I live in Pennsylvania, the state with the oldest Amish settlement in the country, and while looking around here, I’ve found that there are many things that the Amish do to make life better that are worth adopting. Known for living off the grid, leading a simple, more relaxed life, with simple, no-fuss surroundings, the Amish not only dress differently and drive buggies instead of cars, they have some good ideas about how to live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Choosing Amish traits to emulate can be a challenge. Many people choose to live without electricity except what they generate themselves, others choose to dress conservatively or grow and make all their own food. These traits that I have identified aren’t quite so drastic, but they affect happiness and success in life in drastic ways.
To Amish youngsters, recreation means playing outside on the trampoline, creating your own games, setting up volleyball nets or marking out a makeshift baseball diamond. There are no movies, video games or Facebook to the Amish, and they don’t miss it. There are many compelling reasons to stop watching TV or limit the time you spend watching TV, so put away the remote for a few days and try getting outside more to take a walk, play with your kids or pull weeds in the flower bed. You’ll feel better!
There is more to community than just knowing your neighbors, though that is a good start. The Amish have a mindset that serving other people is very important, and having that mindset helps them to see the world with a different perspective. Serving other people helps you feel less lonely and isolated, in the end leading to a happier, more fulfilled life.
There are a lot of ways that you can serve other people—volunteering at a nursing home, working at a rescue mission—but sometimes the best way to serve other people is simply to look around you at your friends and identify a need that you can meet. The Amish don’t often volunteer with large established charities, but they take meals to each other when someone is sick. Something as simple as that is a great way to serve someone else.
The Amish live within a radius of as far as they can drive their buggies comfortably. When they need to travel beyond that radius, it is usually for a specific reason and doesn’t happen very often. As a consequence of that small circle, the Amish do much of their shopping and working close to home, supporting small, local businesses and also getting the healthiest foods and best quality products.
Technology As A Servant, Not A Master
Undoubtedly, you feel some of the same love-hate relationship with technology that many of us have. It’s true that even the Amish have needed to embrace some forms of technology in order to survive in business and in a world that has left them far behind. For instance, many Amish businesses have needed to incorporate a phone into their home business or company office. In order to combat the telephone’s intrusion into their lives, they install it in the barn or in a separate shed on their property. That way, the phone doesn’t ring in the middle of family prayer and people don’t tend to linger when using it.
When you look at American television, the picture of the family is sadly distorted. Compare television today, with shows that focus on divorce and children who want to get as far away from their parents as possible, then contrast it with the Amish family. Though they aren’t perfect by any means, the focus on family is something that the Amish faith emphasizes.
Amish families care for each other no matter what, in sickness and old age. The Amish don’t have health insurance and don’t collect social security. Do you wonder why there are no Amish retirement communities? It’s because the Amish, as a rule, take care of their family members into old age. For modern Americans, just the reminder that family is always family is a great relief. Being there for your family, spending time with them and asking them to help support and encourage you gives you a safety net that can relieve worry and stress in your life.
So you don’t want to live off the grid. You don’t have to take on every quality of the Amish lifestyle to live a more simple and relaxed life—just take a single page out of their book. Getting away from stressful technology, adding some family time instead, helping someone out once in a while and being a part of your local community can help you get many of the benefits of the Amish lifestyle without ditching electrical lines.
Tilton and Tilton is the best Houston divorce attorney and commonly write about topics having to do with divorce.