“Put the swing back where the children want it; the grass will grow back.” —Amish proverb
What made your childhood so special? I asked my Amish or Amish-raised friends this question, and below are some responses to that question, in their own words:
“The amount of quality time a family spends together. I was one of thirteen kids. My family had a dairy of sixty cows, and we milked them all by hand, twice a day. I remember being only three or four years old and having the job of holding the cow’s manure-caked tail so it wouldn’t hit my dad’s face as he milked. We would sing songs while we milked—gospel songs, all kinds of songs—in the quiet of that barn.” —Mose G., raised in an Old Order Amish family in Wisconsin.
“I would have to say it’s because we were involved in everything. We worked alongside our parents; we always felt like we were needed and appreciated.” —Mary Ann Kinsinger, raised Old Order Amish in Somerset, Pennsylvania. She writes a blog about her childhood.
“We had a farm. Dad was at home. We were all together, out in the country. We were taught a wonderful work ethic. I appreciate it all the more the older I get. It’s a real blessing if you’re taught to work even if you don’t get paid. And finally, I think growing up in a godly home makes an Amish childhood special. Of course, some homes are more godly than others. But I cherished my godly upbringing.” —Barbara W., Old Order Amish raised in Napanee, Indiana.
“The quiet. I remember being out in the barn where there was absolute quiet. No radios, no cars, no nothing. Just the sound of the cows lulling and the horses stamping their hooves in their stalls.” Eli B., Old Order Amish raised in Adams County, Indiana.
“There’s a oneness in the home among the Amish. Mom and Dad were home. Children were the priority. I know it might not be possible in today’s families to have that. It seems as if they need to have two incomes. But it’s the best thing I can think of about being Amish—Mom and Dad were home. Time together as a family. Time with Mom and Dad. Time without electronic distractions. Time to be a child, to play, to learn skills, to explore the natural world. The Amish have a saying: The best thing you can spend on your children is time. Just . . . time.” —Monk T., whose father was a minister in an Old Order Amish church.
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Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of Amish fiction and non-fiction, and a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. The Search won a 2012 Carol Award. The Waiting was a finalist for a 2011 Christy Award. The Choice was a finalist for a 2011 Carol Award. The Letters is a finalist for a Christian Retailing 2014 Best Award. Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World and Amish Proverbs: Words of Wisdom from the Simple Life were both finalists for the ECPA Book of the Year (2010, 2011). Her interest in the Amish began with her grandfather, who was raised Plain in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. She travels back east a couple of times each year for research.
Suzanne’s latest release, The Imposter, is now available!