. I do seem to regularly see children getting away with a lot in public which I or my brother wouldn’t have been able to in any circumstance. Again maybe that was there all along but my gut instinct is that society in general is more lax with disciplining children and I think it has a general effect on people’s manners and sense of what is socially acceptable as they grow older.

    14. 15 rules of Amish

      I have lived by Amish in NE Ohio all my life. There are A lot of differences and many similarities as well. There are are a couple of things rarely do you see misbehaving Amish children and they teach there children responsibility and work ethics. They may only go to school till 14 or 15 however most men know a trade and many younger women work outside the home without being strapped with student loans. One of the most intelligent persons I’ve ever known.

    15. Stephanie Zito

      15 Insane Rules All Amish Children Must Follow..?

      Hello Erik. There is nothing insane about how the Amish raise their children. Nor is there anything insane about how the Amish live and believe. In fact the “world” is insane in more ways than one. But the Amish are better off than the rest if us who live in this world even with our Christian values. The world has inflicted many insane agenda’s and evil practices in more ways than one. With the Amish there is tradition and a strong sense of and practice of morality combined with a deep faith. I appreciate your articles. It was interesting to read that the Amish do not prohibit Musical Instruments. I knew that they sing plain chant in the church which I appreciate. But as a Musician diversified instrumentalist I was cheered to learn from this article that musical instruments are allowed in the community outside of church. But I am not a wonderful cook and so I don’t think I would do well to become an Amish. I would rather be practicing my musical instruments and composing music and using my computer to set my compositions into printed form. I would not object to making crafts. But again I could never give up my music. So unfortunately I am stuck in this world. But I do thank Jesus for being my Savior and that He is with me and that I have a good foundation from the Bible, and strong Christian values. With that I keep to myself and so I can avoid the world in as many different ways as I choose to. But eventually I do have to go out and go shopping for more food. hah hah hah. Once in awhile when I go shopping I see some of the Amish women and I am happy to greet them and chat if we can and I even bought my Aussie from the Amish over a year ago. My ancestors on my mothers side were Menonites and so I guess their Christian values and teachings all filtered down to my mother and through her to me because mom was very strict and children were to be seen and not be heard and mind your peas and ques and eat all of your food and go to church every week and read the Bible.

      1. I agree with a lot of what you say Stephanie. Sounds like you are on a good track. The use of musical instruments by the Amish would vary by communities as to what you might see. By the way, not all Amish women are guaranteed to be great cooks!:)

        1. Verna

          Thank you for a great commentary, Eric, on a well-intentioned, somewhat ignorant article. You brought a good, factual balance to the piece. I agree that many Americans would do well to follow the work ethics and parts of the Amish lifestyle that were common among rural folks for centuries, but, as you also mentioned, I have great concerns about the safety of the children and responsibilities they are given. There are far too many incidents of children being burned while working in the kitchen or farm-related accidents. And a five year old is not old enough to take responsibility of an infant, or a ten year old of several toddler siblings. When something happens due to the child’s immaturity and lack of experience and that child has to live with guilt the rest of their life that is not okay. Also, I would like to say that for every two or three good families among the Amish there is (at least) one where the children are being (verbally, emotionally, physically, and /or sexually) abused and made to fumble their way through life, confused and hurting. The Amish rank very low on the scale when it comes to caring about the emotional needs of their people, and I dare say the children suffer the most. This is for all those who only see the ‘ethereal’ lifestyle from the outside. Take the finer parts of the Amish lifestyle and incorporate them if you wish but don’t try to join them. You’ll do yourself and your family, if you have one, a great disservice. My husband and I have family and close acquaintances in over a dozen Amish communities and this is not something that is exclusive to only one community. I can only thank God daily we escaped with our children before it was too late.

    16. nt

      On rule #12, that isn’t bad at all. They’re not working to enrich some corporation. They’re working to help their families and communities. Their work has meaning.

    17. Smart person

      Obviously biased

      Both the article and the poster have separate but obviously biased opinions and neither should be in any kind of journalism. This was just annoying.

    18. John A

      You left something out

      Being gay and Amish dont mix. I’m former Amish and left because I was attracted to men. It wasn’t like I had a choice. The community ostracised me.

      1. Lara

        Hot Amish Gay Guy

        It’s such a pity you’re gay because if that is your picture on here, you are good looking! . On a more serious note, I as a Christian, worry a lot about LGBT etc people. I don’t know if people are born gay, become that way because of abuse, choose to be that way or are just deliberately sinning (we all sin and homosexuality is not the only sin nor is it unforgivable). Know that God loves you and that Jesus died for your sins because of that love. I do not think that all aspects of the Amish church are spiritually healthy and I suspect your views of God are somewhat skewed by your perhaps negative experience of growing up Amish. I am straight but was raised with a very free and joyful type of Christianity. Both my parents and my church gave me a lot of freedom and taught me that God loves us to our innermost being and sent His Son to die for every sin. We can come to God without fear with ALL our problems, fears, hurts and sins. YOU ARE LOVED!

    19. phil

      come on

      Any group, Amish or not, with these strict tenants and group think pressure cannot pretend their children and young adults are “free”, and being Amish is just like any other culture or lifestyle choice. Sure, you can leave. But that means being completely ostracized from all you ever knew. Who has the inner fortitude at 18 to do that? If there are recovery groups for ex-amish, like there are for ex-addicts, then there’s a problem with the amish and not the person who left.

    20. Sorcha

      I find it funny that the faceless doll is ‘insane’ because I grew up going to a Steiner school (I think it’s called Waldorf schools in America) and being apart of that community and they have an emphasis on faceless dolls. The reason being that a child can imagine more with a toy that’s emotions and feelings haven’t been set in stone by have a smile on its face. It just opens up play and give children more ways to express themselves.

    21. Clu Carradine

      Why is this "insane"?

      Wasted a couple of minutes of life I’ll never get back reading this and looking for something “insane”. Didn’t see it.

      Looks like a pretty good way to live and raise kids, actually. I just couldn’t live without air conditioning, TV, and the Internet, lol.