Because most Amish are farmers or have other home-based businesses, their families are together a great deal of the time. This is a point that is emphasized a lot throughout the Amish Values book.
The Amish cherish time together, not accumulation of things. By contrast, the Amish believe that the “English” (i.e., non-Amish Americans) have “too much money” which makes us unhappy. From the Amish perspective, the emphasis in our culture is on earning money to have big homes and filling them with stuff. That is an interesting way of looking at our way of life. It can be helpful to hear the reaction to our way of life from people who live in a very different culture.
The Amish think it is sad that we (the English) get stressed out with “big debts” and that we sacrifice time with our kids to work to pay such debts. The Amish believe you can be much happier with less stuff. What a fascinating perspective.
Also of interest, the Amish believe that the English don’t expect enough of our children. They believe that we are too busy, so we think it is easier to do things ourselves instead of taking time to teach them to help us.
The Amish also believe we are overprotective. As a result, Amish Values states that the adolescence of our (English) children is extended artificially. Per the Amish, our children may be well-educated and media-savvy, but they do not accept responsibility for themselves. As Ms. Fisher states: “In today’s world, thirty is the new fifteen!”
By contrast, the Amish take time to consistently train their children. That investment of time helps children ease into adulthood and assume great responsibility at an earlier age. Amish Values talks about children making mischief and making mistakes. They are given room to mess up. That is part of learning and growing up. The adults in their lives use such experiences to continually train them up to be responsible Christian adults.
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.