I think there is much we could be learning from the Amish life. I’m not ready to give up electricity or many of the other modern conveniences I enjoy; but I still find the Amish life very fascinating. So how can we take some of the Amish life ideals and incorporate them into our own lives?
I don’t consider myself an Amish life expert but I have read about their lives and beliefs enough to form an opinion. While I can’t say it is a life I would choose I find there is much to be respected and learned from it. Our modern lives, even as homesteaders, can be overwhelming. Most people I know use the words, “I’m so busy.”, on a regular basis. We are really too busy. So I guess the brings me to my first point of learning from Amish life:
What We Can Learn Amish Life
- Faith and family above all else.
I’m not here to preach to you but studies show that people of faith live more satisfying and healthier lives. Amish people make their faith first, followed by their families. For me it all goes hand-in-hand.
- Less screen time.
The Amish live completely without electricity. Instead of foregoing it all together, I suggest spending a little (or a lot) less time in activities that require electricity. Instead of sitting in front of a tv or computer screen or even going to a movie, try packing a picnic, go for hike or just lay out and read a book in the sun. If you’re up for a challenge, try 24 hours without electricity and see how that changes life for a day.
- Grow your own food.
Use whatever space you have to reasonably grow as much of your own food as possible. Garden, raise chickens; even those with little space can raise meat rabbits. Not only will you getting exercise, you’ll be raising the healthiest food for you and your family. Remember to choose non-gmo seeds and raise your garden and animals organically.
- Make gifts, instead of buying them.
Last year I gave my family and friends jellies that I had canned and my own homemade coffee liqueur. Everyone loved it and they are already asking if they’ll be more this year. We all have talents that we can put to use in gift giving. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised in how much everyone loves homemade gifts from the heart.
- Hang your clothes out on a line instead of using a electric dryer.
Hanging your clothes out is another great way to use less electricity. I actually find laundry hanging very relaxing; even in our Arizona heat. We save a money and keep toxins off our body from using the drying less. Want to go a step further? Well how about doing your laundry by hand?
- Eat at home and cook from scratch.
How often do you eat out every week? I like to go out Sunday after church but I’m now trying to invite others over for a home-cooked meal instead. When we eat at home, using real food instead of boxes, we are eating healthier. In the long run we are saving ourselves money too; even if that is just in less doctor bills.
- Be comfortable being different.
One thing about the Amish life is that it is VERY different from most modern lives. But the Amish people, for the most part, seem to be happy and content in their differences. So your next door neighbor may have a perfectly manicured lawn in their backyard while you have 10 raised garden beds. Are you ok with that? They love your “pet bunnies” so what if they don’t know about the ones in your freezer? Be comfortable going against the grain!
- Learn to do more DIY.
Sew, quilt, build, crochet, can…do it yourself is a simple principle of the Amish life. Try to rely less on the grocery and department stores and make your own. Learning these skills later life is NOT impossible. Seek out a mentor, look for classes in craft stores and you’ll be glad you did. Not only is learning a new skill good for your simpler way of life, it is good for your brain! And the more we can do for ourselves the more self-sufficient we become.
I know I crave a more simple life. But for now we are still backyard homesteaders in the middle of the suburbs. But that doesn’t stop me from incorporating more and more of the ideals I hold dear. I have looked at the Amish life and I have taken the ideals that speak to me and found a way to make them my own. Maybe you can too!
Like this article? You might also enjoy:
Almost Amish: One Woman’s Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life
Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World
What the Amish Can Teach Us About the Simple Life