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The Traditional Family
& The Amish

There is much talk today about the importance of "traditional family values." In modern society we look to institutions outside the home for education, religion, entertainment, etc. This series examines to what extent the Amish have been able to keep these functions in the home.

(To read each section of the series individually, click on the following bookmarks, or read on for the entire series.)

 

Part One: The Family & Work Part Five: The Importance of Religion
Part Two: Work at Home vs. Factory Part Six: Security & Recreation
Part Three: Education at Home & In School Part Seven: A Final Look at Amish Family
Part Four: Work & Sex Roles in the Family

 

The Traditional Family
& The Amish

Part One: The Family & Work

It has been said that the family in America’s early years was "the factory of the time." The family was more self-sufficient, and one’s "co-workers" were family members. A self-sufficient family or community need not go outside itself. It can remain isolated and guard itself against factors leading to disunity and disruption. Yet such isolation is virtually impossible in today’s world, as even the Amish are fully aware.

The Amish live among non-Amish in modern rural America. While they are more isolated in some areas, other communities interact daily with the modern world, perhaps nowhere as dramatically as in Lancaster. Here the Amish come into contact not only with their "English" neighbors, but directly and indirectly with millions of visitors from the United States and around the world.

To the Amish, the idea of separation from the modern world and non-conformity to its ways are stated clearly in the New Testament---"Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed." The Amish have adopted some facets of modern technology and shunned others. The fact that the Amish population is growing, and that the majority of their young people decide to join the faith through adult baptism, testifies that there are important values in this culture. This economic function, the family and its members working as a unit within the supporting Amish community, creates a strong bond and gives each worker a clear and vital " place" through the work he performs.

Most Amish are farmers, although in some areas of the USA barely half remain so. With an average of seven or eight children, each member plays a part in the family’s economic survival. It is likely that children are very conscious of this. Dr. John Hostetler, in his book Amish Society, notes the importance of all this when he says...

"Like most parents in American society, the Amish recognize the teen period as critical. The Amish family needs the help of its teen-age child more than the typical American family, and the child feels the family’s need of him. the young person who works on the farm can understand and feel the contribution he is making to his family."

Indeed, Amish formal schooling stops at the eighth grade. From then on children are at home or on the farm, learning the tasks they will have as adults by working with their parents. The family and home become the place of "on the job" training.

On a farm, your work directly affects you and your family. You are a member of this company (the family), and you have your job responsibilities. In simple terms, the cows have to be fed and milked so that food and shelter can be provided for the family. Your paycheck comes daily in the form of food, clothing, shelter, and affection.

Children see their parents working hard every day and children want to help. Children often try tasks they are too young to perform, or mimic their parents when they play. I once saw a four-year-old Amish boy cry when he could not go along and help father in the field. (When I was a boy, I would sometimes try to invent ways of getting out of my chores.)

At times, individual families become caught up in other "family economies", as when three farmers get together to help each other fill their respective silos. In such ways, the family and community bonds are further strengthened.

By the 1970’s, making a living from farming was becoming more difficult. The increasing Amish population, coupled with decreasing farmland and higher prices, made getting started difficult or impossible for some. Others found the payments on the farm, building, loans, mortgages, and interest a hardship.

One alternative was to move to another area where farmland was available and cheaper. Others looked at ways to supplement their income by having a family member work out for others, sometimes on a carpentry crew, as a farmhand, or as a cleaning lady in homes of non-Amish. But of most concern to the Amish was the possible necessity of having to work in a factory, and whether or not such work really was necessary.

 

Part Two: Work at Home vs. Factory

In the Amish community of Lancaster, the "lunch pail" problem of the 1970’s became an important issue. As farmland became scarce and expensive, more and more men were working in factories, taking their lunches off to their jobs away from home.

In the July, 1972 issue of the Amish monthly magazine Family Life, there was an article concerning farm versus factory. It told the story of a man who worked for a while in a factory, but decided to try to buy a farm, even if it would cause him financial difficulties. On the negative side of factory work, he saw the following:

  1. Working with worldly people who practice smoking, swearing, telling dirty stories, etc.
  2. Men and women working together under such conditions.
  3. Fathers away from home.
  4. Too much money available.

The author then came up with some alternatives to factory work...

