In this video, I look at three common mistakes people make when talking about the Amish. I have probably been guilty of all of these at some points as well.
If you’d like to read the article version of this video, you can find that here. What do you think? Are there other examples that should go on the list? Runtime: 5:07.
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3 Mistakes We Make About The Amish
Thank you for this Eric!
Based on what I’ve seen both here and on YouTube, there’s an enormous amount of deifying of the Amish way of life.
How often do we see (on almost every Amish discussion board/thread/blog/video) non-Amish people almost begging to be able to join the Amish? Based on questions that are sometimes posted here, there are often posters who haven’t taken ANY time to do research at such sites as the online Journal of Plain Anabaptist Communities (JPAC); instead they want an Amish community member to take them under their wing and help “make” them Amish.
As you’ve stated so well, the Amish are human just as you and I the “English” are. They haven’t been put on Earth to rescue members of the larger society from the guilt of too much consumerism, too much technology or a world too big, too cold, too fast, too complex, or too uncaring.
Want to live a simpler life? Use less technology, take yourself off the energy grid, grow a vegetable garden, learn to make your own clothes, move to a more rural area, pray more.
But DON’T depend on the Amish to cleanse you of the burdens of your life – it’s not realistic for you, and not fair to them.
"Never say 'Never.'"
Well done! I think this should be required viewing for anyone who develops an interest in the Amish. I’ve often said, “Whenever you are making a statement about the Amish and you use an absolute like “never” or “always,” you’re going to be incorrect. In the larger sense, sweeping generalizations are a problem with society in general. (Including that one. LOL)
I think a fourth candidate for addition to the list is focusing on the lifestyle without understanding the reasons/beliefs for it. As a result, we Englisch tend to think “being Amish” is about going without and living simply. That thinking tends to undervalue the Amish mindset and belief system.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a young girl raised Amish who is studying for her baptism and has decided to join the church to “become and remain Amish.” I asked her what she would miss the most. (She’s clearly in rumpringa currently.) She admitted it would probably be her smartphone. But without pausing for breath, she started listing the things she would “getting” by being Amish.