My kids are Amish


In the early 90’s, I worked for the Amish in Illinois. I sold cheeses, fresh meat and sausage. We had an on-site slaughtering facility and processed everything right there. I loved it. It was hard work at times, cold in the freezer with hanging cow parts and once a man who worked there played a joke on me and hung a pig head on the hook in the ladies bathroom that I discovered at precisely the wrong “moment.” I later got him back by filling a long-john doughnut with the gel that floats to the top when making “head cheese.”

The short time I was there (approx 1 year, ) I discovered there was another world out there. I still kick myself today on a missed opportunity. The Amish girl I worked with invited me to her wedding. I did not go. I was young and ignorant and now it is right up there on my list of major regrets. I did however get to do some “pre-wedding” preparations with her. One of them included delivering strawberries to her home so her mother could can jar after jar of strawberry jam for the wedding. The community was not on display or commercialized at the time, it was just pure and simple. Oh… and divine.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish lifestyle, I have read every series of fiction books ever written that was based on them and have studied them out of sheer curiosity. I have made their recipes, eaten at their restaurants and have now officially “dubbed” my children “Amish.” Well, for 2 days a week anyway.

About 3 months or so ago, the Injun and I had a revelation. Our 4 kids did not know how to play. I mean *really* play. Their version was a far cry from what I had known while growing up. Anything involving entertainment for them included an electronic or battery-powered device. Between the video game systems, cell phones, internet and Mp3 players, they had lost touch with reality and we had lost touch with them.  We really got concerned when we would tell one of them to take out the trash and they had to ask another sibling to go along with them because they were afraid of the dark. We also became concerned when we would tell them to go outside (we live in the country with a creek on our property) and they would sit on the front porch and pout and claim they had “nothing to do.”

Let me just tell you…coming from a girl who grew up in a log cabin and a man who was raised on a chicken farm in the Arkansas country, that did NOT settle well. Even more pathetic, we had gradually allowed this to happen. We realized the actions of our children were a reflection of us and decided it was time to do something.  And so as it was, “Amish Day” was birthed.

It started out being on a Sunday only. This meant no T.V. No video games. No music. No computer. No cell phone. Let me sum it up like we told them… *anything* involving electricity or a battery is off-limits!” They can either play a board game inside, read a book, clean their room or go outside and enjoy the finer things in life. Riding their bikes, playing at the creek, taking a walk and meeting other kids! What?!? Other kids live a few blocks over? You mean we could be playing with them? They have discovered varmints, built forts, made their own swings, met new friends and used their imagination. After one week we decided that one day was not enough, so we included Monday as well. 

This has not been as smooth as I would have liked. We sometimes still hit a pothole with our buggy, but overall it has been great. I do not think 2 days is enough really. They still do not “get it” completely  but sadly this is what our world has become. Everyone, including myself, depends on technology for entertainment. It is repulsive at best. We are a fat and lazy society. We do not depend on one another, we do not use our creativity, nor do we care.

The Amish are not perfect. I do not subscribe to some of their theology but I do know one thing. They know how to live. They come together as families and they are not dependant on this “world” for entertainment value. Their crafts are solid, their food is pure, their homes are simple and most importantly, their kids are never “bored.”

Consider implementing at least one “Amish Day” into your week. Your kids will thank you later.

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Categories: children, technology

Author:onemom4rugrats

I am Rachel. I have a skewed sense of reality and I like to live through my imagination. Unfortuntely, that has taken me down some rocky roads and I am here to share some snippets of what happens when a girl has a mind of her own.

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4 Comments on “My kids are Amish”

  1. March 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Hello Rachel! I know the feeling :/

    I worked at a one-room-school-house day camp as a teacher where the kids came every day and had to pretend to be pioneers. The scary thing was, even though they all really wanted to be there, they would get angry at having to play community games! They were so used to individual control, like with the mp3 players and video games where you have to compete against everyone else instead of working together. I am pleased to say there is still hope, though. Not only did your kids do swell with real playing, but these kids did too! By the end of the week, they started to actually like the group games and request them during recess!

    I’m thinking of instating my own Amish day, because even though I know how to entertain myself without technology, I find I’m glued to it 24/7.

    • March 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      Emily, thanks for checking out my blog. I have to admit, while we make the kids do Amish Day, we do not. One day one of the kids asked why and my husband told them “We already had our “Amish Days” our whole childhood! I guess this is how we justify not doing it with them….sometimes I feel like we need to do it along with them though :/

  2. March 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Cool, we have a pretty large Amish population not too far from where we live. Know a few people who have hired them to do cabinetry work, etc. When my kids were younger we bought on of those big wooden swingsets from an Amish guy, had to drive to his house to deliver a check to him. The he and another Amish guy hired a driver and delivered it to our property and set it up for us. Not sure why but I’ve always been fascinated by the whole thing. Sometimes I think I could live that way if I could keep my truck and may laptop and my blackberry and a bottle of wine… and… well, the rest of it sounds okay…lol! I think that’s cool what you tried with your kids!

    • March 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

      Thanks for reading! If you have kids, try it, they will hate you for a while at first! LOL

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