More Than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting (by Serena Miller and Paul Stutzman) has actually been out a few months already. We took a brief look at this book in a previous post (“Are Amish Children Happier?“).

amish-parentingI should say I’m not surprised to see a “how-to” book on Amish parenting. I’ve always thought this would be an attractive topic, given outsiders’ positive impression of Amish children, and how important parenting is.

I haven’t read More Than Happy, but Laura Johnston of recently wrote about it, sharing five ideas “that struck [her] most.” I’ve summarized them here:

  1. Reduce Technology – No entertainment devices leads to more talking, and less “acting out.”
  2. Promote Hospitality – It’s hard to be lonely with family and friends always around.
  3. Make Chores a Family Thing – Including young children makes them feel like needed contributors.
  4. Instill Uffgevva – A dialect word described in The Amish Way as a “self-surrender” which involves yielding to community authority and God’s will. Uffgevva promotes thinking of others first.
  5. Keep Family First – A large, intact family is the “stable foundation” which should come before individual desires.

When I wrote my book on Amish business people’s success ideas, I tried to keep in mind that not everything is perfectly repeatable in a non-Amish context.

In the case of raising children, I’d think that some features of the culture would also be hard to reproduce outside of it.

For example, the large families, extensive community support, and uniform belief system.


Or for that matter, the acceptance of physical discipline, which seems to be falling out of favor in parts of society–but remains a reality in Amish homes (and even schools).

Of course, that doesn’t mean these ideas can’t be part of non-Amish parenting. Some of them might simply be called “old-fashioned”, or “what worked for my parents.”

Parents especially, what do you think? Did these tips resonate with you? Would you add anything to this list?

Image credit: Family walking- Ed C.

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