  1. Spread out. In most of our communities farms are available on the edge of the communities at a much cheaper price.
  2. If you want to buy a farm some day, then begin now to live simple and save money. Don’t try to keep up with the Jones’s (the Beilers, or the Lapps).
  3. In many communities there is a good market for truck crops or specialty crops. This could provide profitable employment for the children and can be done on a small acreage.
  4. There are always older people who are well established financially. Why not help the young people get started instead of putting money in the bank?

Finally, the Amish writer spells out the importance he sees in remaining a farmer...

"The high cost of living, or the cost of 'living high,' makes it difficult to start farming today and to keep on farming. As far back as we can go in the history of our people, we find they were an agricultural people. To change this now would be taking a serious step."

When work involves going outside the family and community for economic survival, it can drive a wedge into the family which can cause disruption by getting economically involved with the outside world.

When many of the Amish church districts in Lancaster County permitted the use of machinery powered by diesel, hydraulic, or compressed air systems, many small Amish businesses were set up at home, forming another option for the family that could not farm. Dr. Donald Kraybill in his book The Riddle of Amish Culture quoted an Amishman as saying that these small family shops and businesses were...

"a sharp turn towards home, that is back to an Anabaptist culture. Many of these shops were erected on the farm or adjacent to it. They provide the off-farm worker a job at home with or near his family, self-dependent, self-supporting, making, repairing, or selling a product that he knows is useful, one which he has a right to be proud of."

Yet, as Kraybill makes clear, "businessmen and bishops alike fear that, in the long run, prosperity could ruin the church." Some larger Amish enterprises have annual sales of over one million dollars. This kind of growth can be dangerous. Even a family farm can turn into a large and complicated business venture, as with many non-Amish farm operations of hundreds of acres.

This concern of "getting too big" came up earlier in the century with the farmers themselves, and the arrival of the tractor. While some Amish in Lancaster bought and used the early tractors, these machines were banned in 1923. In time tractors were allowed to power other stationary farm machinery, and horses could pull diesel-operated farm machinery in the fields. There was a fear that normal use of "tractors will lead to cars."

The Amish saw in the car a threat to the community’s existence. Yet the use of a car for trips, or of the bus to go to town, is allowed. As Kraybill noted, "The Amish believe that by turning the use of cars over to individuals, they would quicken the pace of their life, erase geographical limits, weaken social control, and eventually ruin their community."

Two of the strengths of the Amish community are its ability to accept that it is not self-sufficient, and its ability to establish boundaries for dealing with the outside world. The Lancaster Amish found that the constant stream of tourists provided a steady market for their cottage industries, which in turn allowed many of them to make a living without leaving the homestead. While some writers have decried this, others have argued that tourism and cottage industries may have indirectly strengthened the Amish community in Lancaster. How successfully the Amish adapt to the changing economic situation will be a matter of great importance as they move with us into the 21st century.

 

Part Three: Education at Home & In School

In the traditional family, much of the education took place at home, even the learning of an occupation. In rural America, formal education took place in the one-room school. The Amish resisted the move to large consolidated schools, and have stuck to their community-controlled one-room schoolhouses.

In 1972, a ruling by the United States Supreme Court decided that the Amish could not be forced into compulsory high school education, and sanctioned their system of one-room schools and education through the eighth grade.

In Pennsylvania, nearly twenty years before this ruling, a plan had been worked out whereby the Amish child leaves school after grade eight, but receives some vocational schooling once a week. A journal or diary is usually kept on his or her work at home and on the farm. This "education by doing," after formal schooling is completed, has been referred to as the "school without walls."

Children learn about the operation and techniques of farming, or the trade of their father. Girls work with their mother and sisters. Hostetler and Huntington relate in their book Children In Amish Society some of the tasks children perform and then write about in their working diaries...

From Chester’s Diary

  • Monday--Checked the meadow fence for (electrical) shorts. Shovel-harrowed garden and concreted chicken house.
  • Tuesday--Chopped wood and cleaned boards.
  • Wednesday--Made a new door for cow stable in the afternoon.
  • Thursday--Went to school in forenoon. Filled silo in afternoon.

From Rebecca’s Diary

  • Monday--I helped with the Monday work (washing and ironing) and daily chores.
  • Tuesday--I was mending in the A.M. and unloading wood in the P.M. and culling chickens in the eve.
  • Wednesday--Sewed in the A.M., washed eggs in the P.M.

