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The Amish people were founded by Jacob Amman in the middle of the 17th century. Throughout their history the Amish people have sought to retain a standard and style of living consistent with their heritage. Part of that heritage includes, at one time, being so persecuted for their faith, they decided to live separate from the world in order to maintain their faith. For that reason, they have different customs and values in the following areas of everyday life:
- Family life
- Amish dress
Your research paper may want to briefly explore the differences in these four areas.
The Amish people highly value a simple lifestyle that keeps both family and church life intact and healthy. Because of this, they have deliberately made decisions to limit and/or ban the use of technology in their communities. Even today in the midst of incredible technology, the Amish are most typically known for driving horse and buggy, having no electricity and often times no running water. Though each community can make their own decisions in regard to what they will allow and what they will not, as a whole, their bottom line is that they want to maintain a sense of family and fear technology corrupting that. "Amish people interpret linking with electrical wires as a connection with the world - and the Bible tells them they are not to be 'conformed to the world' (Romans 12:2). In 1919 the Amish leaders agreed that connecting to power lines would not be in the best interest of the Amish community. They did not make this decision because they thought electricity was evil in itself, but because easy access to it could lead to many temptations and the deterioration of church and family life." The Amish continue to struggle with how to maintain being separate from the world in this area of technology.
Outside of the value of following God and the Bible, Amish family life takes center stage. The families work together and worship together. At night they will play games and read together, but much like Little House on the Prairie scenes, the evenings were not long. After school, the children would do their chores, eat together, then homework would be done, and then there would be a short time of family interaction. Because they have to arise early to milk cows and do the morning chores, they also go to bed early. Large families are ideal and all chip in to do the chores. Because there is no electricity, there are no T.V.s, radios, washers and dryers etc. All chores must be done by hand.