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Review: Amish Values for your Family

 

The huge market for Amish stories is due, at least partly, to the solid home life they portray.  Perhaps some of you even wistfully wonder what it would be like to live the simple life.  I have wondered that, too.  However, after reading Amish Values for Your Family, I realize that much of my life has been marked by the values, attitudes, and actions described in this lovely book, although we’re certainly not Amish.

The first section of Amish Values for Your Family entitled “Children are Loved but Not Adored,” expresses something my husband has always emphasized:  Children are an indispensible part of daily life, but their world should not revolve around them. Immediately after I read those excerpts aloud, I found a section that sounded just like me:  When you find a task “ask yourself what is more important—to check it off the list?  Or to use the opportunity to do it yourself and teach skills to your child?”

And so it went throughout the book.  Here was a thought from our home, there was something my parents had always said, and in the next section was a clear discussion of something my husband had tried to explain to me. I felt right at home reading the stories, pondering the quotes, enjoying the snippets from an Amish newspaper, and reflecting on Suzanne’s practical applications. 

Throughout this book, the basic principle of Amish life, as portrayed by Suzanne Woods Fisher, is that God is central and He is in charge.  He guides our lives and leads them for our good…so we need not worry, fret, or complain.  And that, too, is a principle my husband and I’ve grown up with, although we’re not Amish at all.  It is a basic fact of Christian life that many of us forget. 

Another foundational idea running through this book is that family life is all about God.  Marriage vows are made to God, not to one’s spouse; a couple’s main career focus is to raise godly children; godly virtues such as gratitude, kindness, respect, humility, hospitality, community, and love are emphasized; and priorities are based on God’s Word.

Are Amish values idealized in this book?  Probably, even though it is a book of true stories, augmented by real life quotes and proverbs.  Are they attainable?  Probably not in this life.  But they are certainly good goals, based on the Bible and centuries of practical life rather than on fleeting psychological theories.   

For this review, I was asked to choose one Amish value portrayed in the book and try to implement it in our family.  I’ve discovered that all of them are already part of our family’s goals.  They are all difficult, but the ones I struggle with most these days are the ideas of risk, worry, and letting go. 

Yes, our children need to take risks, to spread their wings, and not to grow up in an atmosphere of fear.  However, as a mom, I worry about bears, deep water, farm accidents, car crashes, and especially the more subtle spiritual threats that face young people.  Here’s a quote from an Old Order Amish bishop, “Teens are really into self.  They’re living in an age of entitlement. I wonder if they’ll be prepared for the future.  I’m not sure how they will respond to hard times.”  Exactly.  But through it all, Christians can remember God is in control.  We pray and do what we can, trusting God.  And then we do not need to worry.

The ideas discussed in Amish Values for Your Family are not confined only to Amish thought; they have always been widespread among Christians.  This is one of the most down-to-earth, practical, proven, and Biblical parenting books I’ve ever read.  I highly recommend it.

You can read other reviews and enter a special Kindle and book giveaway here.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of Amish Values for Your Family from Litfuse in order to give you my honest opinion of it.

This is my 30th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.  This post is also linked to Simple Living Thursday. 

2 Comments

  1. Hi Annie! I really enjoyed your review–so glad that you felt as if you had already been incorporating some of those values in your home! I was pleased to read that…I didn’t want readers to feel criticized while reading this book, but to feel encouraged and uplifted.
    Thank you for your thoughtful words! Warmly, Suzanne

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Oh, no, I didn’t feel criticized at all! I enjoyed the stories and was pleased to see how the values can be made practical.

      Thank you so much for writing this book!

      Annie Kate

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