What I’ve Learned About Family from Researching the Amish

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I’ve written numerous novels about the Amish. I first became interested after meeting a couple in Montana. My daughter introduce me to them! They grew up Amish and lost two daughters in a horse-and-buggy and semi accident. As I learned more about their lives, I found great stories for novels. And as I learned more about the Amish while researching books, then I gathered all that wisdom and compiled it together in the One Year Book of Amish Peace. I have loved getting to know more about the Amish. I was really inspired by their Anabaptist history. As I learned about their fight for religious freedom I realized what I’d taken for granted.

By researching the Amish I realized I was trying to do too much—filling my life with too much. And I started to focus more on what mattered. Some things I focus on are family dinners, quiet time with God, and connecting within my community. I say no to a lot of thing so I can focus on what’s most important. Yes, it is hard saying “no” to things. We have six kids, and four of them are at home, but for this season we are doing NO extracurricular activities. For me it’s more important to have dinners around the table together.

I love making dinner . . . that’s similar to the Amish! And I love gathering around as a family. Our son is married, and he, his wife, and two little babies are over at our house two to three times a week for dinner. I love that!

John and I decided  it was more important for our kids to know each other and us—and especially God—than it was to be busy all the time. I am going to let them do some outside activities as they get older . . . but just being around family is building a foundation for life!

The Amish are usually surrounded by family: moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. They “do life” together. They also share the load with their neighbors. Everyone’s load is lighter when they have help!

I also train my kids to share the load of the family. Here is one of the Amish proverbs from my book: “A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.”

Researching and talking to the Amish also made me realize how similar we are as God’s children. The Biblical people, the Amish people, me and you as modern people all have the same inner issues and struggles . . . and God is the answer to them all!

I loved being able to dig into the Amish foundations and beliefs. I honestly think I know more about some of their heritage than most of them do. I also really focused on the balance of law versus grace. Any of us can get so focused on “being a certain way” that we forget that God’s grace covers everything. It’s true for the Amish and for any of us!

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Tricia Goyer (77 Posts)

Tricia is the author of more than 30 books and has published more than 500 articles for national publications such as Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian Woman and HomeLife Magazine. She won the Historical Novel of the Year award in both 2005 and 2006 from American Christian Fiction Writers, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award in 2005. Tricia's co-written novel, The Swiss Courier, was a nominee for the Christy Awards.


Comments

  1. Mrs. Goyer, my husband passed away in 2001 really only three weeks after 9/11. It changed my life. I was only 34 years old. The biggest thing I learned through and after all of my grieving was that we lived our lives saying ‘one day we will be able to…’ and ‘well when we get this issue taken care of we will be able to…’ Living by the ‘one days’ we missed today with our kids and each other completely. Life was all about work and getting back to a point we had fallen from just a few years before due to the economy and some choices that seemed right at the time. But, I learned that life is about the people around you every day and the community. I have to agree though that you can get caught up loving the Amish just like some get caught up loving the Native Americans and even the modern Englisher world’s ways of life. I’ve learned to slow down life quite a bit though it tries to drag me back to being too busy. You are right…it’s not always easy to say no…but it is an important thing to practice as Christians too.

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