Yesterday a friend and I were agreeing that parents have to teach their kids how to work. That virtue is not just a natural inclination for anyone, much less our children.
The Amish, however, work so hard and without complaining, at first glance it might appear they would challenge that way of thinking.
Truth is, work is a family affair. The Amish family, for the most part and for an extended period of time, work as a family, the little ones being offered jobs right beside their older siblings and Mom and Dad.
Recently I went to an Amish market and purchased some produce. One family member, a daughter, rang me up at the cash register, and a son helped get my produce to my car.
Another recent observation was while I was walking the Pumpkinvine Trail. I could hear in the distance what sounded to be an Amish man working his horses in the field. Sure enough, when I looked, he was guiding his Belgians through a hayfield. His little guy was sharing the wagon, though, every now and then mimicking his father with “Haw!” and “Whoa!” telling the horses when to go and when to stop.
The Amish in our area work hard at their businesses, they work hard tilling the soil, and they teach their children well…not just for the sake of work, but for the sake of family. Many of us in mainstream culture do just the opposite: our jobs are silo-ed into tasks for one person or another, without working alongside each other.
In Donald B. Kraybill’s book, The Amish: Why They Enchant Us, the author quotes an Amish man: “Good soil makes a strong church where we can live together, worship together, and work together.” Kraybill goes on to say, “On the farm—tilling the soil, cultivating crops, and caring for animals—one is closer to nature and to God.”
And I would add: One is also closer to family.
How have you witnessed the strong work ethic among the Amish or even your own community?
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