Living Like the Amish
In this article, I will try to give you some basic tips on how to live like the Amish without being Amish.
And if you've had the privilege to live close to or get to know any Amish people, then you already know that they are a traditional and religious community of people who live a simple lifestyle without modern conveniences.
Now you may ask, "Why would I want to live like the Amish?" And that's a good question.
Growing up Amish
I grew up Amish, although we weren't a part of the strictest Amish groups. Fortunately, we had indoor plumbing and even electricity. But we still drove a horse and buggy, and obviously, we dressed plain, had no TV, etc.
And though there are good things about growing up Amish, I would never go back to being Amish. And the biggest reason for this is because of religious bondage.
It may appear as though they live a quiet and peaceful life that's free from the cares of this world. But the fact is, they cannot escape the stresses of life and the struggle of trying to make a living for their large families.
And their lives are not easy, because they believe that they HAVE TO live this way to please God. Sadly, whenever man sets out to please God by what he does or doesn't do, he's living in bondage.
The Word of God says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. And it's ONLY our FAITH (in Jesus and His sacrifice on our behalf) that pleases God.
Can I Join the Amish?
I keep seeing this question, people wondering if they could become Amish.
We live in a fast-paced modern world where life can be quite hectic and stressful. Everyone seems to be rushing here and there, with no time to enjoy life as it is fleeting by.
And people are longing for a time when things were more simple. We read, or watch shows, about the way that people lived before all of our modern-day conveniences and technology. And a part of us is drawn to the simplicity and slow-paced lifestyle. We long for a time when families spent more time doing things together and enjoyed each other's company without all the distractions.
So, naturally, when we look at the Amish people and their simple lifestyle, there is an attraction. And many are drawn to the simplicity of their slower-paced life.
Yes, You Could Join the Amish
If you're wondering whether you could join the Amish, the answer is "Yes, you probably could." Although, I will be quick to tell you that it would not be easy.
First of all, you have to believe in God and be religious. Second, you would have to learn PA Dutch/German. Third, you'd have to give up your vehicle and modern conveniences and dress plain, being told what you may or may not do. And last but not least, you'd probably never completely fit in since they view outsiders differently than someone who was born Amish.
I would never recommend anyone to join the Amish. But you could check out the conservative Mennonites if you were interested in joining a similar church community. Since it would be a lot easier to join them.
Live Like the Amish for a Week
If you'd like to experience a little bit of what Amish life would be like, or think that you want to join them, try to live like the Amish for a week.
- Don't drive your vehicle. You will need to walk, hire a taxi, or get yourself a horse and buggy to go anywhere.
- Don't use electricity. Just light a candle or kerosene lantern for lighting. And don't use any electrical appliances.
- You can't use your phone unless it's strictly for business (as some of them do). So, no phone, no computer, and no TV all week long.
- Cook all (or at least most of) your food from scratch.
- And remember to work hard all week. Spend just a few minutes a day sitting quietly to enjoy the sounds of nature or read a book. And perhaps you could visit family or help a neighbor.
Tips on How to Live Like the Amish
The good news is that you don't have to be Amish to live a bit more simply. Maybe just making a few changes in your life would help to reduce the stress.
#1. Turn off your phone, computer, and TV for at least a half-hour every day. Go outside and find a quiet place to sit and reflect or read a book. Enjoy the beauty of nature and try to find joy in the little things, it will be good for your soul.
#2. Instead of going out to eat, cook a simple meal from scratch. And gather your family around the table to enjoy the meal together. It will save you money, you'll have some family time, and you'll have the satisfaction of having cooked a delicious meal.
#3. Plant a little garden. I would recommend starting small, because you may get overwhelmed if you jump into it too big. (Here are a few tips on starting a garden.) But I believe that you and your kids will find joy in planting seeds and harvesting the rewards of your labor. And maybe eventually you can learn how to grow and preserve food for the winter months. It provides a feeling of satisfaction to fill shelves and the freezer with food that you labored for.
