7 Lessons We Can Learn From the Amish
I’ve been living around the Amish in Lancaster, PA for more than 6 years now and they have some things down to a science.
For those of you who might not know anything about the Amish, they are plain folk who live without any modern conveniences, cars, electricity, or even buttons and zippers. They ride around in horse-drawn buggies to their houses that are lit by gas lamps and are content to spend time with each other rather than watching TV.
For all of the complaints I can levy against the Amish (think about the metal tires of their buggies tearing up roads, but they don’t pay road taxes), they have a lot of lessons that we could all learn from.
Make as much as you can homemade
The Amish make everything by hand: clothes, breads, quilts… everything is made my hand. But this concept goes beyond clothing. It goes into their gardening and the animals they have. Every Amish family I know has at least a small garden and a few chickens for eggs. Even those families have parents with bigger farms where they can get their produce and other necessities.
The closer to the source you can get your food, the better. So making food from scratch that was grown by your dad a mile away is even better.
Hands off medicine and holistic healing
My homebirth midwives deliver mostly Amish women, so I’ve gotten a chance to learn a lot about holistic healing from them. Most of the time, fevers are your body’s way of getting over a cold. Yes, no one likes being sick, but your body is working on getting rid of the germs. Conventional medicine says to go to the doctor or hospital right away with a fever. Hands off medicine says stay hydrated, sleep, eat small whole food meals, and just keep an eye out for problems (dehydration is a biggie).
There are hundreds of teas, tinctures, supplements, salves, and herbs that are used by the Amish. But ask if any of them take a prescription, and the answer is a resounding “no.” The only prescription they have is for their glasses.
Before you reach for the phone to call a doctor, check out this about natural ways to help when you’re sick.
More time outside
Most Amish live on farms or have responsibilities to the family farm each day. They get up and at em before the sun is even up. And then, rain or shine, they’re outside tending to the horses, or the cows, or weeding the garden, churning the butter, or any number of daily tasks that they have.
They spend a lot of time outside each day.
They work hard while they’re outside, too. It’s not just sun bathing; they’re outside working. Who needs a gym membership when you have to walk a mile to get to your mailbox?
More time with each other
Now, what is it that people did before smartphones… or even before TVs…? I can’t remember!
But the Amish do that every day. They spend time together in the kitchen making dinner or in the barn fixing the buggies. Since the Amish circle is relatively small, everyone knows everyone else. There’s always something to talk about.
There are so many distractions in our lives. We need to take a page from the Amish’s play book and really put down the distractions and get to know each other again.
Take life slower
We’re always in such a hurry to get places. Whether it’s rushing to get to work on time, rushing to get the kids to school on time, rushing to get to the store before dinner… we’re always is a hurry to get somewhere.
When your source of transportation is a horse and buggy, a push scooter, or your own feet, there really is no “rushing” to get places. Planning ahead, putting down the distractions, planning out your day, asking for help when you need it, are all little things we could learn from the Amish about taking it slower.
You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village”? The Amish believe that, and live it out every day. Families live close to one another (or on the same property), so when a woman has her first baby, her mom, sisters, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, and whole extended family are right there to help her when she needs it.
The men work together to keep their farms in working order. Even more impressive, have you ever seen a barn raising? You have to see this:
That is the kind of team work that the Amish do. They build each other up instead of tearing each other down.
Take a full day off from work and chores to be with God and each other.
For the Amish, Sundays are a big deal. Church starts early and is usually in someone’s house. After church, you might go to another friend’s house, or you might stay at the host’s house for the whole day of fellowship. Everything in Lancaster is closed on Sundays (mostly thanks to the Amish influence). They don’t work at all on Sunday. They take a full day of rest.
A lot of us struggle to take a full day of rest. There are only two days in the weekend, after all, and I have a laundry list of housework that needs to get done. Right? Put down the to-do (or honey-do) list, and spend time together with God, family, and friends.
Of course the Amish have their problems (they are human), but there are a few things that we could learn from the way that they live their daily lives.
Would you ever give up electricity? I know I wouldn’t!