Thursday, November 17, 2011

Amish Family, Ohio Amish Country

New Stove for Amish Family
 Today was a joyous day for an Amish family who, through the love and kindness of The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast guests and friends, have received a much needed new stove.  I was unable to get over to their house until about 2:30 this afternoon.  This new stove was already installed and the children were very excited.  They still did not have time to rinse out the reservoir and put water in it and they still hadn't started a fire, but were preparing to do that; as tonight was going to be their first night using it to make supper and for heating their home.

The family is humbled and overwhelmed by the generosity of all who helped and say "Thank you, thank you."  The wife pointed out that the place inside the stove, where the wood is stocked, is two to three times larger than their old stove; which, by the way was made in 1922.

Guests of the Millersburg, Ohio Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast have learned to appreciate their visits with this family where they go to purchase hand-made baskets.  The children help make baskets when they are not tending to chores or doing school work.  Today when I drove in their lane, two of the girls, in their bare feet, dressed in 18th century garb, were chasing a stray cow back to the pasture.  The scene was priceless, a step back in time.

What is impressive is that the children are truly happy.  I have not found such a happy family among the "English."  They have few toys and they derive great pleasure in working together to make the household run efficiently.  Two weeks ago I got there late one night to see the father and his eldest son bring in a large load of loose hay on a wagon pulled by a team of Belgium Horses.  Probably the most important value the Amish teach their children is to become "Hard Workers."  Hard work is as much a cultural distinction as their plain clothing.

Amish parents assign tasks to their children that they believe they are capable to handling.  My husband, Paul, at about age 11 or 12 worked horses in the field before going to school and upon returning home.  I recall at about 5 years of age, my mother teaching me to wash the kitchen floor on my hands and knees.  For the Amish, work is an opportunity for fulfillment and accomplishment.  They derive great pleasure in a job well done.  Work is blended with enjoyment and fellowship as family members socialize as they accomplish necessary tasks.  Amish parents typically do not tell their children that they love them; but it is my experience that because children contribute in such a meaningful way, they know they are needed and they feel secure.  As a child, no one had to tell me that I was loved.  I knew I was loved.  For the Amish, work is fun.

Guests staying at The Barn Inn Bed and Breakfast are told about and directed to this Amish home.  Our guests, when purchasing have noted that the girls, ages 12 and younger, are very adept in tallying bills and making change from the sale of baskets.  While Amish children are assigned tasks, they do not work all the time.  They are provided ample time for play.

Ohio's Amish Country is comprised of about 10 different sects of Amish.  People comment to us, "The Amish help each other don't they?"  Yes, most do, but the strictest sect is tightly governed and have fewer opportunities to build their wealth.  The men may not hire a driver to go to a jobsite and they usually cannot run any power tools.  If most of this sect is poor, how can they help each other?  How can the poor help the poor?  This is why God uses people like you and I.  God bless you all!

Submitted by Loretta Coblentz
November 17, 2011


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