#4. Get your kids involved, they can help with gardening, yard work, cooking, cleaning, etc. Teach them responsibility and let them work without always getting paid for it. Kids should learn that the only reward they need is the satisfaction of a job well done.
#5. String up a clothesline in your backyard or around your porch. And whenever it's a nice day, hang your laundry out to dry in the fresh air. Not only will you save on electricity, but your clothes will smell so fresh and clean.
#6. Spend more time visiting with family and friends without the distraction of modern technology. You may be surprised at the conversations and how it draws you together.
#7. Volunteer some of your time and energy to help a friend or neighbor in need. Take a meal to a mother with a new baby, or someone who's sick or lost a loved one, etc. Offer to clean their house, or whatever you could do to help. Invite your elderly neighbor over to your house for dinner. Reach out to those around you, and you will find that happiness comes from giving your time and self to others.
#8. Buying fewer clothes or unnecessary material items could help to simplify your life. Many of us could get by with far less than what we have. Simplify your home and your wardrobe. None of us needs ten or twenty pairs of shoes, etc. We could live on less if we didn't think that we needed so many things. And perhaps you could even learn how to sew and make a few needed items.
#9. This one goes along with #8. We virtually teach our kids that they need huge birthday and Christmas gifts, etc. Our world is so full of greed, and we don't do our kids any favors by giving them everything they want. You could begin by simplifying Christmas. Teach your kids that it's better to give than receive. And sometimes we can give a simple homemade gift. The ones from the heart are more special anyway.
#10. Try to slow your pace. Sometimes we are legitimately in a hurry. We need to get to appointments on time, etc. But maybe we could cut out a few activities so that we have more time for the things that are important in life. Is it really important that your kids are involved in all the extra activities? And honestly, I think some of us get into a rut of always being in a hurry even when there isn't a rush. Slow down and take time to enjoy the world around you.
Can I live like the Amish without being Amish?
I challenge you to consider for a moment...
Is there anything you could change to make your life less hectic? Is there any way to simplify and live more like the Amish? You don't have to be Amish to live a simple lifestyle. And many times it's simply a matter of the mind and heart.
Do we need so many things to be happy? Just because our friends and neighbors have a lot of nice things or cool "toys", should we stress ourselves trying to keep up with them?
You may not need to work as many hours if you didn't think you needed that expensive item. Maybe we'd be happier if we tried to simplify rather than expand. It seems like most of us are busy trying to make the next dollar so we can buy more things.
Sadly, this is our modern American lifestyle, and I get caught up in that web of greed as well. And to tell you the truth, I was already caught up in that web while I was still Amish.
I grew up in Lancaster County, and if you've ever been there, you can tell that the Amish seem to compete to have the nicest farm. (You know, keeping up with the Joneses is important. 🙁 😉 )
We live in a world of greed, which causes us a lot of stress if we allow it to.
And technology is another issue that's causing us stress. Many of us are glued to our phones or the TV. Sometimes it's good for the mind to put our technology aside and be quiet. Take time to enjoy your family and the beauty of nature around you.
The Amish have strong family and community ties, and that's hard to achieve on your own. But you could take the initiative and start reaching out to those around you. Perhaps, in reaching out, you can build relationships. Eventually, you might have a group of people who care about each other and have a community spirit, instead of every man for himself.
If you follow my tips and take a few steps to live more like the Amish, it may simplify things a bit in your life and relieve some of the stress.
But I believe that living simply has to be a choice. You have to decide what is important to you.
And you CAN live more like the Amish without joining the Amish.
Always work hard, be frugal, spend less time on your technology and more time loving on your family, and help your neighbor.
Blessings to you...
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Links to a few books you might enjoy...
Beginner's Garden: A Practical Guide to Growing Vegetables & Fruit without Getting Your Hands Too Dirty (IMM Lifestyle) Gardening Tips, Recipes, & Projects for Beginners; Includes Herbs & Small Spaces