What is it like growing up Amish?
Do you ever wonder what life would be like for an Amish child growing up on a farm?
It certainly is vastly different from what most of our world is used to today. There’s no TV, and no technology to get addicted to. Not a lot of toys, just a few dolls and cooking toys, or animal & farm toys, etc., and a great big imagination.
Some of my first memories of growing up on the farm are of playing with baby kittens. We’d take some of our doll clothes, and dress up the little kittens, pretending they were our babies and we were taking them to church. We’d play in the haymow, moving bales around to set up a house.
There was never a lack of something to entertain ourselves with, and I do not remember ever being bored.
We had bikes to ride (the Old Order are only allowed to ride scooters), and an express wagon. I remember riding around on our wagon, using one leg off the side to make it go. Our driveway blacktop was getting broken up, but we’d have paths here and there, so I’d pretend my wagon was a car and I was a taxi driver going around and picking up passengers.
I grew up with nine siblings, so of course, I always had playmates. And as soon as we were old enough to be of help in any way, we were given chores to be responsible for.
There are lots of chores for kids to do when you grow up on an Amish Farm
My first chore in helping to clean the house was to wash the kitchen cabinets and dining room chairs. My mom was very tidy, and even though we lived on a farm, and I had seven brothers, our house was kept relatively clean.
There was always time for exploring around the farm, playing in the creek, or with the animals. But we were taught that chores had to be done first. We had a little over one hundred acres, around fifty dairy cows, horses, chickens, pigs, along with plenty of dogs and cats. And, of course, a huge vegetable garden. So there was plenty of chores for everyone to be involved in.
Bottle feeding the baby calves and gathering the chickens’ eggs were considered the easy chores that were left for the younger members of the family to take care of. So at a very young age, we were taught to be responsible and work hard.
We always had extra eggs and fresh produce that we’d sell to neighbors around us. So there’s always plenty of work on an Amish farm.
Amish farmers, Amish are Hard Workers
Years ago most of the Amish were farmers of some sort (mostly dairy or produce farmers). And it was believed that a farm is the best place to raise a family, with everyone working together and living off the land. But today a lot of them have started other trades. As it is getting harder in our modern times, to make a living on a farm, with the high prices on land, taxes, etc.
You don’t have to be around the Amish for very long to notice that they have good work ethics. They’re typically responsible, honest, hard workers. And I think that’s largely due to the fact that they’re taught to work at a young age.
Most of them start first grade in school around age six and only go to eighth grade. They believe that’s enough education because it’s more important to do physical work. Girls need to stay home and help their mother with all the household chores, learn how to cook, sew, garden, and preserve the food that’s harvested. While the boys work with their father and learn all the secrets to farming.
Amish have strict discipline standards
Amish children are usually very sheltered from the outside world. And I would dare to say that most of them have a fairly happy childhood. Even though their parents have very strict standards for them, and expect prompt and cheerful obedience. There is some security in knowing exactly what is expected of you.
My childhood memories are definitely not all good ones. My dad was a strict disciplinarian, and I didn’t like him very much.
But I also have pleasant memories of growing up Amish. We were taught to be responsible and work hard without complaining. But we also had lots of good clean fun!
And I always knew that my parents loved me, even though they never told me so (typically the Amish do not show much affection), and I don’t remember ever being complimented for a job well done. It was just expected that we do a good job. And I don’t think I ever thought anything about it or expected a compliment. Just the feeling of knowing I did my best was good enough.
I feel like I had a fairly normal childhood growing up on an Amish farm. I just grew up more like most kids did about a hundred years ago.
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