When my boys were young I took them up to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for the day to show them the way the Amish lived. Here is the middle son in Amish garb in a museum school room:
I've been greatly attracted to the Amish ever since I learned of their way of life that connects them so closely to God. The way I came to learn of them was when I told my husband I wished we lived as the family in the children's book "Ox-Cart Man" where the family worked together to meet the needs of life. Every member had a purpose within the family for their survival.*
He told me the Amish still lived that way today. As I read about the Amish I learned that all they do is meant to keep them dependent on a gracious God and to keep their eyes off man. Their way of dress for instance is meant to put them all on an equal plane as well as to set them apart from the world. I've read a great deal about them, visited several Amish communities in my travels, and have even subscribed to their various newsletter-like magazines which are full of short stories. Because they have so few diversions they've honed their writing skills and are excellent communicators. What I find most appealing, however, is their sense of community--how they will come together to help their neighbor in need, even if they are not Amish. Here is an example: Barn Raising
All too often we English, as the Amish call us, retreat into our small cliques where we become isolated. We don't reach out to help those outside our group because in truth, many times we don't have anything to offer. We may contribute our money to needy causes, but if we're honest we'll admit that does not totally satisfy. It is in us to want to give of ourselves, but our modern life does not lend itself to that. We're too busy making money, so that is what we give. The Amish give what they have and that is themselves. The men build the barn and the women prepare the food for the workers. The older children may see to the horses or care for the younger children. All contribute. All feel a part of their community.
Father, may I be open to reaching out and giving of myself in ways I have not before.
Link to scripture:http://niv.scripturetext.com/luke/10-25.htm
*If you want to know more about "Ox-Cart Man" there is a Reading Rainbow program featuring this book. The book is read at the 3:30 mark, but the whole program is worth watching if you enjoy seeing how we lived in the past: Ox-Cart Man