Being Amish in the Modern World
One of the things Amish culture stresses most is being apart from the world, it’s because of this that they were plain clothing, have no electric, and drive buggys (horse-drawn carriages) instead of cars, but how can the very old fashioned Amish survive in a modern world? Here’s how;
Transportation: Most of the Amish don’t do allot of long distance travel, so a horse and carriage, or a buggy as they call it, will work for most of their travel needs. When the Amish need to go on longer journeys they usually will call a taxi service or ask a non-Amish friend, the Amish are not allowed to own or drive cars but they can ride in one if needed.
Work: The majority of the Amish work in some sort of farming or construction related jobs, with many of them owning their own businesses, the rules for how they run their business depends on the church rules and personal conviction. They can hire people who are not Amish, this is often necessary so that they can drive them around for business purposes. Some are allowed to have desktop computers but only for work purposes and it cannot be in their homes, some will also buy cell phone but not smartphones and again they will only use it for their business.
Home: Many of today’s families would think it impossible to go a day without electric and electronics, but the Amish do this every day. Amish power and light their homes by using gas, or sometimes generators. Many communities also allow battery powered objects, so long as it complies with other Amish rules.
School: Amish children will attend school until the 8th grade, then they will often study a trade or start jobs, most times in farming, construction, or some kind of craftsmanship. In most communities the Amish operate their own schools, which are usually one-room school houses with an Amish, or sometimes Mennonite, teacher (Mennonite parents will sometimes send their children to Amish schools and vise-versa). There have been many conflicts over the way the Amish educate their children, but most of them have been resolved. In fact, in the past, when Amish student test scores were compared with that of normal school children, they performed above the national average for rural school children in spelling, word usage, and arithmetic. They performed below the national average, however, in vocabulary.
As time has passed the Amish have felt allot of pressure form the modern world, and because of this they have had to make many hard decisions, but they still stick to what they know and believe.
- Marilyn Stoltzfus,
Daughter of R&G Services founder and owner.