“Put the swing back where the children want it; the grass will grow back.” —Amish proverb
I asked my Amish or Amish-raised friends this question: What made your childhood so special?
Here 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 Gingerich, 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 Weaver, 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 Beachey, Old Order Amish raised in Adams County, Indiana.
“There’s a oneness in the home among the Amish,” said Monk Troyer, whose father was a minister in an Old Order Amish church. “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.
Suzanne is graciously giving away a copy of her new book, A New Home for Lily, which released in February! You can get more information about the book here or by going to Lily’s interactive site. Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Only those in the continental U.S. are eligible to win.