I thought it would be nice to do a blog post on a question and answer session I had over on our Instagram Stories about a week ago. Many of you follow our stories, but a lot of you don’t and I wanted to recap for those who didn’t get to see the stories on my blog today.
Amish Country Q & A is always a hot topic and I couldn’t help but notice that we gained new followers and had so many responses to the stories, so without further ado, come follow me and my photographer around Amish Country, Ohio and let’s show you around.
Q. Were you shunned by your family when you decided to leave and why did you leave?
A. I was never shunned because I had never joined the Amish church. And I didn’t want to live a restrictive lifestyle and so early on I knew I would leave one day.
Q. Can anyone drive through the Amish towns?
A. Yes, everyone is welcome in our community, it is thriving because of all the tourists visiting here.
Q. Is there a difference in the Amish where you grew up in Ohio and the Amish in Lancaster, PA?
A. There are many variables between the different regions and sects of Amish. The biggest thing that stands out is their dress, if you noticed the coverings worn by the ladies from Lancaster are in the shape of hearts, and the ladies from Ohio have a more rounded covering. The Lancaster Amish use scooters, and many of the Amish in Ohio use bikes. It all depends on which sect of Amish you belong to, as to how you look and what you can do.
Q. What are your top three places to go in Amish Country?
A. Hershberger’s Truck Patch, Rebecca’s Bistro and all the antique stores in the area.
Q. Were you at one time Amish?
A. Yes. I was Amish until I was 18 years old. I never got baptized in the Amish church so that made it easier to leave.
Q. Can you visit your family, or did you have to cut ties with them?
A. I’m very close to them and we live right beside my Amish parents.
Q. Why don’t the Amish evangelize?
A. They do in their own way, sometimes through honesty and good deeds.
Q. Why don’t some Amish like to be photographed?
A. Mostly traditions and rules handed down through the generations.
Q. When you leave the Amish tradition how does the family accept that?
A. It depends on the family and sect of Amish you are talking about. Some Amish sects don’t require shunning, others are relaxed with shunning and others are incredibly strict. You have to know which sect of Amish you are talking about with this question in mind.
Q. Do the Amish vaccinate?
A. Some do, some don’t. It’s difficult to guess the percentage who do or don’t, but I know more Amish who do than those who don’t.
Q. Traditional hours for an Amish school?
A. 8 AM to 3 PM.
Q. Are the Amish school teachers certified?
A. They are not.
Q. Are you allowed to photograph Amish homes and barns?
A. Yes, as long as you are respectful.
Q. Why don’t the Amish have modern conveniences?
A. Depending on the sect of Amish you are talking about they do have many modern conveniences because some have old fashioned electricity and others have a more green source of power through solar panels.
Q. Do the Amish really do all your sewing?
A. Yes, we have 35 Amish seamstresses at the moment.
Q. What is the biggest struggle for the Amish to maintain their lifestyle in today’s world?
A. For most sects of Amish they have progressed so much that there are very few things to struggle with. For the more stricter sects it might possibly be navigating to a larger town/city with their horse and buggies. Dense traffic and having to travel far enough away from home they have to provide their horse with food and water and rest before heading back home.
Q. Who teaches the Amish schools?
A. Typically Amish girls, about 20 years old or older. They often have co-teachers and an older teacher will teach the younger ones the ropes of leading their classrooms. Now and then you hear of a school with students who get out of hand and are difficult to teach and often a gentleman will take over the helm and bring structure and order to the school. Lack of respect can be a bit of an issue and sometimes it takes an older more mature person, or someone with some kind of experience to nip it back into shape.
Q. How do the Amish seamstresses feel about sewing clothes they can’t wear?
A. They love it. The extra income is what they enjoy. Plus they are able to sew something they aren’t used to.
Q. Do Amish women ever work outside the home in a traditional Amish family?
A. Most often they do not, but some do before they start raising a family. A handful of them will get jobs in bakeries, restaurants or cleaning jobs if the family has needs, or once the children have been raised and the lady is bored she gets a small part time job. They take jobs like pie baking, prep cook, or cleaning someone’s house, just for a little fun money. They rarely take full time positions. They still want to go to quiltings, help their daughters on work days and go shopping and care for their own household.
Q. What time do Amish go to bed since they get up so early?
A. It probably varies from family to family, but once it’s dark and everybody has been bathed, maybe 9-10 PM.
Q. Why so many birdhouses? I love them, just wondered what is the significance?
A. We watch TV and Instagram, they watch their birds. The Amish enjoy nature and these birdhouses are built for “Martins” The Amish love their Martins, they tag the babies and can track where a bird was hatched. It’s a really big thing among the Amish community.
Q. Do the Amish use banks?
A. Yes, they do.
Q. Do Amish pay taxes?
A. Yes, they do. Some go through a process to become exempt from paying taxes. Those would be the folks who are self employed, like farmers.
Q. Why do they go barefoot?
A. I would say that it’s preference.
Q. How do they tolerate the heat with no AC and fans?
A. The truth is some have window air conditioners and many have fans these days. But they grew up without it and so they deal with it better than those of us who are now accustomed to having AC.
Q. Who manages the money?
A. I’m guessing whoever is the best manager.
I hope you enjoyed this question and answer time as much as I did. I found a few to be comical and it’s always interesting to me to read what people want to know about the Amish lifestyle. Hopefully this post is informative and has answered a few of your questions about my people.