|photo by Randall Persing, via AmishAmerica.com|
I've been reading a lot more about the Amish. And I'm not going to romanticize them...they are human just like us; and there are a host of reasons, other than the lack of air conditioning, that make me very thankful that I am not Amish!
But they do have some good points, and things to think about, especially as it comes to technology.
The Amish prove to us that it is not necessary for life fulfillment and happiness to have a Facebook "timeline", a laptop/netbook/iPad/Kindle, a cell phone, or any phone at all!, an MP3 player, Netflix, or elliptical trainers. The Amish eschew items that we no longer even think about not owning, like vacuum cleaners, dish washers, cars, microwaves, and electric tea kettles.
I recently read that 90% of Amish youth decide to stay Amish and choose to be baptized into the Amish faith, and abide by all its rules. This is even after they have their chance to wear "English" clothes and makeup and go to malls and movie theaters and experience the wonder that is the Internet. They try this way of life out, and then they decide that these amazing technological things are not going to make them happier than community, family, tradition, hard labor, horses and buggies, and severely limited choices.
I find this very interesting. Our culture keeps telling us that we need bigger (for houses and cars) smaller (for cell phones and computers) better faster cheaper NOW if we want to be happy. And it seems that there is always some new technological advance being touted as the latest and greatest invention, and that finally THIS item will deliver on what the advertisers promise: an easier life, and a happier life.
But it rarely, if ever, does. Community. Family. Tradition. Time to think and create and play and do work you enjoy and find meaningful. A true place to belong, and people to belong there with. Connection--not Internet connectivity, but true and deep connection--these are the things that bring joy and peace to our lives.
The Amish remind us that our use of technology is our decision. And it is up to us to make wise decisions with it!