Family Roles

Amish facts/history, Amish view Comments: 9

pony cartAmish Beliefs, Part 2

Last week we talked about Amish beliefs in relation to specific spiritual teachings. Today I thought we’d talk about the role of family members. Remember, the comments below are what I have observed, but each community is different and you might have different observations.

The husband is certainly the head of an Amish household. This is taken very seriously. From the Amish families I’ve met, it does NOT mean the woman is unimportant or less in any way. I’ve met plenty of out-spoken Amish women. But it does DSCN3727mean that the husband leads the family, that he makes final decisions, and that he is dedicated to being the spiritual leader of the family as well as providing for the family.

The wife has a support role in the family. She is to help her husband. She is to help her children. She works tirelessly, and her number one priority (after her faith) is her family. This is why few Amish women work outside the home, though they may have a cottage industry near the home where they sell homemade goods.

market 3The children are considered blessings from God, but they are not coddled or spoiled in the traditional American way. Instead, they are brought up to be responsible and follow in the faith. You can read more about the life of Amish children here. Most Amish children go to school from 1st through 8th grade. At that point they become an apprentice to someone (boys and girls), and the money they earn is given back to the family. Older children help with the younger children.

The grandparents are considered an important part of every Amish family. Although they may be “retired” the grandfather will still have a hand in what goes on at the farm, and the grandmother will be involved with the cooking, quilting, and child-raising. Grandparents are rarely ever sent to live in a nursing home. Instead they often live in a Grossdaddi Haus that is built on the property, but a little ways from the main house. This gives everyone privacy, but they still have close proximity to help one another.

If this sounds like an idealic family, it’s probably because it resembles mainstream families in our culture two generations ago. Only in the last 40-60 years have our roles (especially women and children) begun to change. I don’t offer any of this as a “better” or “worse” scenario, but simply so we can better understand the Amish community.

I’d love to hear your experiences with the Amish.



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9 thoughts on “Family Roles

  1. Judy B

    You have pretty much summed up the Family Roles with the Amish communities that are near me. For the most part each family member has accepted their role and seems to be pretty much happy with it from what I’ve observed.

    Thanks for your post! Made for a very interesting read.

    Judy B

  2. Patricia T

    Thank you, Vannetta…so well written. It does remind me of lots of families, when I was growing up. I’m 60, now, and things have changed! Guess that’s why so many of us are touched by the Amish lifestyle…

  3. Dorothy Perry

    So well written and informative – I love to go visit Shipshewana twice a year – so peaceful and you are right, they each have their own jobs and I never hear any complaining. Vannetta, I love reading your books and newsletter.

  4. Don Burke

    Vannetta, your description is spot on for the few Amish families that I have been able to observe well enough to have a feel for how they worked. I would add that the respect / willingness to follow leadership in the family has seemed to be something that is well grounded, and not something that has to be constantly “fought” for.

  5. Linda McFarland

    Great post. I think our family units were better off when we followed the Amish pattern of family life. God intended the family to work a certain way and when we stray from it, it can create chaos…just sayin!

  6. Melissa L

    This is so true to families in the Amish now and to the English a couple of generations ago. However, I wonder if our society isn’t returning somewhat back to these traditions since more women are staying home to raise their children again due to economic challenges.

  7. Donita Corman

    You are so right about how they work without slowing down. It tires me out reading and seeing all they do.It seems the Amish around this area are starting to lean towards Mennonite. One older gentleman told me the youth have a harder time teaming Amish because financially it costs a lot. I was surprised by that. I see more and more with cell phones and brighter colored dresses too. Their little ones are so cute..

  8. Elizabeth Dent

    Hey Vannetta ,Love to hear about the Amish and their beliefs. Love your article on the Amish. I have never been to the Amish areas before. We are talking about going to Shipshewana this year .I so hope everything works out for us to got this time. Love your Amish books.

  9. Juanita Cook

    I don’t live very close to any of the Amish where I can see how the live. So I am thankful to read your posts here and learn more about the Amish. Was in Berlin, Ohio last year, but only for a few days. Loved it there.