Thus, these 14-year-olds are learning the skills important to them when they own their own farm, or run their own household. Perhaps some children miss going to school, but most are probably quite happy to be working at home or on the farm.

Authors Hostetler and Huntington conclude that...

"These young people are learning not only how to do the necessary work but also when to do it, how to incorporate each task with other necessary activities, and how work functions both within their family and within the wider community. They learn to enjoy the work and see it as creative, both in the immediate results and in its contribution to the comfort and happiness of others... The Amish obtain greater emotional satisfaction from manual labor than do most public school graduates."

In an Amish family I knew, the father made many references to farming and his enjoyment of the work involved with it. He said that being indoors was like being in prison, and he could not imagine himself going to college. He noted that the 15 year-old hired boy who often helped him treated work like play. Boys start helping father at an early age. Indeed, some Amish boys start plowing at the age of eight.

Dr. Donald Erickson, in testifying before the Supreme Court, made some remarks concerning vocational training that are of interest.

"Many public educators would be elated if their programs were as successful in preparing students for productive community life as the Amish system seems to be. In fact, while some public schoolmen strive to outlaw the Amish approach, others are being forced to emulate many of its features."

Erickson thought the learning-by-doing approach was the ideal system for preparing the Amish child for life as an adult in the Amish community. "I would be inclined to say they do a better job in this than most of the rest of us do."

The Amish see many evils in the public schools, which is why they prefer their own private ones. In 1965, one Amish writer listed some of the things which concern parents about public schools, including being foreign to the Bible’s teachings; the appropriateness of companions, environment, and teachers; evolution, atheism, patriotism, and the quickly changing trends away from ideas important to the Amish. Today other concerns like the quality of education, drugs, and violence would certainly be added to the list. Amish schools serve to protect children from these influences.

Amish parents are involved with what goes on in school, and are welcome to stop in for unannounced visits. The school is owned, operated, financed, and directed by the parents. The Amish saw modern schools as a threat to the values the family, church, and community try to instill in young people. Indeed, they worried over the result when this educational function was being taken away from them by the government. As author Kraybill noted, "The Amish felt that high school education would separate children from their parents, their traditions, and their values."

 

Part Four: Work & Sex Roles in the Family

One role of the traditional family was to give prestige and status to it members. A person was "less an individual and more a member of a family." Each member of the family had a job, a position, a status.

Chores are fairly clearly divided by sexual role in the Amish home. The man usually works on the farm, with the wife helping from time to time, if needed. The wife does the cooking, washing, cleaning, etc. Children grow up identifying with the parent of their sex. Boys tag along behind father, and girls stay indoors to help mother. There are, of course, many exceptions to this, but father is to be the head of the household.

In an Amish family I knew, father nodded his head at the beginning of a meal for silent prayer, and shuffled his feet or cleared his throat to end the period of prayer. He was mainly in charge of financial matters and writing checks. His wife would consult with him before making certain purchases, perhaps asking his opinion concerning buying a particular item. When there was disagreement, a point was reached where she would fall silent, and the final decision was made by the husband.

An article in the Amish monthly magazine Family Life discussed this matter of the man as head of the home, and the woman being subordinate to the man...

"Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. One of the greatest needs of our time is men who will assume the responsibility which God has placed on their shoulders. Not to accept that responsibility is to lie down on the job, to fail God’s will."

Concerning the issue of equality of the sexes, another writer noted that...

"It’s not a question at all of whether or not women are as good as men. The Bible teaches very clearly that men and women are equal. But being equal in worth does not mean being the same in calling. Each has been assigned separate and distinct roles by the great Creator. If marriage were to be 50-50, that would result in two people being the head of the home. Not only is that not Scriptural, it isn’t even workable."

Another writer, however, stresses that...

"Subordinate does not mean inferior... The citizens shall be subordinate to the government, but this does not make them inferior citizens. The lay members should be subordinate to the leaders of the church, but this does not make inferior people out of them. Even the most brilliant pupil should be subordinate to his teacher, but this does not make him inferior. The same thing applies in the home between children and their parents, and between man and wife."

There are problem marriages, of course. Yet most Amish women seem to accept their position, although at times housework is boring and tiresome.

