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The Amish and their ways Essay

There are many cultures around and have different view as we do. People are all different and no one is alike. We all perform different beliefs and ideas. One of these cultures are the Amish. They live a different way of life than what we do or as myself. The Amish way of life has many interesting concepts that may make them different from different cultures. Some may see the Amish as bad people but they are not and their way of living distant and makes them look stronger in today’s society.

The primary mode of subsistence of the Amish is Horticulturalist. They are farmers. They plant different crops every year depending on the time of year. The women help them with the farming and with the farming they feed themselves and most don’t depend on anything else other than what they grow on their lands. tillers of the soil and people of the land. When a young Amish couple gets married they are given a parcel of land by one of the fathers. This land is given so that the couple can get a head start on taking care of themselves and earning a living. The Amish people today do not use many modern day agriculture implements depending on the old ways to farm and harvest crops.

The Amish have a patrilineal descent pattern, although they do incorporate the mother’s maiden name as a child’s middle name. This only confirms the fact that the Amish believe Christ is the head of man and man is the head of women. Women’s descent lines are in no way ignored, they are just less emphasized. The (male) father is the individual who possesses the most authority within the Amish family. Inheritances are often passed down through the male side of the family. Sons are more likely to gain property than daughters, and it is typically the younger siblings who receive the inheritance. The Amish naming patterns are the most similar to the Iroquois and Inuit kinship system’s naming patterns. They include the same names for nuclear family, although in the Amish culture the mother’s sister is called Aunt and not mother as well.The Amish go through three stages of childhood. These can be classified as the little people, the scholars and the young people.

The little people include children below school age, the scholars include people who are in school and the young people include those who are 15 years or older who are exploring themselves at social events like youth groups before marriage. With age comes social power and according to the Amish wisdom is based on age and experience rather than the level of education obtained or scientific knowledge. Most Amish people get married between the ages of 22 and 25 on a Tuesday or Thursday and divorce is rare. By the age of 45, the Amish woman has 7.1 children and this is largely based on the fact that the Amish do not view birth control as a permissible medication to use. Marriages and church services take place in the homes of the older Amish communities and the more liberal Amish people have church services in church buildings.

Sometimes extended family will all live on the same farm and couples will retire so that their children can take over the farm. Men are seen as the head of the house hold and are often treated with more respect than the women. The main functions of the Amish families are procreation, nurture and socialization. Certain loyalties towards family members exist not only in childhood but throughout life. It is the mans duty to find another Amish woman to be his mate. His selection of possible wives is limited but can extend to other Amish communities other than his own. The Amish have limited contact with other communities because of the fact that they do not rely on technology such as the internet and telephone. Therefore most marriages occur within the same communities.

Many mates meet at singings, where the boys sit on one side of the table and the girls on the other. Girlfriends and boyfriends do not often refer to each other by their first names and instead refer to them as he or she. Families are patriarchic and monogamous with the father being the head of the house hold. The wife is supposed to be obedient to her husband but first and for most she is supposed to be faithful to god and there are no grounds for a divorce. The wife has a purse that is controlled by her husband who gives her money for house hold items and clothing as needed. Arguments among couples often go unnoticed or with silence. Children are seen as sinless as they are believed not to know the difference between right and wrong and it is the parent’s responsibility to teach the children these things.

In terms of laws and rights the Amish are essentially egalitarian. The lines between each social status are very blurred, and although women’s voices are less heard their votes still count equally to the votes of men. The Amish do not have an established government. Social power comes from the ministers and church officials. The Amish culture does not identify with a political structure. The church leaders have more of an influence over the people than any political power does. Laws used throughout the rest of the United States are also enforced in the Amish counties of the Northeastern United States. Punishment in the Amish culture is excommunication from the church and or banning from the community and from communicating with friends and family still in the community.

Gender roles play a large part in Amish communities. From a young age, the Amish are taught the roles of males and females. The Amish take their beliefs from the bible. This is how the concept of gender roles came about in their society. Amish women are expected to cover their hair to show submission. They are expected to honor and support their husbands. In Amish communities, the males are the leaders and the ones who make the decisions for the entire community. The women are expected to take care of the family and maintain the house. Women generally do not have jobs outside of the home. However, young women are usually schoolteachers. Once there are small children in the home however, it is difficult for women to have outside jobs. The role of women and men differ in mainstream society. Today, their roles have moved to become more equal. Men will help with the housework and women often have full-time jobs helping to support their families.

Because of their religious beliefs, the Amish still separate male and female roles. Although I may disagree about some of their ideas, I can understand why the Amish’s view of gender works in their communities. They have lived this way for a number of years and they seem to accept their roles well. Even though it appears that women are inferior to men, women are also free of some social pressures common in mainstream society. Amish women do not accentuate their physical appearances. They do not wear make-up or modify their appearances in any way. This is hardly the case in mainstream society. Despite these seemingly strict gender roles, the boundaries can be crossed.

For example, if there is a lot of work to do, the women may help with the field work, and sometimes the men will help with the household chores. The Amish seem to be content with how their communities are run. The Amish people of modern day America are no different as this unique subculture strives to cure the sick and diseased within the realm of community accepted means. By taking a detailed look at the methods utilized by the Amish to cure sickness and disease, one will come to appreciate the role culture plays in establishing medical treatment as well as the importance of health matters in Amish society.

One of the most common and historically based methods for curing the sick and diseased in Amish society is through the use of folk remedies. Folk or house remedies as it is often termed, have their roots in the Germanic ancestry of the Amish. Oral tradition has maintained a basic knowledge of various teas, powders, liniments, and foods used in Amish folk remedies for hundreds of years. Another application used to cure the sick and diseased also has its roots in the German ancestry of the Amish. Powwowing, also called sympathy curing, is often applied to cure the sick of the community in conjunction with various home remedies.

The Amish seek help from the medical establishment in nearby villages, towns, and cities when it is needed. Although there is an absence of any type of restriction in the Amish lifestyle pertaining to the use of the medical establishment, many are reluctant to seek professional medical care unless it is absolutely necessary. This stems from several reasons, one of which is the avoidance of the world, a strong Amish belief previously mentioned. Another reason is the high cost of medical treatment as the Amish do not believe in carrying health insurance. Having health insurance would be seen as associating with the world and therefore detrimental to the Amish faith.

The Amish history shows us that living the way they have, is not easy. They have been able to almost completely separate themselves from the rest of society. Although they may have had to give in to some of the progressive ways of America, they remain a small jewel inside of a large country. There are very few people who live such a slow-paced, simple life as do the Amish. Maybe our society should take a closer look at the Amish and learn a few life lessons from them. Reflecting on the Amish could help us understand many problems that our own society faces every day.

References

2009 The Amish. Electronic document,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/Christianity/subdivisions/Amish_1.shtml Stevick, Richard A.
2007. Growing Up Amish. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 72, No. 5 (Oct., 1970), The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 53, No. 2 (Jun., 1993),

Hostetler, John A. Amish Society. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore and London, 1993.

Kraybill, Donald B. The Riddle of Amish Culture. Rev. ed.: Baltimore, Md.; London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.


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