Amish Culture



The past five weeks in my life have really had an impact on me. In such a short period of time, I have become more aware of the different cultures that exist around the world today. We tend to think that our way of life is the only way there is, or at least the only right way. It is really very ignorant to think that everyone believes and behaves the same way. People should stop being so self-centered and take notice and interest in cultural diversity. There are numerous different cultures in our country alone. One in particular is the Amish culture, which I would like to familiarize you with.
The Amish culture consists of many unique beliefs that makes their ways unlike that of any other culture. They lead a life of simplicity and yet have very harsh ways of doing things. The Amish is perhaps the most diverse culture in the entire United States. The Amish of Pennsylvania and Ohio greatly differ with the rest of American society.
"Although the Amish look like they stepped out of the rural nineteenth century, in fact they do change," (Amish Cultures). Their lives move more slowly than ours, but they definitely are not stuck anywhere. They move on slowly but surely. Instead of accepting new technology like the rest of American society, they choose to examine change carefully before they approve of it. If the new idea or gadget does not succeed in keeping their lives simple and their families together, they will most likely reject it. Family is among the most important values the Amish stress. They don\'t like to let anything break their family ties. The fact that they have lived this way for hundreds of years and not allowed the "modern" world to deter them from their pursuit of their service to God, is truly unbelievable.
As mentioned earlier, the Amish do not like anything technologized in fear that it will break the family up. In actuality, they are completely right. If you take a look at an Amish family and compare it to an average American family, you would see major differences. The average American family would be very divided. You\'d find the children and parents watching T.V., accessing computers, surfing the internet, playing video games, etc. In the Amish family, everyone would gather together to eat, work, and play. The Amish keep their materials basic. This way they are certain no technological advance can pull them apart. "Old order groups all drive horses and buggies rather than cars, do not have electricity in their homes. Bottled gas is used to operate water heaters, modern stoves and refrigerators. Gas-pressured lanterns and lamps are used to light homes, barns, and shops," (The Amish People 14).
The Amish place very large emphasis on humanity, family, community, and separation with the rest of the world. They place value on simplicity and self-denial, whereas, typical Americans cherish comfort, convenience and leisure. Most Americans speak one to two languages fluently. Among the most popular are English and Spanish. On the other hand, "most Amish are trilingual. They speak a dialect of German called Pennsylvania Dutch at home; they use High German at their worship services; and they learn English at school," (Amish Culture).
On average, an Amish family numbers 8 as opposed to the rest of American cultures which numbers 3. Their homes are large with several rooms opening into one large room where they hold church. The houses are furnished very simply with benches on which the families sit to eat their meals. The floors are bare and the windows are covered with plain colored cloth.
Amish children attend private, one-room schoolhouses which are either taught by the parents or a young, unmarried Christian woman. However, in most American cultures, teachers of any sex and marital status are hired for the job. Amish children usually attend school until eighth grade, whereas, most other cultures continue on through high school and sometimes even college. Also, Amish school systems are operated solely by the parents. Every family pitches in and helps paint, repair and maintain their local school. Though Amish communities hold very close ties with their schools, much emphasis isn\'t really placed on scholastic education because it is thought that