Saturday, May 14, 2011
Spending time with the Amish
Shipshewana is an Amish town in Northern Indiana about 30 miles from where we live. It's a wonderful town with shops, restaurants, farms, theater, festivals and flea markets. It's a great place to spend the day. We love taking friends there to explore. The Amish are very friendly and engaging. They handle the curiosity and questions about their life style, clothing and habits very well. While browsing in a candy store, Sara spotted an Amish family with a girl her age. She exclaimed, "Mommy, I think they are Amish!" They laughed and confirmed her suspicions. Sara walked over to the little girl, introduced herself and asked if she wanted to be friends. The Amish girl responded with an enthusiastic "yes"! They held hands and explored the candy store. They bonded over their love of sugary treats and the woes of having younger brothers. The Amish are so different in so many ways. But, they are very similar to us as well. The mother and I chatted about large families, toddlers, sibling rivalry, diapers, feeding, etc. I admire and respect their lifestyle. They live by a simple and honest code. Be faithful, respectful, considerate, don't judge, don't be jealous or prideful. While I don't think I could handle their dawn to dusk, no electricity lifestyle, I am truly in awe of their way of life. They do not judge others. They are not jealous or competitive. They live simply and honestly. They fully embrace the idea of community. They pitch in and take care of each other. People often wonder if they judge our modern and extravagant lifestyle. They do not. They believe everyone should live the life they choose.
We went on a buggy ride with an Amish driver. Sara sat next to him and told him all about her imaginary horses and how she cares for them. She had millions of questions about his horses. Interestingly, she didn't ask about his clothes or the Amish lifestyle. She understands that they dress differently and don't use cars. She accepts their lifestyle for what it is - theirs. I'm trying to convince her she would enjoy a couple weeks of "plain" living. She says as long as she could bring her stuffed "lambi" to sleep with, she'd be ok.