Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Main Four Special Qualities of an Amish Community

By Connor Sullivan

Other than the Pole barns and barn doors they build, Amish communities live very different lives than most of the general population of America. They live a much more simple existence as compared to mainstream USA where Ipods, computers and fast food restaurants are used everyday. The main four differences that separate the Amish from a lot of individuals are their choice of dress, form of transportation, lack of technology and their use of alternative forms of energy sources. These four factors are not just small traits that make them different. They are defining ways of life that allows the Amish population to live and thrive in a society where basics, family and farming are the focus.

All Amish men, women and children dress in a way that has been consistent for generation after generation. This dress consists of the colors black and white only. All women wear dresses or skirts, long sleeve white blouses and coverings over their hair. Modesty and coverage of skin are a must. They are not able to wear make-up or accessories that would differentiate them. The males wear pants, white shirts and hats. These clothes have been consistent for many years, with no concern for fashion trends, weather variations and adaptations for comfort. This dress makes them a community where no one person is singled out based on the clothes they wear.

In most of the world cars, trucks, SUVs, trains and planes are the chosen forms of transportation on a daily basis and for travel. In an Amish society, the people get around with the use of horse and buggy. This is one of the most obvious distinctions that separates them from other communities. By using the buggies they have to allow for more time to get to places, consider the amount of people and things they transport and be patient with all of the other forms of transportation they encounter along the way. While most people would see this as a burden, the Amish population is accustomed to traveling in this fashion. The way they approach getting from here to there, is a direct reflection on the way they live their entire life - patient, slower-paced and simple.

A third big distinction between the Amish population and mainstream America is their lack of use in modern technology. This means they do not use television, computers, cell phones and ipods. They do read the paper and listen to the radio. However, they still are educated in institutions whose focus is not on the next improvement or upgrade available for computer systems. Amish people maintain life as basic, straightforward and simple. They are taught very much the same education, but without all the bells and whistles of new technology. Also, socially Amish folks communicate with each other the same way they have been for many, many years. They don't use or needcell phone or pagers to have constant access to one another. They prioritize face-to-face interactions and family time over anything modern technology can give them.

Lastly, they choose to function in an eco-friendly environment where wind and water wheels provide power. This allows them to live off the earth in a way that has been the same in their lives forever. While there are many other differences that set the Amish apart, this earth-loving way of living may be their greatest strength and helps them to continue to thrive.

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