An analysis of family life in Amish communities.
After being approached by her agent to write a romance novel set in Amish country, Miller (The Measure of Katie Calloway, 2011, etc.) set out to learn as much as she could about this private community of industrious people. She was particularly drawn to the children, who appeared well-fed, well-behaved, polite and happy. Over a period of years, she became friends with many Amish families and even managed to acquire an invitation to a young couple’s wedding, a rare experience for an “Englisch” person. Beyond their deep faith in God and the religious rules that govern their lives, Miller discovered many things in the Amish experience that appear lacking in the “Englisch” community. The Amish surround themselves with family, so grandparents and grandchildren intermingle on a daily basis. The elderly are not placed in nursing homes but are cared for by their sons and daughters and neighbors. Divorce is almost unheard of, which creates a stable environment for children, and children are taught from the toddler stage that everyone has chores to do to assist in daily life. They don’t drive, get an education beyond the eighth grade or own computers, but some use modern cellphones and computers as tools at work. Not all of life is work-related, as children play together with simple toys, and adolescents intermingle, but all learn from their older siblings and parents to take pride in cooking, gardening, farming and animal husbandry, and they are encouraged to work on projects that might bring them a little spending money. In this informal examination, Miller, with the assistance of Amish community member Stutzman (Hiking Through, 2012), not only provides a kaleidoscope of insight into the daily structure of Amish parenting, but she compares and contrasts it with “Englisch” parenting and offers ways to incorporate Amish methods into one’s own life.
A rich, entertaining compendium of thoughts on the Amish way of life.