One Amish woman noted that she and her husband were opposites. She got up bright and early, but he was slow to arise. He had no concept of time and was forgetful, but each night she planned what she would do the following day. Her final comments are not uncommon ones by women writing to the editors...

"By now you’re wondering how we can stand each other. It took a while, but one thing we have always been able to do is talk things over, and that’s one of the keys---communication. I remember well the time he told me, 'How would you like to be like I am?' 'Impossible,' I answered. He then explained that that is what I am trying to do to him, trying to make him like I am, and he said that’s impossible, too... I began to realize we can complement each other... It is very essential to give in to each other, but it is not necessary to lose one’s individual identity."

In the 1970’s, when communes appeared in many parts of the USA, some "discoveries" were made by modern non-Amish in their attempt to return to nature and be self-sufficient. A visitor to a farm commune in California wrote that...

"It becomes clear why, in a community like this, sex roles are so well-defined and satisfying. When men actually do heavy physical labor like chopping trees, baling hay, and digging irrigation ditches, it feels very fulfilling for the women to tend the cabin, grind wheat, put up fruit, sew or knit. With no supermarkets and banks, there is a direct relationship between work and survival. It is thus possible for even the most repetitious jobs such as washing dishes or sawing wood to be spiritually rewarding."

Finally, concerning the elderly, Dr. John Hostetler notes in his book Amish Society that there are many advantages to growing old in Amish culture, such as prestige, economic security, and social and family continuity. "There is little problem with loneliness. Older people are assured of meaningful social participation."

 

Part Five: The Importance of Religion

It is should be obvious that religion is important to the Amish, since their way of dress alone is evidence of a different faith and way of life. The religious function of the family is not only reinforced by prayers at meals, family devotion, etc., but during worship itself.

As the Amish go from house to house for church every other Sunday, their religion remains literally in the home. The family is not split up and sent to different rooms for Sunday School. Indeed, Sunday Schools, which separated children from parents and made "teaching religion" more institutional, were one of the causes behind the formation of the Old Order groups.

At an Amish church service, everyone sits through the three hour plus service together in connecting rooms, although men and women are separated. Small children are passed back and forth, or walk between father and mother during the service. Worship is a family affair in the home.

Children also see their parent’s faith in practice (or not in practice) on a daily basis. Many Amish writings stress the importance of the example set by parents. The Amish often quote Proverbs in the Bible, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

All of this is part of the integration of the religion and family in the personal life of the individual and the community. The ordnung or ordinances of the church, sometimes seem unnecessarily picky to outsiders.

But as Dr. Donald Kraybill notes in his Riddle of Amish Culture, the ordnung...

"regulates private, public, and ceremonial life... Rather than a packet of rules to memorize, the Ordnung is the ‘understood’ behavior by which the Amish are expected to live... Children learn the Ordnung from birth by observing adults and hearing parents and others talk about it. It gradually becomes the definition of reality, ‘the way things are,’ in the child’s mind."

The pervasiveness of religion and ordnung is so strong that it is sometimes overlooked as the cement that keeps Amish culture together. Some say the Amish, rather than having a religion based on faith, have one of outmoded traditions and ideas, many of which they cannot even explain. Others find shunning unnecessarily harsh. Amish communities sometimes fragment over seemingly trivial issues to the non-Amish outsider. Others see the Amish lifestyle as an idyllic return to "basic values, " missing the religious order behind it all.

Some have joined the Amish faith from outside, but this attraction often comes from what they see superficially of the Amish and their way of life. Those expecting high theological discussions of the faith are disappointed.

Amish expert Dr. John Hostetler writes in his book Amish Society that...

"the greatest difficulties for those who try to join the Amish are: the hard manual labor, learning to accept responsibility willingly, and developing the ability to understand directions communicated in a nonverbal way. For a young man who is a prospective convert, Amishness begins with the stable and a pitchfork. For the young girl, it begins with the work at hand."

One discovers what it means to be Amish by being and participating, not by theory and theological discourse. But this simply means that the religion, lifestyle, and culture are so intertwined that by attempting to dissect them, we destroy the concept of the whole.

In Amish life, there is much concern over the submission of the individual to the community and to the Church. Indeed, Dr. Kraybill finds the answers to much the Amish do in the word gelassenheit, which he defines as "submission," or yielding to a higher authority. The noted Amish expert, Dr. John Hostetler, once noted bluntly in a lecture that among the Amish "self-pride stinks." One does not find it uncommon to read articles by the Amish about "breaking the will" of small children.

