It’s been said that the Amish have a love affair with their scooters–a bicycle without pedals. A common sight in Lancaster County is to see men, women and children using these colorful scooters as transportation, thrusting one foot against the road to build up speed, or coasting down a hill with the wind against their face. It’s easy to see they’re having fun.
In the 1920s, as bicycles arrived on the scene, Amish leaders gave the bicycle some serious consideration. “Our fathers and forefathers thought the bicycles with pedals were too modern,” an Amish farmer explained. “They knew it would be too easy to get too far from home.” The home is the heart of Amish life. If a new gizmo poses a threat to that heart, well, say no more. The bicycle was banned.
But then someone engineered a scooter. It wasn’t long before nearly every Lancaster Amish family had one or two. “The way the story goes,” the farmer said, stroking his wiry beard, eyes snapping with good humor, “the bishops got together to talk about banning the scooters. The thing was, they all arrived at the meeting on scooters. So,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air, “they voted against the ban.”
The Amish have a saying: “Once drawn, lines are hard to erase.” Where do you draw the line on what is acceptable for your family and what isn’t? How does recognizing the “line” (or priority) simplify decision making?