Amish Children

I’m continuing with a recap of my visit to Shipshewana, Indiana where I was researching my upcoming series, Shipshewana Amish Mystery (Zondervan 2011).

The Amish children I saw and met while in Shipshewana last month were definitely a bit different from what I had imagined.

Of course I realized that the Amish tend to give their kids responsibility at a younger age, but when I saw this group of youngsters driving a cart (it wasn’t really a buggy) down the road outside our B&B, I was surprised. I tried to imagine letting my child do so at the same age, and of course I couldn’t. Then I realized that these kids weren’t given responsibility all at once, they’d been taught it gradually. If you look at the picture closely, you’ll also see an older sister behind them on a bicycle, and the parents were not far behind this on their own bicycles.

Another example of this is the little boy we saw two houses down who was mowing the yard. Look at this guy-he’s barely as tall as the mower.   When we stopped to snap the picture though (and yes, it is okay to snap from a distance), we noticed an older brother standing in the driveway to the right, laughing a bit, and ready to take over when needed.

Which brings me to my last point. I do find that often we speak and write of the Amish in a very serious tone. I found them to be a fun group with a strong sense of humor. One look at this vehicle will explain what I mean. We had the good fortune of walking through an Amish farm, and as we were going through the large barn area where this gentleman kept all his buggies (I believe I counted 7) and bicycles (over 20), there was this. Isn’t it fun? Of course it belonged to the teenagers.

NOT what we would expect among the Amish, but then neither was the small fishing boat we saw pulled by a tractor as we were driving down the road. The teens waved at us as they headed to the lake. Everyone needs down time during the summer, I suppose.

Speaking of down time, I loved this trampoline outside the home we visited. You know, it speaks of good clean fun, and I think that’s one of the things we all admire about the Amish. It’s true they have no electricity in their homes, but in many ways their children are like our children. Who doesn’t like bouncing on a trampoline in the summer?

See anything here that surprises you? Or perhaps you have a few stories of your own. I’d love to hear them.


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