I observed this first-hand when I ate with an Amish family several years ago. The one and a half-year-old boy was being stubborn by not putting his hands under the high chair tray during prayer before and after the meal. Of course, he was too young to know why this was a necessary prelude to eating. Consequently, we sat through periods of screaming fits from time to time. But through patient and determined work by the parents at every meal, which sometimes involved holding him and his hands down, he eventually understood that this had to be done. This was a step in breaking the will, but through it all love and affection were lavished on the children, even amid concern that perhaps they were being spoiled.

What one feels in Amish society is a sense of place, position, and belonging. While some may view aspects of this as stifling or detrimental, others find in it a sense of contentment and security. The Amish speak of the individual subordinating himself to the family, the church, the group. In doing this, however, he also receives much in return.

 

Part Six: Security & Recreation

While in government and modern society we look to the police and military for our local and national security, these areas are of little concern to the Amish. Indeed, the State has been the cause of many of the problems the Amish have faced, from the time of their persecution in Europe through the school controversies in America in the 20th century, when some Amish men were put into jail.

The Amish are pacifists and do not serve in the military. During times of war, they have been conscientious objectors, and some were even beaten and abused in the C.O. (conscientious objector) camps. The Amish cooperate with the government as long as it does not infringe on their beliefs. However, they do not normally sue or go to court to resolve conflicts.

In "the old days," security for the elderly was a place in their children’s household. Indeed, children were a kind of "old age insurance." In Amish society, the aged are respected and cared for by the family and community, often moving into a special addition to the house. The Amish generally do not accept Social Security and try to avoid the use of nursing homes.

Security is found among the Amish in being part of the family, and children in large families find security as much with their siblings as with their parents. With several generations often living under the same roof, there is both a sense of continuity and participation in family life.

Security and protection also come from the community itself, most outwardly visible in the barn-raising. But the Lancaster Amish have created other ways to help church members in time of need. An Amish Aid Society was formed by which members are assessed and money collected to help rebuild after a disaster. This is a modest system of fire and storm insurance.

In 1965, a similar Amish Liability Aid system was established in the area, as author Donald Kraybill explains in his Riddle of Amish Culture, to "resolve the dilemma of providing protection against lawsuits without being ‘unequally yoked’ with commercial insurance."

National Steering Committee was originally organized to deal with problems relating to the draft, but "more recently, the committee has mediated legal disputes between the government and the Amish on Social Security, hard hats, unemployment insurance, workmen’s compensation, and other matters."

Finally, those with medical bills to pay are helped by church alms. Again, in Lancaster, for serious problems an Amish Church Aid was developed as an informal version of hospitalization insurance.

Another traditional family function was to provide recreation for the child. Amish children in particular enjoy playing many games. Rather than going away from the home to parks or movies, children enjoy activities in the house and around the farm. With animals and wide open spaces, the farm is an exciting, although sometimes dangerous, playground.

Amish children I observe find games everywhere---swinging a cow’s tail, chasing each other around the barn, climbing in the hay, pulling wagons, and imitating their parents. Children also get together at school and after church. Baseball is the most popular activity in the school yard.

It is perhaps the very fact that recreation is tied so much to the home, that some teenagers rebel before they join the church by participating in "worldly" recreation. This may include owning a car, drinking parties, attending movies, playing on a (non-Amish) baseball team, or going to the shopping mall.

Many activities normally considered work are forms of recreation for the Amish adult. Quilting bees and frolics are an enjoyable mixture of work, socializing, and recreation. I once attended a straw frolic, now something of a rarity in Lancaster County. Straw was sorted and cut, later to be used for making straw hats. The men and women sat at their respective tables, talked, joked, and at times acted like children, stealing cushions and playing with the window shade.

Some Amish do travel, making trips to visit Amish in other states, but also sometimes to museums, the zoo, or places of interest. Members of one Lancaster family like to make a visit to the airport, simply to watch the planes taking off and landing. They rent a bus and driver for the trip. Some Amish enjoy an occasional trip to eat out, or a birthday party at a local restaurant.

The most popular leisure activity for the Amish seems to be visiting. This may include everyone from relatives and the sick to non-Amish friends. Some tourists to Lancaster ask those of us with Amish friends what we "do" when we visit them. Tourists are sometimes baffled with the answer that "we just sit and talk for three hours." No TV set is turned on and no staged activity is needed to pass the time.

As author Kraybill concludes, "activities are anchored at home...without admission fees. Staying home is not a dreaded experience of isolation for the Amish. It means being immersed in the chatter, work, and play of the extended family."

 

Part Seven: A Final Look at the Amish Family

Traditional family values seem to have a better chance of surviving, as they have around the world, in rural farm settings. The U.S. Department of Agriculture examined several groups in its 1940 Rural Life Studies. Familism, or "the integration of the activities of individual family members for the welfare of the group as a whole," was found to be an important dimension. Five characteristics of familism were found in the communities studied, one of which was the Amish of Lancaster.

The first of these characteristics was the feeling of belonging expressed by visits between family members. The Amish were noted for their frequent and sometimes long visits between siblings, parents, and children. Secondly, "the integration of individual activities for the achievement of family objectives is manifested more clearly in farming than in any other occupation."

Thirdly, common interest in family property, and helping and supporting individuals in need, were especially observed among the Amish. The writer went so far as to say that "the closest approximation to the ideal construct of familism was in the Old Amish, where the family universally recognized its responsibility to give relief to needy members and to provide for aging parents."

Fourth was rallying to support a family member in trouble. Finally, there was "concern for the perpetuation of the family as evidenced by helping an adult offspring in beginning and continuing an economic activity in line with family expectations, and in setting up a new household."

In conclusion, the writers noted that "the highest valuation of familism was among the Amish. However, this is not typical of rural life today, but is a survival resulting from a combination of circumstances, of the characteristic situation in rural America a hundred years ago."

In this last statement, an important point has been missed. The Amish have lived their peculiar way of life for three hundred years. They have weathered persecution, the pressures of modern life, technology, development, and tourism. They have adapted, changed, and survived. They are and are not the same people they used to be. But, as a booklet from the Amish publishing house Pathway states, "our everyday life cannot be separated from our religion."

Their way of life and preservation of traditional values, whether conscious or not, cannot be called merely a "survival of the characteristic situation in rural America a hundred years ago." It is rather the result of a commitment to their religion and way of life.

In Amish society the family, school, church, and community complement each other as an integrated whole. These same units in modern America seem at times to be at odds with each other, if not in the process of breaking down entirely. What children hear at home, in church, at school, in the community, and from the media are often wildly conflicting views of morality and success. Since even parents often can’t come to grips with today’s most complex issues, is it any surprise their children get confused and lost in the maze to adulthood?

The Amish were seen as radicals when their religion started. In America, they were sometimes viewed with suspicion due to their German background and pacifism in the World Wars. The 1950’s saw them as quaint curiosities in musicals like "Plain and Fancy."

For some in the 1960’s, they represented an alternative lifestyle. Even foreigners found their ways fascinating during the energy crisis and turmoil of the 1970’s. In recent years, many Americans nostalgically saw in them a people who had held onto something they had lost, and now missed. People asked, "Have we rushed too quickly into the future without looking at what we have left behind?"

Now there is talk of "learning from the Amish," and involvement by outsiders in their problems with state and local governments. No doubt the Amish find all this attention somewhat amusing, baffling, perhaps downright silly. Being not entirely "of the world," some of them nevertheless take a great interest in its affairs, observing where the rest of the world might be headed. The Amish are more than a "survival;" they are a group, imperfect to be sure, who have given up some things to keep others, a people who live in this world while waiting for another. Many of us manage to survive, but to find meaning and direction in life is perhaps the greatest challenge. With so many new and difficult problems confronting modern society, we need to look to the family not only for the blame, but also for the answers.

It seems only fitting to let the Amish have the last word here. Once again, here are the words of one Amish writer from the pages of the Pathway magazine Family Life...

"Some families are just so many individuals with the same last name, living in the same house. They seem to lead separate lives, go their own ways, each independent of the other. Each is busy leading his own life. They lack the essential elements of a joyful family life---love, togetherness, loyalty, sharing. These sad little groups of lonely individuals are not families at all---they are failures. They are missing out on one of the greatest challenges on this earth---building a meaningful family relationship where work, possessions, and even feelings can be shared in love and trust."

Amish Country News Amish Series by Brad Igou (1994)

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